Signs of Winter
Monarch Feeding

We keep plenty of milkweed in our yard for the Monarchs to munch on.

Good morning, everyone! Now that we’ve set our clocks back, can winter be far behind? Another sign is the Monarch migration — yesterday we saw five Monarchs flying around our back yard, and I’ve included the proof! Hubby and I were eating lunch when they showed up, and I left my homemade bean burrito half eaten to run outside and grab these pics.

We continue to see signs of another sort. These are signs that our idea to move is a good one. Yesterday at the grocery store, we chatted with a young woman who was selling wine — from Washington State. She grew up here but spent several years there and loved it. Later, we walked to our favorite little coffee and wine bar. Hubby ordered a Montepulciano wine, and he noticed that the importer is located in Seattle. The guy waiting on us grew up in Seattle, and we chatted with him, too. It just felt as though we were surrounded by people affirming our decision.

Signs, of course, are always subject to interpretation. A few days ago I was blindsided with my first bad review ever.  I’m probably breaking some rule of writing and blogging to bring it up, but this is an example of something that could be seen as a “sign” to give up. However, I see something different — which applies to everyone, whatever your unique dream is.

Two Monarchs

We saw five in the yard yesterday, but I couldn't get more than two in the shot at the same time.

After my initial shock and hurt, I gathered my spirits and my fellow writers to discuss what had happened. I realized that though I have produced three books now, this is my first bad review — and that’s pretty fortunate. I also remembered that I like my story, and I’m still proud of it. I think the “sign” was, in part, to learn to ask for help. Part of the job of a novelist is to invite readers in advance to read the book and be willing to write reviews. I’ve been reluctant to do that.

If I am to be successful as a writer, I need to toughen up a little. I found an article about the bad reviews of some well known, classic literature. Apparently I’m in good company!

I could have crawled under a rock, but I decided to try harder to seek out my audience. At some point, when we are pursuing our dreams, we have to believe in what we are doing, whether or not someone else agrees. As the man says:

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
William W. Purkey

There are days when I feel as though no one is watching — or, in this case, reading — but I write because that is what I do. I write because I have stories to tell. I write in the way that the Monarchs migrate, year after year, because winter is coming.

Monarch Watch 3

Nothing cures the blues like a little butterfly watching.



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