48 days, day 48 (and beyond): liftoff

The Year of Exploration is here.
On Being a Late Bloomer is here.
My speech at Vermont College (moments, memories, meaning) is here.
Day 48 was a travel day. We had four days in California and spent it with monks and in monasteries in Trabuco Canyon and in Hollywood; with our son and his sweetheart; and at the SCBWI conference in Los Angeles, where I made a little speech as I accepted the Golden Kite for fiction, for REVOLUTION. I am still so giddily happy about that. I'd never been to the Summer Conference before, either -- an amazing experience.

Met with my agent, too, and got all strategic about the rest of my Year of Exploration, and roughly mapped out the next ten years. More on all that after some photos, so I can remember:

Sweet Southern Breezers at SCBWI, breakfast Saturday morning. Love y'all.
Bodhi tree at the Hollywood Temple, Vedanta Center of Southern California
Two monks, more or less.

Vespers at the Hollywood temple
My son Zach lived in the Trabuco monastery for a year. Now he has a music degree from the University of Colorado and has moved to L.A.
Hollywood Temple, dedicated in 1938

non-gmo treats only! distilled water only!

lovely Megan and lovely Zach

What I learned in my 48 days is that I can work on more than one thing at a time, but I am still not good at multi-tasking, if that makes sense. If I'm deep into the work, the house is a wreck. If I'm deep into the garden, the work gets set aside. If I am deep into the work, the kitchen and all I love to do in it, lies dormant, which is a shame this time of year. I didn't buy one peach this season, and peach season is about done.

So my balance is still off, or maybe I'll never have it. I like long, luscious hours stretching ahead, to immerse myself in something. It feeds me. So I dunno... I guess in this 48 days I learned that I could work on picture book projects and have four or five going, but forget everything else. It was good to set everything else aside and concentrate, joyfully.

Everything else still needs attending, and part of the attending was looking critically and dispassionately at how I make a living, which is what I did with my agent on Monday before Jim and I hopped a plane home. Long and short: I can't get off the road and just write. That's my biggest practical take-away of the Year of Exploration so far.

That's fine. I like the work I do in schools, at conferences, teaching and speaking. I just need a better balance, so there is time for the writing. So that's what we worked on, getting to that better balance. We. Have. Plans. For now, "Don't give up your day job" is my reality once again, and I choose to embrace it. Bring it on, I say, and let's get to work.

I've had my 48 days of continuous writing, and now it's time to be back out there again, and living in the world in that lovely out-there way, which teaches me so much and gives me plenty to write about.

So. We have liftoff...


  1. Balance is so hard to find! I have been working on that for years and years. What I love in your writing and in this reflection is your phrase "concentrate, joyfully" I think even when things are off balance we can begin to come back to balance when we are joyful with our actions and thoughts. I love the joy I feel in each of your posts! Happy Lift off!

    1. I wish I could remember where I read it, and who wrote it... something about how there IS no balance, there is just passion. ha. I do often quote a line from John Irving's THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE: "You've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed, and keep passing the open windows." Thanks for the kind words!

  2. I loved seeing you and sharing the Golden Kite Day with you. I am your forever cheerleader! Can't wait to see what you've mapped out for the next 10 years. :)

    1. YOU, my dear, stole the day! I teared up listening to your impassioned, beautiful speech. Thank you for making me a part of your life. I'm so happy for you! xoxoxo

  3. Sorry I missed your Golden Kite. This series has been such a pleasure! Have a wonderful, wonderful road session.

    1. Thank you, Caroline! Thanks for coming along with me this 48 days.


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