Friday, June 28, 2019

Instant in Season, and Out of Season


by Pam Hillman

Well, here I am again, burning the candle at both ends.

Y'all are getting the rough and ready version of this week's blog post. But I kind of have a feeling that 99% of you will be nodding your heads that you totally get where I'm coming from.

As I type this directly into blogger an hour before it's due, I'm reminded of the time years ago that the Seekers all met at Tina Radcliffe's house. While there, Camy Tang logged in to the Seeker blog, typed her post practically live and added photos right there on the spot. I was amazed and not a little bit in awe! I couldn't imagine having enough confidence in what I had to say to do that.

Yet, here I am, doing it! Granted, it took me TEN years to get to that point.

2 Timothy 4:2 tells preachers to be instant in season and out of season. Growing up, in the church services I attended, that meant that if a preacher attended a church service and was asked unexpectedly to deliver the message, he'd better have one ready. I've never heard a preacher get up without delivering a rousing sermon. I'm not a preacher, but I do need to be instant in season and out of season. But of late, it seems like I've been out of season more than in. Not necessarily here in Seekerville, but in life in general. You know, just having so many irons in the fire that you find it difficult to figure out which one needs your attention next.

So, today I wanted to share with you a bit about the last week of my life. My 3 year-old granddaughter had a tonsillectomy eight days ago. She's doing great, and we're very, very thankful for that. However, it was decided that she shouldn't go to the sitter's this week, so I ended up babysitting her and her 9 month-old  sister five full days instead of three. Of course I love keeping my grands, but extra days of loving on grandbabies puts a damper on other jobs that need to be done, you know?

I had one job... well, three ... that I absolutely had to get done this week. Babysit every day, meet my exercise goals, and write a blog post for Seekerville. I'm closing in on batting 100%.

You know what I discovered?

I'm here to tell you that every blog post doesn't have to have three points, five or even ten. Maybe we don't always have to share some new revelation about the craft of writing, or the latest time-saving technique. Sometimes it's good to just be open and honest and show the ratty bathrobe and unwashed hair. (I'm sure it didn't escape your notice that I didn't ACTUALLY post a photo of such. I DO still have some pride, after all!)

Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we're all busy, we all have crazy lives, we're all scrambling to DO life, which includes this writing gig that we love.

I used to wonder if I was the only person who often felt like a hamster perpetually on a wheel, but the more I open up to others, the more I realize that the majority of my friends are just as busy as I am. Anyone who has it all together and is always as cool as a cucumber, please speak up. We want to schedule you in Seekerville so you can share your secret! :)

As I said, this has been raw, but I hope it speaks to someone going in to the weekend. When it seems like you're being buried alive with tasks whether of your own making, or unexpectedly from your employer, your family, just keep moving forward. Keep doing. Keep crossing things off your list. I chose not to stress today's post, and instead, I want you to know that I'm just like you. I don't always have it all together, but I regroup, ramp up the hamster wheel and have another go at it.

Hey, check out one of the videos I made from my impromptu photo shoot on The Natchez Trace last week. Another instance of being instant out of season as I found myself close to the Natchez Trace, I had books with me, and I decided to take advantage of the situation on the spur of the moment.

And, for the record, I'll be loving on grand babies all day today. But I'll pop in here as well. It's what hamsters do!


 

48 comments:

  1. Hi Pam:

    If you burn the candle at both ends you generate twice the illumination. This can allow you to see twice as far or twice the detail up close. I'm glad to see you did this on your Natchez Trace trip. I really like your headline: "Instant in Season, and Out of Season" as Toastmasters work on this objective at every meeting.

    The world never stopped because someone died. Always take time to smell the roses.

    BTW: if you can, please tell us about your next project.

    Vince

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    1. What a wonderful way to look at burning the candle at both ends. I like! :)

      Well, my next project is still in the gelling stage, but I'm working on something set in Mississippi again around 1812-1815, a bit of a small theater during the War of 1812.

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  2. Oh, Pam, you know this speaks to the heart of me! Life pulls and tugs and we are so blessed to have flexibility with our jobs, but it still requires production.

    But it also allows us to adapt to the changing circumstances!

    I can't wait to grab this book.

    I am so excited for you!!!!

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    1. Oh, yes, I am so very thankful for the flexibility of my job(s). Very, very thankful during this season of my life.

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    2. Ruthy, you know I'm in awe of you! You get 10 times as much done in a day than I can even think of doing! Please give me some of your energy and motivation!!!

      Pam, I'm not even on a hamster wheel. I just keep plugging along at my turtle pace and hope to accomplish a couple of things each day. Of course, having fibromyalgia is a big obstacle to me. I'm so appreciative of my husband. Without him, a lot of things wouldn't get done around here!
      Thanks for the inspiring post!

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  3. Hi Pam, I loved your spontaneous post, because that's life in real time.

    I've read all 3 of your Natchez Trace books and I'm not really ready to say goodbye to the O'Shea family, I would love a follow up story, even a novella, a Christmas novella would be great. As you see I'm grasping at straws.

