How I Found Joy in Negativity

 

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In the midst of some recent turmoil, there was one blessed day of balance.

The Autumnal Equinox.

I thought there was no way I would be able to share in the wonder of this day.

During an equinox, when the sun passes directly over the equator, day and night are of equal length—we have the same amount of light and dark. It is a time of balance.

That elusive balance.

I don’t actively seek it because, as I’ve said before, I believe it’s unattainable—a recipe for frustration and resentment. But I do look for it in small quantities, for certain situations.

And every autumn, I have welcomed balance when it arrives on my doorstep, asking politely, with the light of the harvest moon, to be let inside.

September 22nd was smack in the middle of a mess, and I knew that day would go just as badly as the rest of the week had gone. I knew. No matter what I planned or how hard I tried, it was going to be bad. Horrible.

I also knew I was being extremely negative but I couldn’t muster any optimism.

At the time, my attitude seemed reasonable and the terrible outcome more than a little likely.

But the world keeps spinning, seasons change, time moves on. No matter what’s happening in your life, there is always something larger than you.

Taking a simple walk or standing under a tree often gives me this much-needed shift in my thinking.

The equinox provides me perspective. The Earth turns, continuing its cycle whether I’m prepared for it or not.

I tend to get highly disappointed when my grand plans go awry but am delightfully surprised when I anticipate trouble and don’t find it. Negativity in general? Not something I’d recommend. But, once in a while, it’s helpful.

There are two things I need to keep in mind.

The first is that forcing a good day rarely, if ever, works. Often, it backfires. The second is that acknowledging my day will not be as wonderful as I want it to be allows me to let go of all expectations.

And that, gentle readers, is how I stumbled over the roots of a genuinely good day, finding balance and joy in the midst of chaos.

 

Happy Autumn!

Yes, you’re now officially allowed to break out the pumpkin spiced beer, muffins, coffee, scones, etc. (And, as always, Happy Spring to my friends in the southern hemisphere.)

 

Can you force yourself to have a good day with positive thinking? Do your positive thoughts keep you going even if things aren’t perfect? Or do you find that your expectations are impossible to meet? If you expect the worst, are you pleasantly surprised or do you dwell in that negativity?

 

* Apologies for all the post questions. I’m having a yin/yang, light/dark, positivity/negativity bit of a time here and wondering how others deal.

 

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Where Do You Write?

 

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I may get an opportunity to have a few hours to myself each week.

Time to myself, people! Every. Week.

I’m ecstatic.

Because I’m going to use this time to write.

Here’s the catch. (You knew there was a catch, right?)

If I do the whole “drop-off, drive home, drive back, pick-up” thing, I’ll lose an hour.

So, I need to stay put. I need to be out of my house while I’m writing. I’ve never done this. Correction. I’ve never successfully done this.

I’ve tried coffee shops, tea shops, shoe shops, sweet shops. (No, really, not a sweet shop. In those, I just annoy my kids with how I used to buy Raisinets and Nerds in regular sized packages not the sugar-rush, vomit-inducing size they sell now.)

I don’t understand how people can write in coffee shops or whatnot. I can barely write my name never mind a scene or chapter in those places.

I’m so distracted by the noise and commotion, I can’t concentrate long enough to read the sugar packet I just dumped in my coffee.

I could use some advice. Or an alternative. I’m open to anything. Mostly. Let’s not get crazy.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

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Can you write outside your house? Where do you go? How do you concentrate? Do you have any other ideas? I’m willing to sit in my car if need be.

 

 

Don’t Tell Me Not to Sweat the Small Stuff

 

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“Don’t sweat the small stuff”?

Dude, I’m damp. I am sweating all the small stuff. It’s what I do.

Please don’t tell me how small the stuff is (I know this) and how, when it comes down to it, it’s all small stuff (it can’t all be small), and not to sweat any of it (now I need a towel) because all you are doing is stressing me the hell right out.

There is strain, tension, external pressure in our lives. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have it.

We all react differently, of course, but it seems that those who tend to feel uncomfortable about this are vilified by those who do not.

When people stress, we are often told to “relax” or “take it easy”. Yet, when someone does not stress, we don’t tell them to “get upset” or “freak out”.

How is this fair?

When people announce how laid-back they are, it’s annoying. I mean, I can either see that you are or I can see that you’re trying to convince me (or yourself) that you are. Either way, it’s unnecessary information.

If you don’t mind, skip the pleasantries and just get the salt shaker and start pouring it into the wound. It is patronizing to tell someone who is distressed to “calm down”.

It’s so incredibly wonderful that people can be calm, cool, and collected in the face of a stressful situation. It’s good for their health and lovely for those around them.

I recognize that this works for a lot of people. What I’d absolutely love is for them to realize not everyone has the ability to do that.

And, as far as I know, people don’t enjoy being stressed.

Next time you see someone in distress, instead of telling them to “lighten up”, try asking them “what’s up?”

 

How many times has, “Just calm down” worked for you or, rather, for the person you’re saying it to? Do they calm down? If so, is it immediate? Be honest here…has it ever worked?

 

Cover Reveal (with a Little Help from My Friends)

 

I have a few books simmering on the burners. But my short story/flash collection is the one I’m closest to torturing the world with. And it needs a cover, as these things go.

Anyway, there are many choices and it’s overwhelming. I’ve narrowed it down. A lot.

I write kind of “dark” fiction but it’s not horror. It’s not thriller. It’s not really any genre. It’s just sort of…dark. Sad? No idea. But I don’t want to mislead readers with a cover that screams, “Horror!”

That was fun.

I want something that represents the darkness while also retaining some softness. If you’ve read my flash, you know what I mean. Without further ado…

Would you, could you, pretty please (with a cherry on top) take a look at these and vote for your favorite?

The font type, color, size, and placement can be changed. Any suggestions/ideas in the comments would be much appreciated. 

Thank you, gentle readers. I am so very grateful.

 

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Cover 1

 

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Cover 2

 

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Cover 3

 

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Cover 4

 

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Cover 5

 

Cover 6

Cover 6

 

Cover 7

Cover 7

 

The lovely Rachael Ritchey, author of Chronicles of the Twelve Realms and founder of BlogBattle, designed these for me. I asked her for some advice after reading her post about cover design in her Indie Publishing series and, before I knew it, I had 500 designs in my inbox. I jest. There were only 400. She enjoys designing covers. And is really good at it. And is most generous with her time and talent. 

 

 

All images copyright Sarah Brentyn