Writing and Not Writing

Before I moved to Florida, I struggled to find the time to write. Evenings and weekends were the best option, but I worked full-time and had all the usual day-to-day obligations: housework, laundry, shopping, cooking, etc. Aside from my own chores, I had taken on my mom’s as well. My dad passed away last March and because she doesn’t drive, she’s dependent on others for her prescriptions, groceries, and errands.

Trying to write seemed impossible and I often felt that I should be doing more “important” things. That somehow writing was gratuitous and there was no return on the investment of time. I would never make any money or a name for myself, so why  bother? What I failed to realize was the satisfaction I get from the process, and the value there is in that fact alone. Just like when I take an invigorating walk, or eat a good meal, writing satisfies a need within me. The walk gets the endorphins flowing and clears out the cobwebs. A meal satisfies hunger. Writing quenches a desire that has always been there and I feel more “complete” for having done it.

Because of my recent move, my schedule has changed drastically. I’m not working right now and living with my children. Obviously, I’m helping around the house with cooking, cleaning, and yard work. I’m also job searching, but I still have more free time on my hands, which makes finding time to write much easier.

For now, my mornings consist of: coffee, beginning the writing process, more coffee, exercise of some type, and more writing. Interspersed throughout the rest of the day (depending on the day) is grocery shopping, meal prep, and chores. The computer is always waiting for my return, and I come back to it between the other items on my list. The breaks in between writing are the mediocre stuff of life, which can amazingly inspire the creative process, if we learn to keep an open mind. As writers we need to adopt the approach that photographers have, and that’s to always be on the look out for the next great picture. It can be an ordinary subject, but with a new or different perspective can become something extra ordinary.

If I suddenly had an extra block of time added to my day, I would use it for additional reading and writing, two of my favorite hobbies!

An Open Letter to My Old Apartment

Dear Apt. 16,

I wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I arrived in Florida safely. I’m sorry that I couldn’t stay longer on that last day, when I had to turn in the keys. I really hate good-byes and didn’t want to drag out the inevitable.

I hope you know how hard it was for me to leave. We spent eight good years together and I did a lot of growing up during that time. I know it’s funny to hear a 54 year-old person say that, but I really grew a lot in the time we were together. When I came to you I had recently left a very tough life situation. I was emotionally and spiritually crushed and I cried a lot. There was so much healing ahead for me and you offered a refuge and a home that I could finally call my own. Because you are on the second floor, my daughter fondly named you “The Treehouse.” Being at the end of the building, you provided a nice, quiet atmosphere, away from the traffic of the entryway and stairwell. I and my three neighbors enjoyed a little cul de sac of sorts.

When I first came to look at you, I thought I would miss having a window in the kitchen, because I always had one before. I thought it would be difficult to store my belongings, since you had no basement or attic. Sharing the laundry with other people was a new experience that I had to get used to. I was concerned about noise and privacy with neighbors being in the next room, instead of the next house. In the beginning I had these doubts, but I got used to the changes and my new home.

Eight times I carved pumpkins, prepared Thanksgiving dishes to take to my parents house, decorated for Christmas, spring cleaned, and sat out on my little balcony during the summer. I celebrated many milestones with you: birthdays, one high school graduation, four college graduations, one law school graduation, and a wedding. There were some sad times, as well.

I loved coming home after work to the peace and quiet you provided. I enjoyed watching the wildlife and the seasons change through the sliding glass door. I loved mostly everything about living with you. My only real complaint was about the shower situation. If the downstairs neighbor flushed his toilet when I was taking a shower, I would be temporarily scalded. I know you remember, because it happened fairly often and I cussed a lot when it did. I’m sorry about that; I know it wasn’t your fault. I’m also sorry for the hair color that I dripped on the carpet outside the bathroom door. I went almost eight years without causing you any damage! I’m guessing they replaced the carpet after I left, since I got my full deposit back.

I do miss you a lot. I’m enjoying being with my children, but I feel a bit out of sorts, since I don’t have a place of my own yet. It feels like I’m here on vacation and that I’ll be returning to you soon. But, I won’t.

I’ve been wondering who is living with you now. Who is sleeping in my old bedroom. Do they miss having a window over the kitchen sink? Do they sit out on the balcony at night and look at the stars? Have they been scalded in the shower yet? I hope they appreciate and take care of you the way I did. You deserve it.

I wish you many more good years with all the people who will come to you and call you home. I hope that they grow and make happy memories with you like I did. I’ll never forget you and I hope you never forget me.


Luanne (Your Former Tenant)

Let Social Media Inspire You


I never met a quote I didn’t like; I just like some more than others.

So, rather than limit my choices to five, I decided to scroll through the land of Twitter with #quotes as my search term. How can one resist the seemingly endless choices that the Internet offers? While it’s hard to narrow the list to one, I chose this because (a) I’ve never heard it before and (b) it immediately spoke to me. What did it say? It reminded me of two very distinct groups of people who I’ve encountered in my life: the Haves and the Have Nots.

The Haves are those people that enjoy the good life. In this quote they are defined as having everything. Conversely, the Have Nots are described as having nothing. The definition of “everything” has traditionally meant money, status, and power, while “nothing” connotes having very little, or next to nothing.

The quote talks about “your patience when you have nothing,” and this refers to worldly goods. How many of us would be patient if we had no homes or money and were forced to sleep in the streets or eat in a soup kitchen? Who among us would remain humble if we suddenly had everything we desired?

But what if the definitions changed and having everything meant the respect of others, honesty, and generosity? Poor folks can have these qualities, but do we think of them as having everything? What if having nothing meant you possess lots of money and prestige, but that you were dishonest, selfish, and entitled? There are plenty of rich people who fit this description. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, including this one.

I’ve known my share of people from all walks of life and one thing is certain: there is nothing classier than a Have who goes out of his/her way to help the less fortunate, and a Have Not who recognizes that money can’t buy the really important things in life and retains a true “attitude of gratitude.”