Thursday, February 23, 2017

Paying Attention

Paying Attention
By Angel Smits

We live in an unhappy world sometimes.  Some days are tough to get through.  When I’m not writing, I work a day job as well as help my husband with our small business.  Some days I come home and plop down on the couch—and just sit.  Not the most exciting existence at times. 
            The other night, I couldn’t help wondering what my life would be like if I didn’t have romance novels to escape into.  To be honest, it looked pretty bleak. 
            Thankfully, I had a book due so, I pulled out my laptop and got to work.  Amazingly, I was able to leave this world behind and go with my characters to theirs. 
            Now, I’m not saying my hero or heroine have great lives.  I’m actually kind of mean to them.  (Poor things)  But no matter what I do to them, no matter how rotten I make their days, I always know in the back of my mind that everything will work out for them. 
            I know they’ll get their happy ending. 
            That’s comforting. 
            It’s the same when I read a book.  A really good romance promises that happily ever after from page one.  I don’t know how they’ll get there, but I know they will get there.  I can’t put the book down until I get to that point where the characters look at each other and realize they love each other.  And always will.
            Ah, that’s my escape.
            We all have our escapes.  We need them.  I think it’s what encourages good mental health.  It helps keep us stay sane in this insane world.  Sometimes I forget to do that and I feel weighed down.
            One of my critique partners is the most upbeat person I know.  She, and my other critique partners, have let me bend their ear about so many things over the years.  And somewhere along the line, she started to send us text messages.  Funny ones.  Serious, encouraging ones.  Hunky guys when she feels like we need a little “pick me up.” 
            She sends them throughout the day sometimes, and we end up in a text conversation that lasts just a few minutes.  (Somehow the guys in kilts inspire more discussion…) 
            But those few minutes are an amazing reprieve in the middle of this not-so-happy world.  Those little breaks are like a nice way of her smacking me upside the head and saying, “Wake up.  Pay attention to what’s important.”
            It's that same feeling I get when I've escaped into the pages of a book, even for a little while.  
            It reminds me that my critique group, my friends are always there.  It brings my dream world—my writing world—back into focus in my mind.  It makes me laugh, or cry—or sweat just a little. 
            Recently, though I’ve wanted to find things to send to her.  She makes me feel better when I need it.  (She sent me three pictures of Keith Urban when I had a nasty cold, for heaven’s sake.  Didn’t cure a blessed thing—but I didn’t care anymore.) 
She has gotten me to look at the world differently.  Actually, to really look at the world in my day.  There are good things in every day.  I’m trying to find at least one thing in each day that’s a positive.  A blessing.  A gift.  Something that might make a good photo to send.  I’m still working on that, and a couple weeks ago I started making a list of things I appreciate.  I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve notice lately.
            1- The thin, white ice on the curb in the early morning.
            2 - Deer in the parking lot at work.

Lunch break!
            3 - The scent of ANYTHING after your head’s been stuffed up for 2 weeks.
            4 - The silence when an annoying person stops talking.  (Like I said, I’m a work in progress.) 
            5 - Coffee (Some days are hard)
            6 - Chocolate vodka (Sometimes multiple days) 
            7 - And today’s addition -- chocolate fountains!  (Seriously, you really have to try this!) 
When you look around, what little things are there, just waiting for you to find and appreciate them?  Not necessarily the obvious ones, either.  Those are easy.  I’m challenging myself.  Look for them and think about how that slight moment is just a bit better for finding it.  How can you put more of those in your life?  And as a writer, I want to put those into my writing as well.      
            It’s a start.       



Mary Preston said...

A great post.

Not a world shattering event, but I cleaned out the deep freeze today and found a lemonade ice-block at the very bottom. My reward for a job well done. Greatly appreciated.

Laney4 said...

I began thinking about good things each day when Oprah talked about a Grateful Journal many moons ago. At that time, I wrote down 5 things dutifully daily. After a year or so, I quit writing them down, as I was thinking of at least 20 things every day - and have continued doing so since.
At this moment, it is 5:25 am where I am. I am grateful that I am not awake with leg cramps, as I played a competitive badminton tournament Wed/Thurs (for seniors 55+) and had the cramps until bedtime. I was thankful we didn't have any freezing rain or driving snow during that time and I feel blessed to have met many wonderful people (both players and spectators) who hopefully will attend future senior tournaments where we can pick up where we left off socially. Many happy memories....

Kaelee said...

I know where you are coming from. Some days all the news is so horrible that all you want to do is crawl back into bed and cover your head.

However counting your blessings is a good thing as well. My husband loves to cook. Finding a new recipe that really does something for both of us is a lot of fun. Just being able to get fresh fruit and berries is such a blessing. Having my orchid blooming and sitting on my dining room table for around a month is super exciting. It brings a touch of spring to the dreay winter days.

I love reading romance books. I love the happy ever after endings as well. I have an enormous to be read pile and I love to dive in and find a book to suit my mood. Large print books are a blessings as my eyes grow older.

Sometimes it is a small courtesy that makes you happy. Someone leaves a space so you can merge when you are driving or opens a door. Or you even see someone doing something courtios. Sometimes just a smile will do it. A child excited about something is wonderful to see.

I have a souvenir tea cup collection and finding a cup and saucer to add to my collection is a big boost.

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