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.
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.
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.