This week I thought a lot about balance: in work, in
writing, in life. Probably because it’s February, everything is covered in snow
and my four-year-old great niece asked me to take her to the playground. There’s an awesome seesaw
that was installed last year at one of the neighborhood parks, made out of
strong wood, with rubber tires underneath to prevent that terrible thumping
that can happen when your riding partner unexpectedly disembarks. I thought
about balance because she and I can’t ride that seesaw together. She needs
someone else on her end to balance things out. Usually, she and my daughter would be on one side, while I'm on the other, but this week, it was just the two of us. It
didn’t matter; with a blizzard that dumped a foot of snow days earlier and
temperatures in the low 20s, there would be no playground visit.
Still the picture of the seesaw stayed with me all week. So
many of life’s struggles can be boiled down to finding the right balance: Between eating healthy and eating what we want. Between taking care of your
family, but also making time to stay in touch with friends. Between becoming so
focused on the road to publication that we lose sight of the fact that we would
write for the love of it, no matter what.
The more the image of that seesaw lingered, the more I thought
about what happens once we climb on. Once we achieve that initial balance. Then
it’s all about the ups and downs. Not only our own, but also our partner’s.
Just as satisfying as being the one in the air is watching the smiling face
across from you as they reach those heights. That’s what makes it interesting.
That’s what makes it fun. That’s what makes going to the playground worth it
(when the temperature is above freezing and you are properly attired.)
It’s the joy of receiving a heart-shaped box full of chocolates
and then the devastation of staring back at the empty box a week later and realizing
you should be doing Zumba, or Pilates, or at least getting up from your desk to
do a few deep-knee bends between reading emails.
It’s the high we get when we finish a manuscript, get the
full request, have that agent call, countered by the disappointment of hanging
up the phone with revision suggestions instead of an offer of representation.
When I look back at this blog, it’s been about the highs and
lows. Those are the realities of life far more often than balance. I’d like
this to be a place where we can both celebrate and commiserate those realities
together. My heart was touched by all of you who came and commented on my last
post. It reminded me of how wonderfully supportive the writing community is, and I’m so grateful for each one of you.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share with you a
high point in my reading life. My daughter introduced me to the novels of Kasie
West and I am completely hooked. She writes feel-good contemporary romances
with great characterization and a lot of heart. Her latest, By Your Side, released last week and will soon be
moving from my daughter's nightstand to my own. But really I recommend any of
Do you have a high or low from this week to share?