writing

How Do I Make 2019 Better?

January 3, 2019
The clock strikes 12

That’s the question I will try to answer in four speeches this month—Resolved: To Reclaim Joy in 2019. I know the answer—that’s what my memoir is all about—and 2018 was hardly joyless. However, I let the publication and media attention surrounding Reclaiming Joy to take over my life. I want 2019 to be better. I first wrote formal New Year’s Resolutions at the end of …

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A Letter to My Fellow Widows

September 11, 2018
letter to widows

After the publication of my memoir, Reclaiming Joy, started generating attention on social media, I began to hear from people who found their way to this website. They shared their loss—or their friend’s or mother’s loss—and asked, “Will your book help?” I can’t make any promises, but perhaps the letter I wrote back in 2014 when I first began to plan a book—now the introduction to …

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Writing in the Long Form

August 23, 2018
writers bookshelf

Three weeks from today, I will be sitting at a table in the Waco Convention Center autographing copies of my memoir, Reclaiming Joy: A Primer for Widows, for the very first time; and I will have my book to add to my bookshelf. How naive I was when I started! Earlier this week I scrolled through my old blogs just to be sure I don’t repeat myself …

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Have Books, Will Travel

July 31, 2018

Reclaiming Joy goes on sale in 45 days! After so many years of writing, I find it hard to believe that it’s actually happening. With big events scheduled in Waco and Corpus Christi and media attention beginning to trickle in (one media interview this week and two more in a couple of weeks), several friends have asked when and if I would be available to …

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I’ve Come Full Circle on Nantucket

June 14, 2018
Sunday-Nantucket waterfront

My life has come full circle in the past five years, and it’s appropriate that I end this period of life where I began it—on Nantucket. My first visit as a widow was in August 2013—four days at the end of a small-ship cruise along the coast of Maine. I originally planned to spend a week, but I was afraid to be completely alone for …

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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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Hope for the Holidays

October 20, 2017
Christmas decor

…or would today’s blog be more appropriately titled, “Help! It’s the Holidays”? When Holiday promotions start showing up in the stores, when the days grow shorter, when daylight savings time ends, I am again reminded that I am approaching the time of year when I struggle to find joy. If you have experienced loss in the past year, if the Holidays this year will be …

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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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Resolved: To Schedule Priorities

February 2, 2017
Scheduling priorities

A friend who traveled this road many years before I did said, “I am a better person because I lost my husband. I am kinder, nicer, sweeter. I have my priorities in order. I know what matters.” I had to agree. “Yes, you are. And so am I.” As she had, I re-ordered my priorities after Lev’s death. I asked myself the question: How do …

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“I’ve got rhythm…”

September 8, 2016
jitterbug

Ha! Don’t I Wish? Rhythm was never my gift, and seven years in my school band did not change that. As a bassoonist, my role in ensembles was to maintain the rhythm—the beat—of the music, but I never mastered it. My classmates could pick up a pair of drumsticks and know what to do with them. Not I. Unsurprisingly, I was not a good dancer, …

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