Lucy Crowe's Nest: January 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Notebook in Hand, Head in the Clouds

© Irene Owens
“I’m a writer, what’s your superpower?” The tee shirt advertisement screams at me from my Facebook page and I can’t click away from it quickly enough.

Well, it is silly, isn’t it? So much easier to get behind an occupation like firefighting. EMS. Or even motherhood. Writers are the nerds of the universe, let’s face it.

But lately it occurs to me that, at least in the beginning, the purpose of this blog was to promote my novel. (Sugar Man’s Daughter, for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Oh please,  tell me you are here because you have read it and love it!) Anyway - somewhere along the line, the Crowe’s Nest took off and gained a life of its own, and it’s all about things like ambulances and chocolate chip cookies. Matchbox lyrics and Easter.

It’s all good! But today I think I’ll talk about writing.

I don’t remember not doing it.  My mother helped me put words to paper before I could even spell. I was always the kid with the notebook in hand, head in the clouds. I studied landscapes, emotions, and the small, nebulous bits of life that a lot of people don’t give much thought to – what, precisely, does a March wind feel like? How best to describe the scent of August corn? Or burnt brownies? People squirmed beneath my avid stare, never realizing that the silly bespectacled girl was trying to find the right words to describe the mole on their chin.

John Steinbeck was my hero. Still is. Such a beautiful magic, to take mere worlds and create . . .  a whole world. Complete. Every sense engaged, so that the reader sees what the author sees, feels what he feels.

I had to do that. And I say “had to” because there was no choice. The author in my head clamored to be heard day and night, restless, always restless, until the pen was put to paper.

I was never a poet, didn’t like short stories. For me, it was always The Novel. I finished my first one in high school – well over three hundred pages that my mother painstakingly typed on an old-style typewriter. Corrections in white-out. Imagine that for a moment, and you will understand how blessed I am that this woman loves me.

I wrote throughout my time at junior college. I wrote in the early/late hours when I came home from my factory job. I wrote when my kids were small and after they had grown. Through a marriage, a divorce, another marriage. I wrote letters to editors and essays for teachers. Journals for me and books for the world. I created characters out of thin air, and I made them whole, and now I can’t imagine a life without them.

God, I think, loves me as much as my mother does because today I am a published author. This is huge and exciting, and on the days when I am impatient with my publisher or upset over a late royalty check, I only have to remind myself that the miracle has already happened, and I hold my book in my hands.

To the world, this isn’t as exciting as screaming down the road in an ambulance. Or rolling up on a fire with the lights and sirens full bore. It’s not like a first kiss or the laughter of your child.

But it’s close, people, it’s close.

Yep. Remember the nerd factor?

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Secret Recipe for a Happy 2015

©Mary Engelbreit Studios
Why does the New Year begin in January?

Google blames Julius Caesar, which makes perfect sense to me, because, well, Julius didn’t live in Illinois, did he?  Here in the Heartland we all know that the year actually begins in March – lovely gray tempestuous month, cold and warm and gusty and gentle all at once. Rainy winds and tiny slivers of sunshine, the days at last stretching out until we have an evening again.
But January? Oh dear. Cold and dark, so bleak and . . . well, January.

It’s hard, isn’t it, to get excited for a year beginning with frozen pipes and frostbitten toes? How to set goals when even daylight is confined to just a few precious hours?
Ah, but we persevere, don’t we? Thankfully, perseverance is a huge part of the human make-up.

What does your 2015 look like? Are you a goal-setter, a trend setter, a roll-with-the-tide type?  No matter your inclinations, I’ve got ideas for you, and they are mostly along the lines of feeling better even in January. They look something like this:

1.) Sleep more. Seriously, people, aren’t you tired of being tired? Everyone I know is exhausted – work and run, run and work, and no end in sight. So pull the shades, snuggle your teddy bear, and just lay down. Pure heaven, try it for a few hours once in a while.
Or maybe until March.

2.) Rum. And brownies. All right, maybe not every day, but once in awhile won’t kill you. Think of it as a social thing – a drink with the hubby, a snack with the kids. Lay aside the soul-draining low carb restrictions and taste life now and then. Great stuff, chocolate. Rum, even better.

3.) Exercise, yes. Throw snowballs and build igloos. Wade in the creek, ride your bike, hike up the hill. Drag that old treadmill out of the basement and to local scrapyard – and then do the spider dance when you realize you have cobwebs in your hair. Exercise is good.

4.) Love more. Love everything more – your people, your pets, your bugman, your supper. The thing about love is you have to apply it liberally. Big, sloppy paintbrush, spread that stuff around everywhere. There is no shortage, okay? You can’t run out of it.

Sleep, food, exercise, love. There you have it, the recipe for a simple and lovely 2015. And no more being mean to ourselves, people!

We are, after all, supposed to be happy.
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