Living Present Tense


I tend to live in the Future. Most people live in the Past. Not me. I plan for everything with my endless To-Do Lists and fine-tuned Schedule of Events Calendar. There is always something happening soon, and, I assure you, I have meticulously prepped for its arrival. But, sometimes, things don’t quite go as planned.

A couple of weeks ago, I had bought a box of macarons and a bottle of pink ‘champagne’–both prominent elements in my novel that I’m about to pitch. My plan was to partake of these scrumptious delectables as soon as I finished editing the novel in its entirely–query and synopsis included–in about a week per said scheduled event.

Then, I did something yesterday that I had to do. I departed from Scrivener and took on Microsoft Word for Mac to satisfy a particular submission requirement. Now, if you have no idea what Scrivener is, then jump to the next paragraph, but, if you do, then, you know. Oh. How. You. Know. It’s the most genius and complicated friend or foe known to any writer. In summary, the export did not go well.

After shedding a few tears from battling saving and renaming the file, bizarre margins, and pop-ups that made no sense to me–just to name a few angsts–I clamped my computer shut and sent it up stairs to serve a time out for the rest of the night. Instead of sulking about possibly missing my deadline because of the countless hours I would need to wade though instructional videos to figure out how to fix my growing list of problems, I decided to live in the Present Tense.

I marched into the kitchen, grabbed the box of macarons, started passing them around to my family like a fish monger, and handed over the bottle of ‘champagne’ for my husband to uncork for me. It was time to celebrate. It didn’t matter that things weren’t going as planned to me anymore. I was done. Maybe my manuscript still had some editing needs and creating a .docx submittal was going to provide me with all kinds of valuable lessons in patience to solve them in my near Future, but, nonetheless, I was finished, and I had been for weeks. Why hadn’t I acknowledged it, yet? What was I waiting for?

The future is always going to be out of reach for me, yet I still clamor towards it with my explicit plans. But, yesterday, I went all spontaneous on myself, and, by the end of the night, I was laughing instead of crying. Maybe the ‘champagne’ helped, but still. We had a party, and it couldn’t have come at a better time than in the Present Tense.

On the Last Day of the Year 2014

It doesn’t snow where I live because once every twenty or so years doesn’t count.  A few miles up the highway, on the other hand, is a proverbial winter wonderland.  Inspiration abounds as countless trees provide every breath of fresh air with a crisp sweetness, and the landscape beckons snow angels as soon as winter comes around…or so we thought when we squeezed in a day trip to the snow with the children today to close out 2014, and what I mean by snow is the hard ice in the shape of snow that blanketed the landscape like a twice-baked nail salon lacquer.

I’m pretty sure it made no difference to my children, though.  As soon as they were slipping and sliding around on the illusion of snow, my seven-year-old found out the hard way that she didn’t need a sled to ride down the slope.  Then, she kept on trudging back up the slight hill and riding it back down again on her bottom, laughing all the way.  My four-year-old kicked and clawed with all her might through the crusty layer until she uncovered enough loose ice crystals she could scoop it all up and throw it over her head and pretend that it was snowing.

It made me think of how important it is to have that childlike determination to kick and claw my way through the illusion of the life of a romance novelist.  Behind every well-penned line that can spiral a reader into her own kind of wonderland, any number of setbacks may have occurred for the author–rejection, revision, even a horrendous book cover.  I am realizing that I have to be willing to slide down the pile of disappointments to come with realistic expectations as I am just beginning this adventure, and I know that I have to turn around and climb back up again with a smile on my face because the journey requires an attitude of childlike determination and joy if it’s going to be worth it, laughing all the way.

I welcome the new season in my life.

Happy New Year’s Eve!