Dormant to Thriving

Last spring I started my fern watching journey. Fascinated by the way a little fern—and assorted mosses—clung to the rough bark of the water oaks in my backyard, I snapped a few pictures every now and then and compared the different stages of the fern to my creative life.

This time around, I think the fern is trying to tell me something.

Winter has been beautifully colder than average. A month ago, after ice/sleet and multiple days of freezing temperatures, my resident fern looked like this:
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The weather has been steadily warming, but inside I’ve still been stuck. Dormant. Outside, the fern has a message for me: Wake up!
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The storm has passed!

Literally, because a mean display of thunder and lightning blew through about two o’clock in the morning and now it’s blue skies and a refreshing breeze. I need to get back to work—I feel it in the air.

But first, I think we need to name my enduring fern. Please leave suggestions below.

Excitehension

Excitement and apprehension are in the air. Ever notice how similar those two can feel? Yet, taken alone, each word is distinct and seemingly opposite. I’ve been juggling both and they’re equally exhausting.

I’m known among my Facebook friends as the Brightside lady. Rather than only doing thankful posts in November, I do a “BRIGHTSIDE” status. I began these Pollyanna moments more than three years ago during a stressful week, and I continue to post them when life rears its crazy claws. I’ve posted 350 brightsides, which is not too shabby, stressfully speaking.

Today, the apprehension is trying to take over my excitement so I’m going to throw more fuel on the positive side, in hopes of over-powering the negative.

My boys’ literary tree is filling up nicely.
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The fern on the oak tree is surviving autumn.
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And my sister sent me a pep talk in stones. (I don’t think I can kill or break these like I did the fern terrarium.)
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What do you do to battle the “woe is me” moments in life?

Summer Sucks

Summer sucks my energy away. The heat, humidity, and glaring sun don’t agree with me. Southern summer thunderstorms are fabulous but I have to bear with the other things to enjoy them. Opposition in all things.

To combat summer blues we gear up homeschool in July. My previous post highlighted our literary tree. Here’s what it looks like as of last week.

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Besides fighting the heat, I’ve been battling words. I passed fifty one thousand on my current WIP (work in progress), FORTITUDE. It’s now officially my biggest project ever just based on word count—not to mention the years of research. As soon as I finish this draft, I’ll be looking back over CORRODED. It will have been a year since I worked on it, so I’ll have fresh eyes and an editor’s brain to aid in my decision making on where to take Mary and Ben.

Hope summer is kind to you and yours.

Literary Tree

Our homeschooling plans have taken a literary turn this month. In a fit of Pinterest inspiration, I purchased a tree kit from the local teacher supply store. Isn’t it cute?
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Now, for every book the kids read independently (or with little help) they get to write the title on a leaf and add it to the tree.
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We started with a winter bare tree in the middle of summer and it’s turning to spring even as the temperature rises. Come winter, we’ll be in full summer glory here.

The Calm

Last week’s tidal extremes have leveled out—and that’s a good thing. Each day’s not as emotionally draining, so there’s more energy for the rest of life.

First, I’ll share what literary news I do have. I passed thirty thousand words with FORTITUDE last night. I’m still trying to finish this draft by the end of the month, but I’m not going to stress if I don’t. That whole “don’t let your fortitude get corroded” thing will keep me from being too hard on myself.

I did celebrate a birthday last week. I kept mum about it, but I want to share a gift I received that has ties to this blog.
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Yes, a fern terrarium to help me keep my dreams alive. One of my first thoughts was to name the fern on the tree “Corroded” and the terrarium “Fortitude” but my slightly superstitious mind then thought that if one died, there goes that novels chance in the world. And to reinforce that my initial idea wasn’t a good one, I spotted another fern beginning in a bed of moss on a different tree in the yard.
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No way I’m ready for a third project!

Yet.

On a personal note, I’m finishing up the last month of homeschooling with my kids before we break for several weeks in June. A break for us just means no paperwork. We’re forever learning and exploring—together and separately.

For the new readers (hello out there!) you can keep up with what books I’m devouring and other fun tidbits on my Facebook page and Twitter. Also, I’ve updated the look of my website, so if you’re reading this via e-mail, take the time to click over the site and let me know what you think.

Nourish Your Goals

Did you catch my post earlier this month about ferns? I didn’t have to wait for the summer heat to test me or the fern.
This past Sunday I had a minor freak-out about my writing goal—finishing the first draft of FORTITUDE—while I’m in my seventh month of waiting to hear back from publishers about CORRODED.
First draft goals can be hair-pulling. Waiting to hear back from the publishing industry, also nerve-racking. The two together equals fighting for sanity on at least a weekly basis.
Enter mini-meltdown.
While venting my concerns to MeLeesea Swann via chat room, she gave me the little “you can do it” and “don’t stress the numbers” and “it will happen” friendly feedback that can be easy to dismiss during epic stress moments. But then she hit me with something that made me laugh so loud I scared my kids.

DON’T LET YOUR FORTITUDE GET CORRODED.

Personalized prospective was all I needed. I shared the quote with family and our other writing friends. I even printed out copies of it on purple paper and hung them up around the house to remind me.
Then Monday morning happened.
I went outside to finish up some weeding. When I passed my little fern on the water oak, it looked like this:

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ARGH! My little plant of hope, though surrounded in soft, green moss was withering away. If the fern couldn’t make it, then I might be able to keep my goals. Then I thought of fortitude being corroded and grabbed the hose. I soaked that thing and went on with my other yard work.
An hour later, no change.
Two hours, nothing.
Three hours, it looked slightly better.
About five hours later, it was back to this.

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What can you do to keep your dreams alive? Be sure to involve a support system.

Fern and the Art of Living

The South has awesome oak trees. Amid the branches you can often see moss, ferns, and other creeping plants growing. Government Street in Mobile, AL is lined with fabulous live oaks—their trunks and main branches support leafy green ferns and mosses. (Mental note: take picture next time I’m downtown.)

The past two years, one of the water oaks in our backyard has been home to a struggling fern of its own. We have plenty of moss/other fuzzy stuff on the different trees.
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But, for some reason, the fern is magical to me. Maybe because it conjures images of faerie laden forests or a tropical getaway. Or the fact that the odds of a plant growing out of rough, tree bark is inspiring. If the fern can cling to life, then I can stick with my goals, right?
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Whatever the meaning, I’ve made a goal of supporting the fern. Hopefully the plant, and my goals, will flourish when the summer heat arrives.