In this part of the world, we hold to the simple rhyme that April showers bring May flowers. And while that hasn’t always been true in the upper Midwest of the United States where I now live (Wisconsin has long, cold winters), it is definitely the case for this year.
And what a gift that is.
There isn’t a spring season where I don’t think of my mother and miss her. She and I had a wonderful tradition of trying some new diet and/or exercise program every year where we were determined to lose some weight and, more importantly, GET FIT.
And while this doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, I can tell you it was. My God, how we would laugh at ourselves. And isn’t that a gift too? To face hard work and struggle (and the occasional humiliation) with a broad smile on our face?
I think so.
So, in her honor, I set myself a new challenge this year. I’m renewing my commitment to walking. And bicycling too! I live in a smallish town that is completely friendly to both activities. (Plus, I have the most fabulous Dutch bike you can imagine and really want to be Jessica Fletcher when I grow up.)
But the biggest spring challenge has been the new series I started writing. It’s called The Orphans of Antwerp and Dead Weight is the first (it’s available!) of what will eventually be five books.
The stories are about a group of classmates that bonded as children when they lost parents to the violence and volatility of the diamond trade. As adults, they reunite as a band of thieves, intent on justice. After all, the diamond companies stole their childhoods. Shouldn’t they take something back?
The books are going to be a fun romp about a group of jewel thieves. And while it’s been a lot of work to get this series off the ground and running, it’s an absolute delight to write. After all, for as long as I can remember, being a jewel thief was my number one, top career pick if I could be anything.
Well, that and being an art forger (but that’s another series).
I have to say, this is one of the best things about being an author. I get to be in characters’ heads that I have nothing in common with. I get to try on new (and outrageous) career paths without ever leaving my desk.
Man, it’s the jackpot of jobs. And I love it.
I hope everyone finds their jackpot. The old adage that life is short is so true. But equally true is its opposite. Life can be very long. Too long to be unhappy and discontent. Too long to hold grudges or bitterness. Too long to live in fear. After all, not to be morbid, but none of us get out of this world alive. Shouldn’t we make it count?
May we all find our joy. And when we do, may we have the good sense to recognize and embrace it.
As for me, in this part of the world, I’m embracing April’s cleansing promise. Spring is a time of renewal. So, I’ll be taking walks and pictures, bicycling my errands, and creating new worlds with fresh characters.
And remembering that just being alive is the most beautiful gift of all.