Endings and Beginnings



It's a time for a lot of things to end. Summer, for one thing. It's getting cool here in Northern Vermont, and there are splashes of color all around. There wasn't much of a summer at all -- nothing but rain -- but the clear cool days of fall remind us all why we live here.

It was also the end for a dear friend of mine, Lewis Hill, a writer and a mentor. He was one of the loveliest people I've ever known -- he wrote gardening books and memoirs and still lived on the homestead his family had built in 1840. He'd lived a long life, but in the end the darkness was too much, and he took his own life. I'll miss him terribly. But his wife Nancy has always been his equal as a good friend, a talented editor and a wonderful person, and we're so blessed we still have her.

It's the end for my daughter's sojourn in Philadelphia, where she's lived for the past couple of years with her best friends. Richie's gone down to pack her up and bring her home for a month, and I know she'll be sad and weepy. But next month she gets to start a new part of her life, moving to San Francisco to finish college and learn how to create video games.

It's coming to the end of my book. I've been working like a madwoman to make my deadline -- 20 and more pages a day. But when I'm done, I get to begin the first of three rich, yummy, dark, sexy historicals, and I can't wait. My favorite way to write is to alternate historicals with contemporaries -- the grand adventure of the historicals lighten some of the darkness that lingers in my soul from the contemporaries. I'm really pumped.

It's the end of the Olympics, which kept me mesmerized for two weeks. I never thought I'd love the Summer Olympics -- I'm much more interested in winter sports -- but I ended up loving all of it. (Well, maybe not the water polo -- it was hard to tell what was going on). And best of all was the closing ceremony with Jackie Chan and the incomparably hot Andy Lau singing on the tower. As for what comes next? The Winter Olympics in two years!

My mother's coming down the home stretch, but I'm not ready to see her ending. Today is her 94th birthday, and she may be the happiest I've ever seen her. She has an apartment with a view of the mountains as the leaves change, all her favorite things around her, she's working on her young adult book, and more like a woman in her sixties. At 94 it simply makes sense that she's not got forever, but knowing my indomitable mother, she may very well outlast us all, faculties intact.

Life seems to be a series of endings and beginnings. You can mourn the losses, great and small, but welcome the new possibilities. It takes a long time to learn how to do that, but I think I'm starting to get there. I've never read Judith Viorst's book, Necessary Losses (it's on my TBR pile) but the title itself says it all. There are losses that you have to accept to move on with life.

My, I'm being philosophical this morning. Time to lighten up.

What I'm listening to on the iPod -- Kelly Howell's High Focus and Increase Creativity. I've used High Focus for years whenever I'm on a writing blitz, alternating it with my soundtrack. I swear it makes me more productive. In between it's my triad of tough love songs -- Tougher than the Rest by Springsteen, Fearless Heart by Steve Earle, and I Don't Scare Easy by Mudcrutch. They pretty much sum up my love stories.

Your trivia question for the day: Andy Lau starred in the Hong Kong action thriller, Infernal Affairs, a brilliant movie that was remade into a major Oscar winner. What was the name of the remake, and, for extra credit, who played the Andy Lau character?

And that's all, my darlings. I wanted to upload lovely pictures (particularly of Andy Lau) but the internet is being slothful. Have a splendid week and enjoy your Labor Day weekend, resting from your labors, and know that I'll still be chained to this laptop, writing like crazy.