    I can't wait for your next book, whatever it is I'll be reading it!
    And I'm glad to hear your little grandgirl is doing well, nothing like grandma time.
    Happy writing! :) Tracey

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    1. Tracey, so glad you enjoyed the series. And, yes, I did leave room for more stories. There's Rory, Patrick, and Betsy to start. You're right... some novellas would be great. Tucking that idea away for future reference. :)

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    2. I think novella connections are one of the most brilliant ideas ever! Especially for busy readers and writers!

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  4. Hi, Pam--chiming in to agree with Tracey that I love the encouraging honesty of this post! I'm definitely hamster-wheeling it these days, and I can so relate! So thankful that your granddaughter is doing well and big congratulations on your beautiful book!

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    1. See, I knew I wasn't the only hamster here in Seekerville. Here's to the hamster wheel of life and those who run it with grace and tenacity! You're doing it with style, Laurel. :)

      PS... I started to include a picture of a hamster, but I didn't want to give Mary Connealy a heart attack. She has a mouse phobia and hamsters are close enough cousins that I didn't dare risk it. :)

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  5. Pam, I have always admired the Seekers for their transparency. More than anywhere else, I learned here what a REAL writer's life is like. I'm still doing it, so obviously you didn't scare me off.
    Our lives are so full, aren't they? But what a blessing that you can be there for your grandchildren.
    I love the passage in Ecclesiastes where it talks about "to everything there is a season." May I add one thing: A time to be polished and put-together, and a time to get through the day.
    Today I have to pay two bills (in person because I'm late), walk (first time all week), fill out pre-pub information for my second Pelican book, go over contract for a Christmas novella they just accepted, investigate business cards for my September debut, take out an ad for a yard sale with my daughter, research a nonfiction book I may do with my daughter, line up appointments for my day job, phone a sick friend, and try to find someone to repair our lawn mower. Also grocery shop. But it's my own fault, I played hookey yesterday and went to the mountains. New Hampshire has this phenomenon in June, fields and fields of purple lupine, and they're best up north. NO regrets.
    Maybe I'll play hookey again.
    Kathy Bailey
    "A Home For the Heart"

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    1. Kaybee, my head is spinning from all you have to do today. Chasing two kiddos sounds like a walk in the park!

      Yeah, snapshots of real life give me more impetus to step up my game to stay IN the game. We're all in this together, aren't we? Your comment motivated me to get more stuff done today!

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    2. kaybee, you had me at lupines! My favorite book to read with my children was Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.

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    3. Cate, if you're ever in NH in June, I'll take you to see them. Or any Seeker or Villager.

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    4. Kathy, congrats on the Christmas novella contract!

      The lupines sound amazing!

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    5. FYI, I've already removed half the items to my tomorrow "to do" list. And I'd rather be chasing a grandchild, but that was not the hand dealt me.

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    6. Kathy, I'm glad to hear that some of your jobs are being put off. That list was stressing me out and it wasn't even mine! Your pictures on Facebook were pretty. It is important to do that kind of stuff.

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  6. Picture of the lupines on my Facebook page.

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    1. I went and took a peek. Beautiful!!! I don't blame you for playing hooky. :)

      Yesterday, after a long, busy day, I just wanted to sit on the couch and create something for Seekerville that had 5 relevant points, but a small thunderstorm had rolled through earlier in the day and it was 73 degrees outside. This rarely happens in June in Mississippi. So, I got out and ran (RUNNING is a new phenomenon for me, so I use the word every chance I get! I guess I really am turning in to a hamster! ha!) 2.5 miles. I met my goals and got in my exercise. Win-win!

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    2. Pam, you being honest with us IS "five relevant points."

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  7. My answer to that- and I’ve done it myself for years- won’t be popular. I say “no” to things. Now that I’ve reached the age of 50 I feel more confident about picking and choosing. I spent many days babysitting my grand, but I say no the millions of extra invitations and volunteer jobs trying to attach to my calendar.

    I walk around this ranch barefooted with the goats and sheep, wishing for extra time to ride my horses but settled for a good book, a lawn chair, and a baby goat snuggled like a puppy in my lap.
    My health is better these days. My mood is better. My creativity is coming alive again.
    Studies show that having idle time (not involving a screen) does wonders for us.
    See, not popular, but in the end probably more productive that running around in circles with too much on my plate like before I quit feeling guilty about enjoying my life and seeing creative work as actual work with worth.

    Bless you as you sit in that ratty bathrobe. To that I say, hooray!

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    1. Dalyn, I love this. Just reading about your lovely ways of relaxing and enjoying life makes me smile. Just yesterday, the grand and I stood at the front door watching a squirrel cavort in the front yard. We enjoy watching the cows and calves. We've spent a day watching baby bluebirds take flight. We have deer and turkeys that I photograph from my porch. And don't forget the guard-bird bluebird that I've dubbed Don Quixote, that tilts at any and all side mirrors that dares to invade his territory.

