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Giveaway Friday & Back to the Novel

December 1, 2008

On Black Friday, I woke up with a full belly and with a plan. While the rest of the country was out spending, waiting in lines, hunting for sales, and going further into debt, I packed our car’s trunk full of clothes, toys, shoes, boxes of household items, and even a big TV…and the family all drove together to the Salvation Army to donate it. Wow, it felt good. We used it as a way to talk with our 5- and 3-year-olds about how thankful we really should be for all that we have and how many of our neighbors who live right in the same town do not have the things we do. We used it as a way to talk about sharing and about helping people out. We used it as a way to avoid the masses of crowds at every other shop in the land (while Sal’s did have 2 or 3 customers that morning).  And to be honest, we used it as a way to clean up our house a bit and make tough decisions about t-shirts that I LOVE but haven’t worn in four years.

Anyway, it felt great. We donate and contribute to charities throughout the year, but there’s something extra special about donating and giving things away for free on the day the rest of the country sets aside to  buy, buy, buy. Yeah, maybe we didn’t do our part to help the struggling economy, but what’s more important? Spending a hundred bucks because everyone else is spending a hundred bucks or teaching our kids what it means to help out a neighbor and talk about being thankful?

So we have a new family tradition. We enjoyed the process so much that we’ll be doing it next year. Forget Black Friday, we’ll be down with Giveaway Friday instead. Anyone else want to join our movement?

Also, after a few months of hiatus from my novel, “A Series of Hopes,”  which back in June I was sure that I had completed, I’ve decided it is time to get back into it and make it right. And so for the first time since June of this year, I will open the file on my Mac called “Brushes” and start from page 1. Again. I need to get this thing done and move on to the next with a clear plate. I’ve learned I’m no good at working on multiple things. I need to focus on one piece of writing at a time. I took a long break from this when I realized after nearly 5 years of work that it was just too big. It was the size of an “epic” novel, not one a publisher or agent would ever look at from a first-time, unpublished novelist. The writing and the story are very good, I think and I’ve been told. It is just too big. Realizing that deflated me and put me down like nothing I’ve experienced in a long while. So I took the smart advice of my brother who told me to put it away and get some distance before going back and the advice from my wife who said “it seems like a good thing to work on during the winter. Take some time off from it.” Well for the summer and fall, I took a break from it and tried to get some other writing done but that has not entirely worked because this story is still where my mind goes when I think about writing. These characters are too important to me. The story is too important for me. I did start this blog, though. That counts for something.

There’s a few inches of snow on the ground – I shoveled a path from our door to the garage at 6:30 am today.  The distance and time away really have given me a new perspective and I know it was the right move to lay off it for a while. But it is December and there is beautiful snow all around. It is time to get back to work…and change that title.

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