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It’s the littler things …

The tradition of going around the table listing the things we’re thankful for on Thanksgiving is a lovely one and a great way to find out what’s happening with those at our table. But when it comes your turn and you’re being stared down by close friends and family anxious to hear what you’ll come up with, we give into the pressure of the moment and talk about “big, important things.”

© Goody460 | Dreamstime.com

© Goody460 | Dreamstime.com

You’re thankful Aunt Bessie’s gout is better, your son somehow passed his finals and graduated, Cousin Heath got his promotion, your brother finally found a woman who would marry him. But what if we threw all the larger blessings into a big basket marked, “Of course,” and required everyone to look at the more mundane, littler reasons we have to be grateful. What would you come up with?

I dug down under the carpet of everyday life and uncovered my own little blossoms. Here’s my thoughts:

The 2016 presidential election is finally over. Doesn’t matter which side you were on or how frightened you are at what is to come, you no longer have to read daily headlines about email servers and racial slurs. You can sit back and peruse everyone’s thoughts on what a crappy system the electoral college is and what radical change is to come.

Gloria Jean’s butter toffee coffee. No need for further explanation. I love the stuff.

Kitty purrs and puppy tail swirls. For those of you who are pet lovers, you know you depend on your daily supplement of cute animal gestures. You know who you are and you know that whenever your beasty does anything remotely interesting, you make up whole conversations about what they’re telling you.

Cold weather. I never thought I’d say those two words in the same light as “thankful.” But after this horribly long hot summer and a fall of amazing spring-like weather, I’m starting to wonder if I should take the money I spend buying Gloria Jean’s coffee and contribute to an anti-global-warming cause.

Time and quiet to write. If I schedule it just right and my husband is at the office (two days of the week) and my twenty-year-old darling child is at school or at work and my mother doesn’t have a doctor’s appointment and I’m not under the pressure of a zillion work deadlines and I’m not feeling guilty that I haven’t touched a broom or dust cloth in several weeks and the new season of Modern or Middle isn’t calling from the DVR—I find the silence and peace to put words to paper. Uh…perhaps I’m a little off balance here.

Carnation sugar-free Italian Crème creamer. It goes very well with a large splash of milk to lighten the color and slightly sweeten Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee Coffee.

Middle of the day friend calls. As women, we never feel quite as validated as when our best friend calls with a crisis regarding 1) how unresponsive her own husband is 2) how horribly someone is raising her grandchildren 3) her lousy, unappreciative boss or 4) how invasive and unreasonable her neighbor has become. Women will set everything aside for a good friend in need. We simply sit back in our chair, pick up our Gloria Jean’s and stop the world to listen. Of course, it also gives us an excuse not to work/clean/run errands …

Christmas is almost here. We can swing our focus to singing along with carols, decorating our homes, baking cookies, watching Hallmark, praying it will snow, remembering past holidays. And then there’s finding the perfect gifts, fitting the additional events and parties into already hectic schedules, putting up with rude shoppers and pop up ads, praying our snow doesn’t get in the way of travel plans …

Hmmm. I think I’ll go fix a cup of Gloria Jeans Butter Toffee Coffee.

–Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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An entry is born

I woke up this morning and realized I hadn’t written in my blog since well before Christmas, and only once between Thanksgiving and the Holidays. I’m an introspective person with too many best friends (and now a daughter) studying psychology, so I immediately began to question why I would neglect this author duty.

Do I secretly hate this type of writing? That answer came quickly: I took on a new client recently writing columns for their web postings because I enjoy tackling blogs. It’s a refreshing way to use words, and it seems to be a natural fit for me.

