To Looking Forward

Photo credit: Cali2Okie (April) via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Cali2Okie (April) via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the fast-approaching new year.

Here, the joy of Christmas was made more poignant due to a death in the family. My uncle’s passing served as a powerful reminder of the need to recognize what is truly important in life. Perhaps it was just me, but this season’s gatherings seemed to have more meaning for everyone. From the Christmas card that conveyed an expression of thanks for including their family in the festivities, to the way people lingered at the door, reluctant to leave as the time neared for the gathering to come to an end. All of this and more reinforced my belief that these celebrations need to happen all through the year.

While I have spent the last two weeks fully engaged with other priorities, the importance of getting the first draft of my book completed has skyrocketed to the top of the list. Speaking of lists, it is also that time of the year as well. Time to plot out the journey for the coming year. Time to dream of all the things that we want to accomplish. Time to figure out what mark we want to leave on 2017. Time when endless possibilities lie before us. We can take the best from the past to build on to make the new year unforgettable.

I have dusted off the crystal ball and am preparing to…

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Pressure

Photo via HebiFot via Visual Hunt

Photo via HebiFot via Visual Hunt

How I would love to say that I haven’t posted here because I have been writing like a fiend. My muse bound me to my chair and compelled me to spend hours at my keyboard while the words have spilled onto the page. Words and sentences and paragraphs flowing from my fingertips like water leaping over a cliff to create a magnificent waterfall with mist spraying into the air to adorn the creation with rainbows. The culmination being a story with wonderful dialog, stunning visual effects and a plot as solid as Gibraltar. A story that is destined to be on the best seller list with fans clamoring for the next two books in the series. Only seconds after writing the immortal word “The End”, producers bang down my door begging to be allowed to make my story into the next hit movie. It will be bigger than Star Wars they say.

Hmm, wait. Is my fever back?

Okay, the truth is that I have spent the better part of this week being sick. Just in time for the busy holiday season. Thankfully, today I feel better than I have since Monday. Somehow, as I lay knocked out by every over the counter medication I could get my hands on, time spun forward to a point where we are barely a week away from the fat man’s arrival. Boy am I behind schedule. There is still some Christmas shopping to do and some decorating and baking and grocery shopping and a house to clean for company and gifts that need to be mailed along with the “normal” stuff that needs doing. I wonder if I can convince the kids that Christmas has been rescheduled for next week? No? Probably not my best option.

I suppose there is nothing like the pressure of looming deadlines, other people’s expectations and the dread of being a disappointment to ignite a fire to get things done. So, I have modified my list, checked it twice and cranked up the holiday playlist. I have even planned to squeeze in some writing time. Wish me luck.

How is everyone else faring in the pre-holiday madness?

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Snow Day

Photo assist by Jo

Photo assist by Jo

Jill had been waiting in anticipation for this day. She hoped for it every year, but so often it never seemed to materialize. Things like work and grown-up responsibilities would get in the way. But this year it looked like it might happen. She had checked and rechecked the forecast. She worked longer than she had intended to make sure all those grown-up things that needed doing were done and prayed like she had when she was a schoolgirl, “Please let it snow tomorrow.”

This year looked like it would be extra special. This was to be the first snow of the season. Watching the weatherman predict four to six inches made her giddy with anticipation. She never quite figured out why adults were exempt from snow days. Of course, there were still days when the schools were closed, but why were adults expected to fight their way through sloshy, unplowed streets and risk icy roads for the sake of work? She checked the night sky once more before heading off to bed.

Photo credit: trikelef via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: trikelef via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

Something woke her. The clock by the bed read three a.m. She slid from under the covers to peer out the window. In the glow of the streetlight she could see a gentle fall of snow. She watched as it floated to the ground and disappeared on the sidewalk, leaving a tiny spot of moisture where it landed. Smiling, she shivered in the cold. She watched for a few more minutes before the cold sent her diving back into the warm bed to dream of snow.

It was much later when she woke again and raced to the window to see if it was still snowing. While the streets and the sidewalks were mostly wet, the grass was covered in fluffy white snow. Great chunks that looked that cotton balls were now tumbling from the lead gray sky. She checked her phone. “Snow for at least one hundred twenty minutes” she read.

The rest of the day turned out exactly as she had hoped. Breakfast was a big meal with plenty of hot coffee to sip, instead of the normal grab and run so you won’t be late kind. Later, reading in a chair by the window she surrendered to the urge to draw a happy face on the frosted pane. That afternoon she baked cookies and made up a mug of hot chocolate. Still the snow fell. Every time she checked her phone the message read, “Snow for at least one hundred twenty minutes”.

Photo credit: I am a Pear via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: I am a Pear via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

The day turned into night before the snow stopped. Seven and a half inches was being reported as she bundled into her winter coat, scarf and gloves to shovel the driveway. Outside the world was quiet, truly a silent night. Her shovel dug into the white confection covering the sidewalk she knew lay below. The scrape of the shovel bit into the night air, as she pushed it deeper into the snow. This was one of her favorite parts. Pushing the snow off to the edge of driveway, then digging in to fling a heaping load of snow into the grass, she smiled.

A crescent moon hung low on the horizon casting a surreal light on the heavy, wet snow that clung desperately to the bare tree branches. Unable to maintain its grip on the tree across the street, the snow fell like sifted flour to the street below. With the driveway cleared, she paused for a moment to admire the beauty that surrounded her. For the moment, she was alone in world, free of grown-up responsibilities, free to savor that one moment.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer