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Question of the Month: Renewal

by Susan Henderson on January 7, 2013

Have you been able to use your winter vacation to rest ? If so, tell me what you did to recharge your battery. And if you find holidays more stressful than relaxing, tell me how you plan to recover so you can go strong into the new year.

Mr. H, the boys and I spent a week with family in Dolores, Colorado, a town of 800 people and one paved road. It was great to be together with no distractions, no lessons or activities competing for their time. There were games (Magic Cards, Ankh-Morpork, Fluxx, Munchkin), long walks in the snow, a day skiing at Telluride, and homecooked meals (everything from posole to spinach saag and dahl, to roast beef and Yorkshire pudding).

It felt great to recharge! I’m looking forward to carrying a renewed sense of energy into the new year. I plan on eating healthier foods (but without obsessing over calories or portions) and continuing my daily exercising (but making it more cardio-focused). Basically tweaking things that are already habits to make sure my time is better spent and I’m enjoying each day. And I’m going to finish the new book in 2013. I promise I’ll talk about it in more detail soon, but I can say I’m fully engaged in the writing and editing, and I’m having so much fun this time around!

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Some thank you’s: My Novel Thoughts, Bethany Duvall, Jessica Vealitzek, Writer’s Digest, Cure for Crankinessmed bok og palett, BookMovementFingers and Prose.

Oh, I published an essay about book clubs at both BookReporter and ReadingGroupGuides.com. Enjoy! And then come back here and hang out a little while!

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Billy Bones January 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Mr. Lincoln uses the time off between Christmas and New Years to pretend he is a full-time writer—minus all the readings, signings, and book club appearances.

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Susan Henderson January 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I misread “signings” as “singings” and got silly excited about what you might be doing in your free time!

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Billy Bones January 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Pretty sure that subjecting people to my singings would be cruel and unusual punishment.

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Susan Henderson January 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Oh, no no no. I think next time you should have a book singing. I really do! It would be cruel and unusual punishment to not do that after knowing how happy it’s made me!

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Nathalie (@spacedlaw) January 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Billy Bones – The musical.
Totally has a ring to it. :)

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Susan Henderson January 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Totally!

Billy Bones January 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

: )

Nathalie (@spacedlaw) January 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm

I received an anonymous gift of a blank notebook for my birthday, so have used it as an excuse to write every day (2 pages per day – nothing over the top). The trick seems to be working to spur me on. I also walked and slept a lot during the holidays, so body and mind are feeling better.

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Susan Henderson January 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Love that it’s a mystery gift. And two pages sounds just right. What makes you open your book and begin to write? Do you wait for an idea, or do you start with a question? I’m always curious how writers approach a blank page.

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Nathalie (@spacedlaw) January 8, 2013 at 6:16 am

I had ideas (premises) I wanted to work upon and using daily prompts at the MuseTeasers Livejournal writing community to work out what is happening next (actually, I think I might be a feuilleton writer in denial).
The story that I am writing now has already surprised me twice this way. It might end up as expected but nothing is certain anymore. Also, I had expected it to be a short story but it had ambitions of its own…

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Susan Henderson January 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Oh, wow, that’s brilliant… http://museteasers.livejournal.com

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Elizabeth Crane January 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Oh, your vacation pix look so nice! I enjoyed mine as well, but I am super happy not to have to get on an airplane until April again. I need renewal! But I have a couple of unscheduled months (aside from teaching work, which I do at home), so I am planning to write and read and read and write.

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Susan Henderson January 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Isn’t it great when you see your calendar free of travel? I find reading the number one way to restart my writing. Are you doing short stories, a novel, or something looser and less defined?

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billie hinton January 7, 2013 at 3:07 pm

We brought two kittens into the family after having lost two of our beloved kit-meows in 2012 (one was 7 and her death was sudden and unexpected, the other was 19 and we knew he was declining the last few months before he passed) and the pure joy they exude has just boosted all of us. We also have a really senior mare and a senior Corgi, so life had gotten focused on the special caretaking that comes when they’re at this point in their life stage. It’s been incredibly rejuvenating to go back to the other end of the life stage again with these two – Pixie and Pippin!

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Susan Henderson January 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Love the names! There is nothing that brings our family more day to day joy than our pets, and nothing that hurts more than seeing them come to the end. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have two cats in my office right now. One on the printer and the other on my desk.