So it must be that I’ve been so extremely busy and stressed out this holiday season? That thought emitted a belly laugh, which triggered startled looks from my two cats. They sprinted from their restful perches to hide beneath my still-lit and decorated Christmas tree. I have taken this season very slowly and savored each minute. I’m still enjoying it.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Is it because I’ve been concentrating so heavily on learning how to republish our three original books? Our publishing firm hung up its hat at the end of 2015. Because of my success self publishing Holiday Connections, I’m trying to do the same with our original books—Twist of Fate, Wretched Fate and Violet Fate. I don’t know if I’ll get there; it’s horribly complex and I’m not good at detail work. But I’m stubborn and I’m tackling each little complication as it hits me in the face. Still, I can’t use this as an excuse because I tackle NO complexities first thing in the morning, which is my designated book time. I’m too sleepy and dreamy. I use that state to write creatively.

Then it has got to be because I’ve made so much progress on the fourth book of the Fate Series, right? It’s called Treasured Fate, and I’ve had a professional editor go through it and present me with her findings and suggestions. She gave them to me right before Thanksgiving.

Okay, that one is partially true. On the hours when I badly needed a creative outlet, I’ve been chipping away at the next stage of the writing process, which I expect to go on for many weeks. That’s never stopped me from my obligation to spend a day each week (or so) writing something for our blog, though.dreamstime_xs_31893228 1.6.2016 better

I finally realized it’s for the same reason I had to hit my late 50s before I found a way to write a book: routine.

That’s a really yawn-inducing answer to this yawn-inducing blog entry, but it’s the truth. And most of my fellow writers and creative friends will understand what I mean. You can have genius-level ideas floating around in your head, but unless you find a practical way to get them out, they’ll stay in your head. For me, it was getting up that extra hour in morning and working on fiction. I had let “getting up” slip and was too often sleeping in. When I did get up, I allowed myself to work my paying job because I wanted or needed more time late in the day for seasonal activities.

But I’m back on track now, the holidays behind me and anxious to see where the track leads next. It must be working: It’s 7:15 and I’ve been up an hour, and lo and behold: a blog entry was born.

Come to think of it: I don’t walk the dog until 8 a.m. so I have 45 minutes to do what I love a whole lot more than blogs: working on my books!

 

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Learning My Circus Act

juggling blog

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One of the thrills mom and I get when we talk to groups is the excitement audience members express for what we do. Written on the faces and weaved into their questions is this: “It must be so fulfilling and romantic to be an author.”
At the moment someone says this, it’s true. However, being an author in today’s hugely complicated world of publishing is not just being a writer. Authors today also have to be:
Bosses: I’ve learned to be a mean boss because someone has to get my sorry butt out of bed an hour early in the morning if I’m going to find time each day to write. That same mean boss has to wave the red flag after the hour is over, which is even harder than getting up. Once the writing begins, it’s heart-breaking to stop the flow of creativity so I can get on to my paying clients.
Traffic cops: I sometimes feel like Linda Blair in The Exorcist with my head spinning round and round as the whirl of advice to writers that’s out there goes by. I read, I attend conferences, I talk to other authors, I research my options constantly on the web; what I’ve discovered is there is no one-lane road headed to success. It’s a clover leaf of congestion out there, and the one person that can make the multiple decisions that will give it any sense is me.
Psychologists: The only way to survive the extreme ups and downs that comes with getting published is to band with other people going through this clover leaf. I have to lean heavily on other writers for the mental support that sorting through everything requires. Part of the reason is that I need to lament to someone besides my cat about the frustrations. But the other part if that I need the bond that listening to others creates.
Bean counters: To move forward in any business venture requires a way to measure what’s behind that forward movement. I have excel spreadsheets and multiple file storage locations on my computer so that I can at least stop once in a while to gather and count my beans—what events have worked; which books are selling well. I have to admit, however, that I often look at those beans and wish just one of them was a magic one.
Jugglers. Most authors can’t afford to write full time. We are trying to hold down a job, take care of families, find time for old and new friends, keep up with daily household tasks while adding a fifth ball to the mix: pursuing a passion for storytelling. It’s the same juggling act that anyone who finds a way to go after what they truly want must perfect—finding time for what we love. So I guess instead of hoping for that magic bean, what I should be doing is being grateful that life has allowed me to have that fifth ball in the mix.
—Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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