Updated: Jan 1
Welcome to our virtual cafe, where we'll chat about what I've been reading, writing, and doing over the past month. I invite you to have a seat, grab your inspirational beverage of choice, and join me in sharing a leisurely cup of caffeine for the soul.
What I'm Reading
Every so often, a book comes along that tugs at emotional heartstrings hidden beneath layers of forgotten memories. The way the words in these stories transform from little blots of ink into a full-bodied experience is nothing short of magic.
Macy Sorensen and Elliot Petropoulos carry the reader on a soul-stirring journey through the past and present, in a way that makes fiction feel like real life. There are subtle character nuances, allegorical turns of phrase, and genuine feelings evoked through all the senses that easily make this my favorite book of the year, and maybe even further into the past.
Read my complete review for Love and Other Words on Goodreads.
What I'm Writing
Time slips away and seasons change. There are so many cliches and manners of speaking that attempt to justify the procrastination in our lives. While my schedule has been filled to the brim with varied commitments, work deadlines, and the beginning of another holiday season, there was also an opportunity I didn’t see as one, until I was nearly seven miles above the Earth’s surface.
With my head against the window of seat 20F, only a double-paned piece of glass and a pressurized slice of air kept me isolated from subzero temperatures and atmospheric conditions that would steal my final breath before I was able to utter another word. But it was so beautiful.
In that moment of recognition, between the safety of our present location and the harsh atmosphere that sometimes surrounds us, I came to realize just how valuable our time is.
With a laptop shoved against my torso and elbows tucked into my side, I craned my neck to find the optimum viewing angle given the limited space between my eyes and the seat ahead of me. A fleeting glance out the window and my fingertips began dancing over the keyboard. Three thousand words later, and some four hours after departing Houston, we began our descent into San Francisco. Somewhere over the Sierra Nevada mountains with the sun setting behind them, the scene was truly spectacular and beautiful. The sentiments I felt inside had a lot to do with that majestic landscape, but I was also affected by the experience of crafting my first fictional words from a fresh perspective, quite literally.
While the progression of Drew & Maria’s story might have slowed down a bit over the past month, it’s also taken flight in new ways that I can’t wait to continue exploring in the coming month.
What I'm Doing
In July 2014, I hopped in my car and drove north to the St Augustine Amphitheater to see my favorite musical artist, Sara Bareilles, perform during her Little Black Dress tour. The experience was surreal, leaving me in tears during songs I had previously only heard through my speakers or headphones. There is something about a live performance that cannot be encapsulated by any one emotion. The instant you attempt to grasp what it is that moves and affects you, it slips away, only to be replaced by a more powerful wave of something intangible.
I’ve been waiting nearly six years for the opportunity to immerse myself in that aura again. As I’ve shared before, Sara’s Amidst the Chaos album and tour was announced after I began writing my current novel, Splendid Chaos. Everything about Sara’s music: her soulful voice, poetic lyrics, and genuine personality inspire the words I write. It felt like a moment of true serendipity to arrive at a mutual appreciation for navigating chaos around the same time as her.
Each piece of paper in the metaphorical tornado onstage contained a story. The way each of those stories fit together, amidst the chaos, felt splendid indeed. I didn’t cry during this particular performance, but I smiled. I smiled wide, inside and out. It’s a testament to the power of music and a shared story. How it can inspire and connect, both ourselves and others, makes me eager with anticipation for that next opportunity to create and share in that same experience. Again and again.
It reminds me of Sara’s opening lyrics from her concert. From the song Orpheus: Don’t stop trying to find me amidst the chaos. Whatever it is you long to find and experience, keep going.
For nearly eighteen months, I’ve been picking a quote from each successive chapter for each of my published books thus far. This past month, I reached a milestone that most likely went unnoticed to everyone but me as the author.
A collection of fifty-three quotes from my debut novel, Second Chance, completed with this one. And it reminded me, whether it be a collection of words or an experience, the true value of a moment or emotion often doesn’t settle upon us until we take the time to savor it, one delicious sip at a time.
It might appear to be innocent and quiet to others, but taking the time to appreciate the path we’ve traveled, celebrating where we stand today, and preparing to leap forward toward that next stepping stone is time well spent and necessary for our mind, heart, and soul.
Until next month, stay inspired! And, as always, I welcome a short (or long) email to say hi or share your thoughts on this month's final sip...
Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door. ~ Emily Dickinson ~