Monday, December 12, 2011

WEEK NINE! Checking in.

A NJ beach house, long gone, called FLYING FISH... the setting for my novel.

I told you I was writing a novel. DONE!

This is such a crazy idea, writing an entire novel in one month, but thousands of people do it every year. The website is

When I finished my 50,000 words, on November 30th, and went to the site to confirm my completion, I discovered that the NaNoWriMo people do not trust your word: you have to paste the 50,000 words into a window, after which they verify that you are indeed a WINNER!

I decided to do this for several reasons. I can't travel much during the sabbatical, but I thought writing a piece of fiction would take me away and provide some virtual travel, through time and space.

I wanted to learn more about what it's like to write everyday, to have some discipline about writing, and to understand the creative process by virtue of my own experience. It was challenging, fun, and very rewarding. I actually love the results, and plan to go on and edit them, and send the novel.. somewhere.

NOW... my December plans:

These are going to be MUCH more difficult than writing a novel.

Have you seen the Discovery Channel show about Kentucky's Turtle Man? We actually met him! He's from Lebanon, which is near our Washington County farm.

Seth with Turtle Man....

I have been called "Turtle Mom" because I spend so much time alone, and I've been challenged to come out of my shell. So... I've been making some plans for social interaction. That probably sounds easy to most folks, but for me.. not so much. I actually prefer to be alone! But I have put out some calls and e-mails, and I'm setting up some get-togethers. I really enjoy people, love listening to their stories, and exchanging ideas. But I just have a hard time getting out there, like many of my fellow introverts. I'll let you know how this is going.

Meanwhile, I have been staying in touch with some far away friends, like our Partner Church members in Nyomat. Here's one of our scholarship recipients, a reminder that we'll need to fund that scholarship again soon!

Cseh Edit, daughter of our Partner Church lay President, in her traditional dance costume

Finally, I have returned to a  formal meditation practice! I completed a weekend Contemplative retreat at a Buddhist/Christian meditation center not far from here, and I have plans to become more involved. This was a major goal of my sabbatical because, since my knee replacement, I have been unable to sustain the kind of sitting needed for a strong practice. Let me report that my new knees held up just fine, and I was so delighted to be "home" in my beloved Buddhist practice.

The other joy of my sabbatical has been reading! I'll share some of the books I've finished in a future post. Meanwhile.. here's Seth. He's growing and thriving, and I'm off to pick him up now! Love You All!