Jillian here. I know we don’t usually talk about our writing journeys over here but I wanted to share the most recent things that have been happening to me in my writing life that are helping me find joy again in my daily life.
I went through a bad several months of sadness and feeling listless and low. I’m normally very upbeat and when I’m not, people notice and badger me so while I was putting a false face on each day at work and home, I was sad inside. There was no real reason for it and to this day, I don’t know why I lost my joy but I did. I was never in any danger of harming myself but I didn’t feel like there were any new mountains to climb or exciting things on the horizon.
This was when I started seeing cardinals almost every day and that helped me through that darkness to some extent but I still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Being down is so not my norm.
I decided to get back to work on the young adult series I’d started and that character helped make me laugh again. She’s irreverent and sassy and says whatever she thinks. She’s very much a stream of consciousness kind of gal and writing her helped pull me up a bit. I couldn’t help but laugh at her escapades and trying to be clever in the dangers she faced pulled me out of myself and deeper into my creativity which usually brings me happiness.
Once I’d turned that story in to my fabulous editor (whom you all know and love- Laurie), I started on a Regency era novella. I’ve been approached to write this with a group of others for an anthology and being as it was only 20,000 words and not due until September, I started messing around with a character sketch of the heroine, never dreaming she would be so awesome that I’d immediately fall in love with her moxie and daring. She reinvigorated me and completed the job the YA heroine had started. I wrote that 20,000 words from one Tuesday to the next. AND I now have ideas for two more stories with this character. I’m excited to dive into two more novellas with her as well as the Christmas story and book three of the YA series.
It seems the joy I thought I’d lost is back. I’m feeling energized again and my mind is happy and engaged again. Some of this could also relate to having spent time with my oldest son for five days after an absence of a year (physical absence, not estrangement as we always stayed close in our emotional life).
But it’s amazing how our hobbies can help us pull out of a downward spiral, isn’t it?
I’m a big ole baby when it comes to dental procedures. I come by it naturally since the dentist my parents took me to as a child in Virginia was later convicted of fraud. He’d attended one year of dental school and then faked his diplomas. Ouch. He hurt me over and over since I had to have six teeth pulled because my jaw was too small to hold them all.
So, I DO go to have my teeth cleaned every three months now because I went over seven years once as an adult without a cleaning and that did some damage to my gums- I couldn’t bring myself to sit in that chair and man, I paid a price for that since I had to do a deep tissue cleaning which was painful and they only did one quadrant a week because of that.
Deciding I never wanted to go through that again, I’ve been diligent for the last 20+ years in going in even though it’s like all the circles of hell put together for me. I’ve had one root canal in the last 10 years and found out later – much later- that it wasn’t necessary since the real cause of the issue then was an old filling that had cracked up near the root. The guy kept telling me I couldn’t still be having pain because I’d had the root canal. Um, hello? I think I’ve been in this old body long enough to know when something hurts!
This brings us to today. I’ve been in pain for four weeks now – it’s gotten so bad that I can’t even breathe on that side of my mouth much less eat. I’m breaking down and calling for help but I sure don’t want another root canal that isn’t a solution. I’ll have to insist on a Valium or maybe six before I let them stick that nasty torture device called a rubber dam in my mouth again. Claustrophobia and dental phobia are two things that really don’t work out well together.
How’s your week?
Hobbes here- sneaking around Jillian’s back again. I noticed she’s been posting some pretty dull things over here and decided she needed a little help. We live in Florida but you’d never know it these last few weeks. Now, today, as my paws are hammering out this post, it’s 73 degrees and sunny, sunny. A perfectly perfect day. A couple of weeks ago, it got down to 24 degrees a couple of days with a high only in the 40s. For you Celsius people that 73 Fahrenheit today would be 23 Celsius. BUT the 24 Fahrenheit we had those days would be something like negative 4 Celsius. That is pretty cold, people. Even those of us with permanent fur coats get a mite chilled then. Sometimes we get air that cold here but not normally in November. It usually comes in February.
Luckily, Jillian knows how to make fire. What a handy skill that is even though she doesn’t get to use it often. This is me digging the heck out of the fire she made the other day.
That contraption they call a Christmas tree should be arriving soon. I always appreciate it when they bring the outdoors inside since I love being out there so much. In fact, every day when Jillian comes home from work, she has to let me out on the screened-porch for a minute so I can make sure outside is still there. She finally caught on to that trick, though and leaves the door open. I thought I was being all slick going out and as soon as she closed the door, asking to come back in but I was not a clever puss after all. She’s on to me and my tricks.
Shhh. Did you hear that? No? Well, I did, and here she comes. *closes laptop and meows nonchalantly.*
Yesterday, the 19th of October was thirty years since I took the oath of admission to the Florida Bar. I was twenty-three on that long-ago day and so excited to start on my journey to “Save the World” one client at a time. When I look back at the girl I was back then, I see someone who thought she was smart and savvy until the day she walked into a real courtroom for the first time to try a case and learned that people lie on the witness stand. They actually lie- actively and purposefully. I can remember how stunned I was at that revelation. It was a total blow to the solar-plexus. I quickly figured out I needed to factor that into my arsenal of skills and learn to cross-examine more aggressively and effectively.