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Paul Cunningham January 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I love the Colorado pics, Sue….

Fortunately or unfortunately, this is how my the holidays went: my mom died on the 21st, had a dog that had to be put down shortly thereafter, and my hip entered the territory where I can no longer avoid the surgery I’ve been putting off due to lack of finances. So…, I’m going to say that I wasn’t even that conscious of it being that holiday time of year.

On the other side of all that, since I can’t actually walk that well these days :) , I’ve now got plenty of time to do rewrites on two of my scripts. Looking forward to it, actually. And I’m having surgery on March 15 if I can swing it.

Strangely, I feel a desire to write a blog or twitter feed called “The Hellish Ballad of Namaste Fekpiece”…but I’m guessing reason and restraint will overtake me and I’ll hold off. Don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. Happy New Year, Sue!…:)

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Susan Henderson January 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Oh, Paul, I’m so sorry. What a lot for your heart and your body to go through at one time. I think you’re going to find that all the emotions you’re processing will find their way into your rewrites, even if the subject matter is completely different. It will just add a depth to it. Keep us posted on your surgery.

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cathrine January 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

:-) your holidays sound lovely :-)
a soul break

we dove into one this christmas as well
keeping the days between christmas and new years fully booked with nothing :-)
nothing being everything
just the 4 of us and books and board games and laughter and talk and walks and good food
reality was a bit “rough” once it started again and so we reminded our bodies to relax by doing the same “nothing” this past weekend at the cabin

so looking forward to your new book :-)
love
cathrine

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Susan Henderson January 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm

A soul break… that’s a good term for it. Amazing, when you remove all the have-to’s from your schedule and slow down, how there is so much room to enjoy what has been there all along. I’m so glad you had a good break and some time at the cabin!

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cathrine January 8, 2013 at 9:15 pm

:-) & <3

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Kate Gray January 7, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I can sympathize with Paul. My grandfather died on the 26th, and though we all knew it was coming, it still seemed to catch us by surprise. I was grateful to have said goodbyes…I hope someday my kids are grateful that I brought them to do that. My theory now, after that, along with the creeping lung-crud, is that ending the year on a glum note MUST portend good things for the next year.

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Susan Henderson January 7, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I’d love to hear more about the goodbyes if you’d like to share. I do think it helps so much to have closure, but most of us get too scared of the uncomfortable and the unknown to do it.

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Nancy M Clarke January 7, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Susan: Colorado looks lovely, peaceful and white. A great respite. We arrived in Boston on the 23rd from Martha’s Vineyard via boat full of so many friends and folks traveling for the holidays. We saw our daughter Katie in her final performance as “Nana” in the “Velveteen Rabbit” at Boston Children’s Theatre where she has been interning all semester. She is a senior at Endicott College and was thrilled when offered the part of Nana. The theatre was festive and decorated for a celestial Christmas! All her second cousins came to see her performance (the little ones).

We flew from Boston to Orlando immediately after the show and drove to Daytona Beach (after our arrival in Orlando ) to our condo at the Spruce Creek Fly-In.

We prepared Christmas in one day on the 24th. Very few presents, her Dad made steaks, potatoes and lovely veggies and salad while Katie and I decorated the tree and wrapped all the gifts with great progress.

Christmas was magical as usual. We attended a beautiful Mass full of the messages of hope, kindness to others and the noble birth of Christ. Another amazing meal and then off to Miami on the 26th for four days of sun and satisfaction. John and I relaxing on the beach, Katie and I swimming in the frosty waves (a bit chilly) and a whole day spent with just her Dad sightseeing while I, free from activity, slumbered on the sand.

A great New Year’s Eve attending a function at which our neighbor was performing. We all danced and laughed and greeted the New Year with gratitude for the old and hope for the new.

We are enjoying a few more days in Daytona. Katie has returned to Endicott College to finish up her internship and then begin her last semester of college. Time has flown.

All in all… quiet and tranquil…..with countless blessing for which we all thanked God.

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Susan Henderson January 8, 2013 at 1:24 am

Funny, I was just talking about the Velveteen Rabbit earlier today. What a thrill to see your daughter in that performance, and what a cool place to intern!

Very few presents, family time, and a place called Spruce Creek Fly-In sounds like heaven on earth! So happy to hear about your Christmas.

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