      Country living, grand babies, and animals (domesticated and wild) are the best antidotes for the hectic grind of everything else. :)

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    2. Dalyn, I love this, and it's a point I'm getting to in my own life, although not fast enough. I recently made a list of the five things I want to do in what's left of my life (write books, grow tomatoes, hang out with family and friends, build doll houses (MY WEIRD HOBBY) and travel) and I'm scrutinizing everything that doesn't fit into the five. Paring down and refining, kind of a Marie Kondo approach to not only having things, but doing things.
      Kathy Bailey
      "A Home For the Heart"

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    3. Dalyn, this sounds so wonderful! Makes me want to move to the country.

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  8. Oh you’re so right and I wish I could pop over and watch too! My husband hikes and hunts and loves nature too. I like to stay on the ranch with all the critters. I watch Blue Herons, quail, sparrow hawks, red tails, doves, and numerous others. I’ve even caught my fair share in the chicken coop. I love it all! A sanctuary from the world I suppose?
    Your grand babies are richer for having you!

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    1. Awe, thank you. They are on the way now. Their dad had a late schedule today, so I had a few minutes to catch up in Seekerville. :)

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  9. By the way I apologize for daring to comment before I’d had coffee this morning. Barely intelligent!

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    1. If that is your version of barely intelligent, I hesitate to think what post-coffee is. Your comments were so beautifully written and inspiring. I could see myself cuddling a baby goat.

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    2. Bless you both. I’d gladly let you. I had 5 more born yesterday and they are all cute as puppies!

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    3. Oh, I know they are adorable! We've had baby goats before and they were so sweet. Not so sweet when they stripped all the leaves off my rose bushes, though. lol

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  10. Pam, that was so smart of you to take the photos of the swamp with your book!! I love the video.

    I hope next week is calmer for you. But I'm so glad your grand babies have you! You're a blessing to your kids' families.

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    1. I had been wanting to go to the swamp forever, but just couldn't find the time. And I thought it was farther away, on the other side of Jackson, MS. But, there it was, on The Trace about 40 miles from me.

      I didn't tell the whole story. All I had with me was my iphone and the battery died just about the time I got to the swamp. My car charger wasn't working. I finally cleaned the contacts on the plug in and got enough charge to snap a few pictures but I had to sit and wait for about 20 minutes without using my phone. Now that was tough! lol

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    2. Pam, why do phones always seem to die when we need them most?! LOL

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    3. Exactly! Seems to be the story of my life.

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    4. I think it is the battery corollary to Murphy's Law.

      Do they still make those disposable cameras? Do kids even know what they are?

      This reminds me of the two vultures perched on a high wire in Arizona. One says to the other: "If something doesn't die pretty soon, I'm going to go out and kill me something."

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  11. Well said, Pam. A great encouragement to all of us who need to hear somebody say, "Just one step at a time." Thanks for posting!

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    1. One step. One hour. One day.

      Then repeat. We've got this!

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  12. My hamster wheel is definitely going, but I am reminded again and again that each season in life has its own craziness. Soak up this one and don't worry about the next before it gets here. Right now, I am in the stay-at-home mom stage with two preschoolers. But I am still able to get a few other things done, too. I just have to prioritize and realize my writing comes second right now. But it still comes. :-)

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    1. Great reminder to enjoy and embrace whatever season you are in. I'm usually pretty good at doing that. :) It's when I'm tired that I forget and get cranky. A good night's rest resets my mood. :)

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  13. Great post, Pam. It is good to be reminded that sometimes plans change and we can't always do things exactly as we had thought. I'm glad your granddaughter is doing well and glad you can take care of them. You are certainly not the only hamster on a wheel. I feel that way much of the time.

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    1. There ya go. I was on the wheel all day yesterday, then grabbed my hamster blankie last night and slept like ... TEN HOURS. I'm ready to tackle the world again.

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  14. Pam, Thank you for the encouraging post!

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    1. You are welcome, Caryl! Have a great, energizing weekend!

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  15. Hi Pam:

    It's late but it just occurred to me that your 'live' post is a version of reality tv. Writers should be wary of reality tv because it got its big start when the writers went on strike.

    The executives could see the writing on the wall and moved to make more and more tv shows that did not require writers. For the shows that remain with writers, the number of episodes have been drastically cut since the strike.

    Of course, in this case you are the writer, for now. Perhaps someday we'll have "The Big Seeker" show/blog where writers engage in critique sessions and once a week someone is voted off the island. Or something like that.

    Vince

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    1. Wow! I didn't know that about reality tv.

      So, I might be on the cusp (or the downward slope) of a new trend, huh? That's a bit of a turn-about for me.

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  16. Maybe...but do you know what happened? Like the explosion of Indy books on stories the traditional publishers won't publish because of small target audiences, the public still wanted their writer written dramas. So look at the birth of Amazon, Netflix, and other new producers of dramas. I'm looking for some Seekers to have movies made with the Harlequin/Harper-Collins alliance. Wait and see. Soon will come the Streaming Seekers!

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