Life Lesson

There is a life lesson that has taken me too many years (decades) to figure out. Partly because I've spent the majority of my adult life renting apartments rather than owning a home. Partly because I've spent the majority of my adult life obliviously walking around, skirting responsibility and commitment. Partly because I'm a hammerhead.

Having something beautiful is a luxury, a delight.

Maintaining something beautiful is work.

This applies to many things.

A home. The picture below is the entryway of a mansion in Galveston. It was built in the early 20th century, and it is gorgeous. Hand-carved wood all over. But, it takes a team of employees and volunteers - along with large grants - to keep it up.
The Bishop's Palace - Galveston, Tx
The Bishop's Palace - Galveston, Tx

Or a patio with flowers. Flowers have to be watered regularly, and weeds will grow through the bricks unless we are vigilant.
Cat's Paradise

Jewelry - Silver will tarnish and must be polished.
Pendant - Silver, 18K and Opal by Barry Perez

Talent - musical, artistic or any other talent you may have developed - requires continued practice, or you will lose the skill, the edge, the ease and the beauty with which you perform.
The Talented Jorge & Nicole

Friendships and relationships
Courtesy of Pexels 
Courtesy of Pexels

I was walking home this afternoon from brunch - just before it began to rain. I passed a beautiful house, a house that I would have loved to live in. It occurred to me that the bigger the home, the more there is to maintain because there's that much more to break down. A few years ago I wouldn't have considered that. I have moved in with my partner – the same one who, without my having to call, came to pick me up when it began to rain – and I have begun to learn what it means to truly be responsible for something and its maintenance. The old house we live in has a leak in the roof and it's entirely up to us to fix it. There is no office to call to come take care of it. And, we either mow the lawn or it becomes a forest, regardless of how much I'd prefer to be laying around reading. I could leave when I got angry, or I could finally figure out what it takes to make a relationship work. I have a lifetime of leaving that has become a habit, a way of life. I am having to learn a new way of life.

The lesson hasn't been easy or without tears. But, I have grown so much in the last few years that I almost don't recognize myself. Has it been worth it? As far as I'm concerned, yes. (You'd have to ask my partner for his perspective.) I have a long way to go, but I am so glad I have begun.

Thank you for reading.

I Know a Published Author!

I have met a couple of published authors in my life. However, recently a friend I hadn't seen or heard from in years showed up in a Tweet from Book People, a fabulous local independent bookstore. They were going to be hosting a book signing for him and his debut novel, The Mirror Thief. Martin Seay, friend of mine, had become a published author. That was new. And... WOW.

Martin Seay - Author
From The Elliot Bay Book Company

Of course, I went. I was there early. I brought friends. I listened to the question/answer session shared with Kirk Lynn, another author. Martin looked tired, but what do you expect from somebody in the middle of a fabulous national book signing tour?! There were other people there that I knew, from the same time that I knew Martin. It was like a mini-reunion of people who used to work together. (We worked together in a bookstore, no less.) Afterward, I wanted to hang around and chat with him, but he looked so busy and so tired that I really just wanted to give him a hug. He even had a handler, if I'm not mistaken. (A guide would be a better word, perhaps? An agent? An escort? Somebody from the bookstore or the publishing house to make sure he was where he needed to be when he needed to be there?) (I want a handler.)

Now, I am reading the book. It took a while to get around to it, mostly because it's not small and it's not particularly light reading from the looks of it and I wanted to be sure that I was in the right mindset. Plus, I discovered that it's on Audible, recorded by the wonderful Edoardo Ballerini . Since I have a 30-mile commute to and from work five days a week, I enjoy listening to audiobooks. (This narrator is truly gifted. And the accents he can do! He has an Italian/American inflection when he's not in character, but he IS the character when they are speaking.) Now, I wonder why exactly I waited. I take that back; it's got a lot going on and the prose is incredible. I do have to be able to pay attention. But, I LOVE it. I mean, first it was awesome when a friend of mine had a book published. I had read some of his writing before and I knew he had talent. But, when I know somebody who actually produced THIS?! Incredible.

He described it as literary fiction, with mystery added to give it more popular appeal. I'm still in the beginning, but I know from the blurbs and discussion that there are three distinct parts: 16th century Venice, 1958 California and a close-to-modern-day Las Vegas. It involves a mirror (duh) and a book. I LOVE books that have an obsession with a specific book (as in that particular physical object, not just any version or publication) as part of the story. I love it. Have I ever read another story with that aspect? I have no idea! But, I love it!

The most truly amazing thing, though, was to read the first pages – and then hear them when I restarted the book as an audiobook – and hear Martin. I think that's why it's so amazing for me to know somebody first and then for them to be published. It would seem on the surface that if I recognize the author in the prose then it means I'm not able to suspend disbelief properly, which could almost seem like a criticism of the writing. But, it's not that. It's intriguing. From page one, the story hits the ground running, even if the only character in the scene is unable to convince himself to get off the bed. It moves. It pulled me in. But, at the same time I just kept thinking, "That's so Martin!" This is what it's like to have friends who become fiction writers. I had no idea.