It’s Spring Time! “March 1 is the beginning of meteorological spring”–as my husband would say. Time for renewal, growth, doing new things. In my case, some very challenging things:

Completing Shades of Reality–my anthology of short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. Sizing the book, formatting correct margins that allow for a book’s gutter, using section breaks for the book’s structure. And then after setting up an account with Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing,) uploading a pdf of my word.doc manuscript. Lastly, designing a book cover. I used a photograph my husband took of Chicago’s Bean – a sculpture in Millennium Park. He gave the photograph an artistic/ abstract look, perfect for my cover. At this point, I am waiting for my proof to arrive and then… onto publishing my book!

I’ve also submitted 2 stories and a poem for my writing group–The Writing Journey’s new anthology. Its theme is Secret Identity. It’s the 7th anthology that I’ve participated in. The authors are now in the critique round, starting with the first drafts of our work. I have 9 critiques completed. In return, I will receive 9 critiques for my work. We write & revise 4 drafts with rounds of critiques for each draft. Our intensive critiquing makes for a high quality anthology. Those pieces will eventually be added to my own anthology. I’ve compiled a nice collection through the years.

The other challenging thing that I’m working on this month is creating a slide show presentation on ‘How to Write a Memoir.’ In the month of November–National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I wrote my memoir, Heartfelt Journey, inspired by what had happened to my husband, this past September. He literally dropped dead on the tennis court and was resuscitated by a tennis friend, then he had triple bypass surgery. I was assured he would be alright, so 5 days later, I attended our son’s wedding in San Fransisco on my own. I learned very quickly the values of being self-reliant. My husband does so many things, things I’ve taken for granted, that all of the sudden became my responsibilities. Now my husband is always telling me to “not give up” & “you can do it” when things get challenging and you just want to escape from the truth– that you might not be as prepared as you would like to be. So I’m getting prepared–learning things, trying things, many of them out of my comfort zone. This traumatic experience was an eye-opener–to being self-reliant–and is my underlying theme to the emotional journey I went on along with my husband. He’s doing great, now! So I will share my experience along with the research I did from those with more expertise on the subject of ‘writing memoirs.’ In April, I will present it as a workshop for my writing group. Again, this is something new for me. Out of my comfort zone. But my group is very supportive and I know I’ll be fine and maybe learn something about myself in the process. Like my husband always tells me—“Don’t give up…You can do it!” Good advice for all of us!