I’m a happy busy writer. You wouldn’t know it if you looked at my author blog, unless you correctly guessed why I haven’t published an update here in a while.
From Isla Mujeres in Mexico, Daniel and I traveled back to Los Angeles, and from there via Oslo (and its famous City Hall where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded) to Amsterdam, where we landed during a national train strike and barely made it to our temporary home in The Hague.
Since our arrival in the Netherlands, I’ve been a happy busy writer. Occupied with family gatherings, administrational obligations, reunions with friends, prose submissions, dentist visits, writing articles and guest-blogs, updating my limited (backpackable) wardrobe, restocking travel supplies, and much more.
- I celebrated my grandmother’s 105th (!) birthday and read her the congratulatory letter she received from the Dutch king and queen.
- I welcomed a beautiful little niece—Hanna—into the world, and was able to gift her the hand-made garland created by my Californian friend Lynn.
- I submitted my first short story collection to multiple contests in the USA; no idea whether my work stands a chance, but I want to have tried at least.
- I finished my first memoir and received such incredibly encouraging feedback from my beta-readers that I wondered: What if I’m better at nonfiction than I am at fiction?
- I bought new glasses, so new that I haven’t yet been photographed wearing them.
- I did an interview with Jon DiSavino for his Short Story Today podcast that will be broadcast on November 2nd.
- I received vaccinations against Hepatitis A (again) and Corona (again) and a prescription for Mefloquine, because Daniel and I have plans to return to Asia in 2023 and might travel to malaria-troubled islands. (But I have since received worrying information about the effects of Mefloquine of my brain.)
- I wrote ten new flash fictions and nonfictions in SmokeLong’s wonderful summer workshops. I’m grateful to the instructors and all my fellow writers who provided much needed edits and insights.
- And on one of the coldest and rainiest September Sundays in Holland, Daniel and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.
Next week, we will return to Paris for a short stay and from there, we will likely fly to Egypt to see the pyramids. But as the busy writer I am, I haven’t had time yet to research our trip. Or finish the planned edits on my novel or apply to artist residencies or truly engage with my author friends online.
I’m happy my life is flowing again. I’m privileged that I can spend so much of my hours on creative pursuits, being with loved ones, and seeing amazing sights around the world. But I cannot deny that my days feel too short for what my heart wants to do. I hardly get to read and breathe.
So along with celebrating all this activity, I pledge my return to mindfulness, the practice that helped me through when life was most difficult. When I mourned my mother and suffered from fear. When injustice kept me awake.
Mindfulness is more than an emergency exit. It deserves my commitment, even when I seem to need it less. It’s like with my physical health: I try to eat what’s good for my body all the time and not just when I fall ill. I want to practice mindfulness despite and because of my being happily engaged in so many activities. No matter where I am or how I feel, I want mindfulness to be my go-to force.
The featured photo is of a mural in Oslo’s City Hall.