Welcome to our virtual café, 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
My reading material this month has been atypical. It’s highly historical and dives deep into the intimate and physical realm. If you’re looking for a clean and sweet read, this one might not be for you. However, with that being said, if you want to consume a story that is impactful, full of raw emotion that spans several decades, and makes you ponder the most important things in life, I promise this story will be one you think about for months to come. It’s only March, and there’s many books to come on my to-read list, but I have a feeling that come December, this one will be at or near the top of my list for favorite reads of the year.
Read my complete review for City of Girls on Goodreads.
What I'm Writing
It has been a slow month on the writing front. There are times in one’s life where priorities shift, and it’s important to honor those most important things in life. It’s ironic, because it was totally unplanned, but a lot of what I read in City of Girls over the past several weeks reinforces this necessary truth. And you’ll see exactly in which direction those priorities shifted once you get to the section just below this one.
With that being said, I have never stopped thinking, imagining, and brainstorming about Samantha Charles’ character as a part of my next novel. Everything I see, everything I do, every moment I experience contributes another small detail to a story I feel will be my most personal and emotionally stirring. And maybe that’s what makes it so difficult to push forward through the metaphorical weeds ahead of me, but it’s also exactly why I treasure the writing process. That journey of discovery and being able to share it with others in a deep and meaningful way is fulfilling on so many different levels.
As winter turns to spring, I feel new opportunities blooming alongside the flowers in our backyard, not the least of which is the time, desire, and energy to immerse myself back into the Southern charm of Pigeon Grove. Ideas continue to blossom like splashes of color in a transitioning landscape. And I truly can’t wait to share it with you.
What I'm Doing
Six states. Three thousand miles. Three universities. And three rental cars.
Everything seems somewhat normal about the numbers above, except for that last one. Three rental cars? It was an epic road trip. Beginning in Florida, my son and I set forth on a grand journey to tour three different universities that he has recently been accepted into for the Fall 2021 semester. With COVID running rampant, there was little opportunity to tour colleges before the application process, so we made the decision to apply, apply, apply. And then once acceptances came in, we’d find a way to visit each campus responsibly and safely.
University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Florida State University. Those were the schools on our agenda. And renting a brand new 2021 Chevy Tahoe as a comfortable vehicle to spend twelve days on the road seemed like the best decision we could make. Until.
Somewhere in the Louisiana backcountry, two and a half days into our trip, a loud clunking sound began to emerge from beneath the hood of our vehicle that had less than 3,000 miles on it. To make a long story short(er), we limped into the Dallas/Fort Worth airport in a severe thunderstorm with our check engine light on and the transmission slipping, to exchange our vehicle for a functioning one. With no SUVs available, our only choice was to cover the remainder of our day’s miles in a minivan. After a four-hour delay and a stressful situation, we did arrive safely at our final destination in Norman, OK. And we were able to eventually exchange that minivan to get back into an SUV for the remainder of our epic road trip.
It was an uneasy and exhausting day to endure. But as a smaller piece of the big picture, I can look back on it as a hiccup in what turned out to be a most enjoyable, productive, and bonding experience for my son and I.
On the University of Oklahoma campus, we had the opportunity to visit the Great Reading Room pictured above. We’d seen pictures of it online, but it’s one of those things that you simply can’t put into words until you embrace it in real-life. The silence, the expansive aura, the brilliant rays of sunshine blanketing every inch of the space. It was magical and surreal.
It reminded me that we choose to see and remember those things that hold the most significance to us. And while some of those moments might not be exactly how we planned for them to occur, they each contribute to our overall experience in a way that helps us appreciate the big picture more than we might have otherwise.
Whether it’s what I was reading, doing, or writing (or not) this month, and even when those moments veered away from what I’d hoped or expected, I couldn’t help but feel as though everything was happening exactly as it should. There are times in our lives when we’re connected with something deeper, truer, and more significant than anything our minds can wrap itself around. It might not have a name, and it may seem ethereal, but that doesn’t make it any less real.
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...
The big picture doesn’t just come from distance; it also comes from time.
~ Simon Sinek ~