Friday, August 22, 2014

The Surprise

The Hoxie Elks Club gave me a ficus plant when my husband died. It was a lovely, but modest little plant that I took with me to Colorado when I moved here to be closer to our daughters and grandchildren.

The plant grew and grew. I'm quite sentimental about it. It quite literally came to symbolize Don's approval of my move. Every time I look at it I think of all the friends I had in Hoxie and the fierce energy it takes to maintain a small community. It takes a lot of hard work to man organizations when the population is declining. I love unity of small towns and the way we can all pull together when someone needs help.

One of my all-time favorite writing projects was the Sheridan County History Books. I edited these books and our books were unique because all the work was done within Sheridan. County. We actually had our own commercial book-binder in the area. A local artist designed the covers. Several contributed original art. We found a lot of old pictures and the stories were absolutely wonderful.

It was especially gratifying to see the wonder on some the contributors faces to learn details about their families that they had not known. The hardships and the sorrows of homesteading. The bonding with their relatives through collecting information.

This experience, of course, became the foundation for my mystery series. Oh the stories people told me behind closed doors. This project was a gift. A surprise. It came out of nowhere when Don bought a livestock truckline and we moved to Hoxie. The local historical society was looking for someone to tackle organizing and editing the history books and I was delighted take on the work.

I wasn't feeling well today and didn't get my writing done--which always makes me even crankier.But I had found a wonderful lady who owned a small gardening business and would re-pot Don's ficus plant. It's huge! It would take both of us to wrestle it into a new pot. I was tempted to wait until I felt better. But I went ahead because we had already postponed twice.

Then I had another surprise. A gift. We chatted while we worked and when she learned I was a writer, she asked if I would be willing to speak to an organization she belonged to. Would I ever! It was the American Association of University Women. They sponsor a terrific event every fall. I was enormously flattered.

I was reminded once again of how some wonderful opportunities come out of the blue and it's not always necessary to "make" things happen. That mentally is a trap authors fall into right now. We are oppressively aware of everything we could be doing regarding social media or promoting our work on-line.

I'm especially appreciative of gracious little jolts--the surprises--that come my way despite my bumbling.

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