You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.
– Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer, from The Prophet
When we moved back into our remodeled house in the spring of 2007, I saw a board in a catalog that simply said: “In everything, give thanks.” It ended up gracing our family room wall. Every now and then, I look up to it and I am reminded that we need not remember to give thanks just at Thanksgiving. It’s a daily ritual if we can find that quiet moment for reflection. I was supposed to take this past week off to work on my novel, but too many scheduled meetings and revised deadlines prevented me from asking for the week off. While I was discouraged, I told myself to keep plugging away when I could and everything would be fine. Last week ended with the beginning of a new month, the beginning of November. The end of the week also brought little and big joys, which afforded me moments of gratitude.
The revision that I had to do, the one that I fretted over because I didn’t think I could fit in everything the client wanted? I made an executive decision to include three concepts and no more. Though I had approached this re-do with mental roadblocks and a writer’s block, once I made that decision, it was easy to write. A burden was lifted. I sent it in, and the client liked it. Gone girl. The project and the stress, that is!
Jenny K fundraiser
This past Saturday was the last day of a week-long fundraiser for my son’s middle school. This is a fundraiser that I started last year with Jen Komaromi, local woman entrepreneur of Jenny K, (6921 Stockton Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530, 510.528.5350). It culminated with a two-hour wine and cheese event. Our new PTSA vice president provided all the beverages and food, and our energetic and cheerful fundraising chair brought her group of friends to shop. I thank Jen for her generosity in donating proceeds of the sales to our middle school. She has always supported the local schools and the community. And I thank my PTSA colleagues and all the shoppers who came out to support Portola and Jenny K (support your local businesses!). It warmed my heart to be a part of this annual fundraiser.
Lunafest planning going well
As part of the Lunafest East Bay Organizing Committee, I am in charge of a new part of the format – coffee and dessert after the screening of the nine short films, by, for and about women. By the end of last week, I had secured two wonderful women entrepreneurs who will be serving their fabulous baked creations. More on this later. But suffice to say, Lunafest on March 8th, at 7:30pm at the El Cerrito High School Performing Arts Theater (540 Ashbury Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530, 510.231.1437) is going to be a wonderful evening of engaging, creative short films by women directors (in fact, one of the directors will be at this event) and fundraising for the Breast Cancer Fund and other local groups. Mark your calendars and bring your friends. This is a terrific community event.
Finis: novel completed
This past Sunday I completed the last major revision of my novel, A Village in the Fields. I started the novel in May 1997. I wrote numerous revisions, removed a major character, cut down from a high of a thousand pages to its current 461 pages. Much has happened in my life since its beginnings – marriage, work, two children, work, home remodel, work, public education volunteerism and advocacy, work, losing my mother, work – with some false starts on thinking it was done when in fact it was not. I’m that much closer now. The last leg of this journey is reading it straight through, from page 1 to page 461, to check the flow, the language, and to fix a few more things. I have never met any of my big self-imposed deadlines (I was supposed to have finished the novel each of the last three years), but I’m hoping to finish the entire manuscript by Thanksgiving. Finishing the last chapter on Sunday afternoon – after waking up to an epiphany about it Saturday morning – was deeply gratifying. And I am ever so grateful to have stuck with it, to have had close friends lend their critical eye and cheer me on, to have been humbled by the rejections back in 2006 and to have found the confidence and perseverance to get up and keep going, and to know what was wrong with it and to fix it. Once I’m completely done with this journey, it begins anew with another journey. And I am more than ready for that next journey, bursting with joy and gratitude.