Life Among the Couples

Long Bayou held a dance for Valentine’s Day last night. Earlier, I’d gotten most of my hair cut off but left the ¬†silver at the roots. I am growing into that silver just as I am learning to face my many fears alone. The stuff I’m afraid of could fill a book, but the little six inch lizard that found it’s way into my home seriously freaked me out. I called my husband even knowing he could do nothing for me in Michigan. He didn’t answer the phone.

I used ant spray on the slippery little creature and swear his beady little eyes looked into mine asking “Why?” before he disappeared under the door to the heating and cooling unit. Then I went to the internet and found out these guys are harmless and also everywhere in Florida. Even inside houses. They climb walls and hide behind picture frames. Still, I chose this place to live and I have to make peace with its ways.

I applied courage like a third layer of mascara and put on my party clothes. My friend came upstairs for a drink before the dance. She peered in the closet with a flashlight, but there was no sign of my tiny intruder. Just one more thing I’m going to have to get used to here. That’s another long list of stuff: what I need to adjust to, what I need to figure out, what I must endure alone.

I texted my absent husband then went to the dance. The band was musically proficient but they played mostly romantic songs so the couples could slow dance. Karen and I sipped our wine, danced a little bit, but mostly looked on. We left early; I went up to my condo alone. I looked around for the lizard. I looked at my phone. No text from my husband, but on the plus side, no sign of the lizard, either.



Strawberry Moon

Full moons are always about the fullness of life, when something or everything has reached a peak. This full moon is special because it is happening at Solstice, the longest day of the year. Native Americans called this particular moon the Strawberry Moon because it signaled that the fruit had ripened to its fullest flavor.

My life has been pretty full-to-bursting in the last few weeks. Feels like I’ve been on roller skates half the time. Let’s see, bought a house, finished edits on my Christmas novel, designed and ordered promotional material for my series, wrote out the lecture for my workshop coming mid-July, joined Sisters in Crime, signed up for a workshop in police procedure in Wisconsin, revised WIP chapter for critique, started summer walking program…I am replete with this summer moon energy.

Now, it’s time to relax. Now it’s time to release. To let go. To spend some time quietly gathering strength for the work to come. To refill the well. To make strawberry crumble and serve it with vanilla ice cream. Because as much as I want and need to replenish my inner self, I also need to replenish those pantry and fridge shelves with healthy food. Grocery shopping waits for no woman.

I realize I slipped “bought a house” in there … the deal is not yet complete. It’s an awesome step of a lifetime, I’ll say that. Al and I are happy and amazed, and you’ll be hearing a lot about this decision in the weeks and months to come, as the impact is going to change my life in considerable ways. But not for awhile.

Other changes are coming sooner. Smaller but significant ones, like the turn my writing life is taking toward the darker parts of the human heart. I have written six novels loosely classified as “women’s fiction.” I wanted to write about the light. About love. About home and family. It’s what I knew, it’s what I struggled to make real for the first half of my actual (as opposed to fictional) life.

I’ve had a bit of resistance to this turn in my fiction writing toward the darker aspects of the human heart, but only a little. I know I need to follow where my creativity wants to take me. I’m gathering my courage, and my research, for this new direction, this new work-in-progress. Yet another something that is too new, too unfinished, to talk much about. Just to say that when I took one of my characters out of Blue Lake and put her in Detroit I really had no idea what I was in for. But it’s fine.

Character and setting are so aligned in my mind that I soon realized I would not be able to write this book without being honest about Detroit and that means I need to talk about race. Also guns, drugs, and corruption, but race, that’s a scary thing. The thing I resisted writing about the most. Racism is so far from love.

And yet, I am going there. I’m taking my writing, and in fact my life, to places that will require courage. Also knowledge, which is why I’m doing the police academy seminar, but mostly the new things in my life, the things just coming now, will require courage. I have never thought of myself as a particularly courageous person, in fact quite the opposite. I like feeling safe. But to grow into fullness, in writing and in life, I must gather my courage. Also strawberries.