I have been privileged to represent people from all over the spectrum of wealth, social status and mental health. Each client has etched something into my heart whether for good or for bad. I carry the scars of all those cases but amazingly, I learned in the early days of my journey that I could not bring that stuff home with me or I’d be in the mental ward myself. Some cases were harder than others not to take home- especially when I did child custody work, but leaving it at the office was important so I did my level best to do so.
One funny story from that first year of practice involved the first criminal case I handled. The accused was an 18 year old girl. She was charged with criminal mischief. In Florida, at first appearances (where the plea of not guilty and request for jury trial is taken by the court), if the case is a misdemeanor, the client does not have to appear. So, I walked in and when my client’s case was called, I came forward to the bench to face the judge. He looked down at me and said, “Little girl, where’s your lawyer?”
I replied, “I AM the little girl’s lawyer.”
He slunk down in his chair and apologized. I thought it was pretty funny myself but the man continued to apologize to me whenever he saw me until the day he retired.
By the way, I won that case- all charges were dismissed against my client when I showed there was no way the witnesses could identify the culprit since it was a dark night and the street lights were out. As well, my client was across town at a bonfire. That victory was sweet and showed me I could really do this job.
Jillian here. Wow. Another month turned over on the calendar last night and here we are entering the fourth quarter of a very speedily passing year. Cripes, before you know it, I’ll be having another birthday! Of course, I don’t mind them since I usually get gift cards to book stores! What could be better than that?
I have zero fall pictures because here in Florida, it hasn’t arrived yet weather-wise although we have actually had some evenings in the 60s and will have the 50s this weekend (that’s Fahrenheit for you guys over the pond)- this will be magnificent and I will wallow in it by going outside and flopping on the still-green grass.
When I was in Paris in August, it was in the 50s at night and I was really digging it. My son and I went on a Seine river cruise and the cool air was divine. As we waited for our boat to arrive, I was amazed at how many different craft were on the river- a lot of them were dining cruises. Here’s some shots of them since Kit wanted to see some more Paris pictures. How cool that I could segue my post with that, huh? LOL!
Posted in Fall, Family, Jillian Chantal
Tagged cool weather, cruises, fall, Family, France, Jillian, Jillian Chantal, October, Paris, river, Seine, ships, son, vacation
Jillian here. Is it just me or is this year speeding by? I can barely believe it’s already the 8th month of the year. Wow.
Exciting things coming up this month. The first was I got my cast off and am healed and for that, I’m grateful. The second is that I’m heading out on the 13th on a mother/son adventure to Paris. I’m excited but a little torn about it since I always, always have some craziness at the office before I take off on a trip like this so I’m wondering what that’s going to be (lol) and I’m also dreading that long overnight flight. I absolutely love being new places and exploring wonderful things but man, I hate the getting there part.
Anyone have any advice on what not to miss in Paris? I know all the major things but maybe some hidden jewel? I’m looking forward to picking up some Napoleon research books as I may be participating in an anthology commemorating the 200th anniversary of Waterloo in June of next year. I’ve been invited and I accepted but I need to write the story by December so we’ll see (no contract signed!) how I do. I think I can knock it out since it’s only 20,000 words (yeah right, ONLY).
And pictures, of course I’m looking forward to playing with my camera and getting some great shots. Son and I usually compete with our photography on trips. We both love it so.
Posted in Family, Inspiration, Jillian Chantal
Tagged airplane travel, compete, Family, France, Jillian, Jillian Chantal, love, Mother, Napoleon, Paris, photos, research, son, trip, Waterloo
My little corner of the world
Jillian here. May and June have not been my friends but now as we move into July, I am hopeful that things are going to get better and I will be on the road to adventure and fun. I fell on June 16 in the parking lot of a restaurant and broke my left foot and my right arm so the second half of June was full of pain and inactivity for me.
It goes to show you, as the poet Robert Burns wrote in his poem, “To a Mouse” and as John Steinbeck stole for the title to his book, “Of Mice and Men”, “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.”
But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
I had these grand plans to get in better shape for a trip to France in August- walking, getting my stamina up, etc and that is all down the tubes now since I have this craziness going on. BUT I am choosing to look on the brighter side and telling myself how much worse it could have been and that I am at least going to be all right. I will recover the full use of my arm and I will walk again with no pain and no cast. AND I hope to do it all before August! LOL!
The fourth of July is in two days and I hope if you are American and celebrate this holiday that you have a wonderful time. For those of you in the Motherland, we fought for our freedom but it sure seems like we still love your country a lot- at least I know I do.
One of my ancestors was at Valley Forge with George Washington so if you ever think I may be a rebel in the making, guess what? I come by it honestly. I also have two ancestors who were Lord Mayor of London so I come by my love of all things British honestly as well. I am lucky to have learned so much about my family history. I love, love that.
Have a great early part of the month and I hope to report good news on my next OTBF day- no more Debbie Downer posts from me, right? LOL
Posted in Health, History, Jillian Chantal
Tagged ancestor, broken, Family, Fourth of July, France, George Washington, Health, Independence day, Jillian, Jillian Chantal, John Steinbeck, Lord Mayor of London, Of mice and men, pain, Robert Burns, Valley Forge