Please give a warm welcome to author Mindy Friddle, who is guest posting today for So a Blonde Walks Into a Review as part of a Wow! Women On Writing tour.
There's also a fun "Seedy Characters" giveaway in celebration of Mindy's latest book Secret Keepers, so be sure to read to the end!
Are you a list maker? I am. I write and rewrite lists on stickie notes, deposit slips, notebooks, and--on rare occasions, when I'm feeling organized--I sign up for some new free software that promises to help you prioritize. It's the kind of task master system that sends you emails to remind you what to do everyday.
Such ambition for compulsive organizing and prioritizing is--for me anyway--fleeting. Thank goodness. Now if I could get an email task list every morning that said: drink coffee and listen to the birds, write half the day, garden, take a long walk with the dog, have a drink and a leisurely home-cooked meal with your family, read for hours, repeat next day....well, I'd sign up for that one.
In this frenzied hyper-connected digital world, it's easy to get caught up in the undertow of doing, doing, doing and forget being. I try to remind myself that it's the process that counts, not so much the end result. [Yeah, I know. Insert eye rolling. I can hear you laughing. But notice I said, try to remind myself.]
So many of us are in the habit of just trying to get through something, to get it over with so the real fun begins, wishing away the minutes, hours, days, years. I've noticed too many of the "what's on your mind" statuses of my pals on Facebook say, "Can't wait until Friday." Usually that's on a Monday!
But all this stuff...It never ends, you think. Paying bills, dentist appointments, taking the critter to the vet, the kids to practice, job responsibilities or looking for a job, haircuts, groceries, volunteering, buying birthday presents, and on and on. But dig up an old list in your glove compartment or some dusty drawer, a list you made a year ago, or five or more years ago, and you see all the tedious stuff that's passed, floated on down the river, that debris that seemed so important at the time. "Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans." John Lennon said that.
About a year ago, I decided to try to live more in the "now," and that meant to remember to give my full attention to whatever I am doing now. That's pretty much the opposite of what the busy world demands--multitasking, anyone?-- but I find doing one thing at a time makes me more productive, anyway.
When I write, and when I'm outside, in the garden, it's easy for me to "lose myself"-- in a good way-- and escape the frantic tick-tock of time and deadlines, and access a real sense of peace. The zone-- some call it-- when your focus quiets the mind. Not so easy in a traffic jam or at a family reunion!
But it helps to start small if you don't want to sweat the small stuff. And noticing just how often your mind chatters--planning, fretting, remembering, scheming-- is the first step. "To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else." Emily Dickinson wrote, which always reminds me to pay attention to the smells, sights, and sounds around me right now, no matter where I am.
I was in a crowded parking lot recently. Hot asphalt, grumpy people, jumbled shopping carts, car exhaust. I looked up at the lazy, beautiful clouds and there was a rainbow! No one else around me noticed. It was faint, but you could just see it if you looked up, and you were paying attention.
Bio: Mindy Friddle's first novel, The Garden Angel (St. Martin’s Press/Picador) was selected for Barnes and Noble's Discover Great New Writers program in 2004, and was a National Public Radio (NPR) Morning Edition summer reading pick. Secret Keepers, her second novel, was published by St. Martin's Press in May. She lives, writes, and gardens in Greenville, South Carolina where she directs the Writing Room, a community-based nonprofit program she founded in 2006. She often posts photographs of her garden on her blog Novel Thoughts: Musings on Reading, Writing & the Earth.
Mindy is sponsoring a fun "Seedy Characters" giveaway for readers of So a Blonde Walks Into a Review! In addition to an autographed copy of Secret Keepers, one lucky reader will win packets of seeds hand-selected by Mindy.
In keeping with the theme of Secret Keepers, which features a rescued garden and a range of flowers--both real and imagined, Mindy will send packets of her favorite flower seeds to the winner!
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post letting me know what you loved most about Mindy's guest post. Be sure that there is an email address for you that I can find, or your entry will have to be disqualified. By entering, you automatically agree to all the rules and disclaimers listed here.
You can receive additional entries by doing one or all of the following (one entry for each step):
~Twitter with a link to this post. Then leave a separate comment here with your Twitter link.
~Blog about this contest with a link to this post. Then leave a separate comment here with the link to your post.
~Follow this blog. Simply click on "Follow this blog" found near the top of the sidebar to the right (under "The Blonde"). Then, leave a separate comment letting me know you are following.
~Post the button below on your blog and then leave a separate comment here letting me know it's posted and where. Here's the code for the button:
~Add So a Blonde Walks Into a Review to your Technorati Favorites (just click the button below and follow the simple steps). Then, leave a separate comment here letting me know you've added this blog to your favorites:
Deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Winner will be selected at random using Random.org. Good luck!