Writers & Writing

Life’s a Beach … but What Kind of Beach?

May 10, 2018

This whole, long process of publication—from the time the Baylor University Press offered me a contract for RECLAIMING JOY almost a year ago—has been a nonstop education for me. Who would think it would take so long to birth a book? Delivery date is September 14, with a book launch at Baylor. That’s a very long pregnancy. Cover design did not take quite so long, …

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Oh, Jane, Where Were You When I Needed You?

April 12, 2018
book cover

A couple of months ago, I met my very successful young author-cousin for lunch. Susan came into the bistro, sat down, propped her chin on her clasped hands and asked, “Do you realize how extraordinary it is to have your first book published when you are 77?” “Yes.” But I didn’t know that in advance. I decided to write the book I needed but could …

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Commemorating Death, Hoping for Resurrection

April 5, 2018
Church at Horseshoe Bay

For the past nine years—ten Easters now—I have observed the anniversary of Lev’s death in the midst of Easter anticipation and celebration. This is a time of year when the church calendar overrides those dates in April when Lev died and was buried…and when I assumed the unwanted role of widow. I can never say never, for last spring I surprised myself by my dread …

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Looking Backward, Looking Forward

December 28, 2017
looking both ways

My Christmas push is over, and I have the gift of three weeks to spend reflecting on this past year and planning the next. New Year’s Resolutions are fairly new for me. For 46 years, life revolved around husband and children, and I felt little need to set life goals and priorities. Importantly, Lev assumed so many responsibilities—business, finance, insurance, cars—and was always willing to …

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Really? I’m an author?

October 13, 2017
Ella at desk

With a contract for RECLAIMING JOY, I can now legitimately call myself an author with a forthcoming book. Those words have very specific meaning in the publishing world, and I have to pinch myself to make sure I haven’t dreamed it. After having an unfinished manuscript hanging over my head for more than three years, I am not quite sure what I do next. I …

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In the Aftermath of Harvey

August 31, 2017
damaged gate post

I am safe. My house is fine. The power is back on. Damage to my yard is minimal. Returning home to Corpus Christi Tuesday evening after five days as a Harvey evacuee in Dallas, I was awestruck as I walked around the house and saw the lack of damage. Other than piles of tree branches piled along the curbs, some downed fences and broken traffic …

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Home Alone on Nantucket

June 22, 2017
Welcome to my happy place

Hard to believe I have been in my new old house on Centre Street for 10 days. This morning I can finally say, “Home alone!” Home. Those first few days—indeed, every day until just this moment—this was a lovely but sterile rent house, not home. I have discovered here that I have an incredible nesting instinct. I could not sit at my desk and write …

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God Is a No-No

April 27, 2017
Writer's Bookshelf

…and 18 Other Lessons Learned in Writing a Book I am a reporter by trade, a writer in the short form. I can churn out 1,000 words in my sleep. How naïve I was when I decided to write a book. I had never written in the long form. I did almost everything wrong, and those 60,000 words took three years to produce. In fact, …

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How Do You Find Purpose in Life?

June 9, 2016
Girl Scout troop

When Lev died, I did not have a clue how to “do” widowhood. Books and advice from others were of little help. I looked at other widows in search of role models. Those who had built purposeful, fulfilling new lives encouraged me. If they could do it, so could I. Eventually, I found books that also inspired me—usually memoirs of grief, which told me that …

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Memoirs Help Normalize Grief

May 5, 2016
On My Own

Grief experts agree that widows get too much advice—too many people telling them how to grieve, how long to grieve, when to make decisions, when to move on. What works for one person may not work for another. There is no single right or wrong way to mourn the loss of a spouse. Nevertheless, most books on grief are how-to books written in second-person. Self-help …

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