Never Too Late

Let me start this post by pointing out today’s date (July 5) and the date I am supposed to post (July 3).

Thus begins my message.
Since the beginning of summer, I have been having dreams with a theme:
Trying to get back home despite impossible odds.
The setting is always different: we are on vacation, we have moved away and are moving back, we are in an airport, we are in a hotel, we are in a rented flat. But the problem is always the same: too much to do and not enough time to do it – I haven’t started packing, I’ve lost the room key, I have only minutes before our flight and all my kids are still off saying good bye to friends or at the pool or wandering around, not rushing in the least. Even in the dream, I know I will never make it.
But I still try, panicked and discombobulated, not knowing what to do first.
I’ve had enough of these dreams to get me seriously curious. So I googled Dream Interpretations and found a dream dictionary at www.dreammoods.com. They had this to say under the heading of ‘home:’

…To dream that you cannot find your way home, indicates that you have lost faith and belief in yourself. It may also signify a major transition in your life…

And they said this about ‘late:’. …You may feel unready, unworthy, or unsupported in your current circumstances. Additionally, you may be overwhelmed or conflicted with decisions about your future. Time is running out and you no longer have time to accomplish all the things you want. Alternatively, being late in your dream could be telling you that it is better late than never.

Now, in an effort to show my father that all the cash he spent on my college Psych degree wasn’t in vain, I will now attempt to interpret my dream:
Because my four kids and teacher hubby are all home for the summer, and because I usually have the house to myself while they’re all at school, and because I am trying to revise a novel by the end of July and because summertime family life is not conducive to that, I am feeling overwhelmed, doubting (lost faith) that I will get the job done, time is running out. I am trying to get back to that familiar, homey, secure writing schedule to help me accomplish all that I want.
Whaddya think?
Maybe a lot of hogwash, I dunno. But thinking this through has reminded me yet again that this busy, crazy time of our lives will be gone some day and at that point I will have more time and quiet than I will know what to do with. So, as you all as my witnesses, I renew my pledge to embrace these crazy summer days and every single wonderful interruption that comes with them.

Wishing you peace in your own crazy days of summer,

Bev Patt

(photo credit goes to my daughter, who took this silly picture of my son, on the Cliffs of Dover;)


When It Clicks – More Writing lessons from the tennis court

Sports News - May 08, 2010
It has been a long and frustrating winter for me, tennis-wise. Which is probably why I’ve written so many posts related to tennis. Blog therapy. My frustration has centered around the most basic shot – the forehand ground stroke. In an effort to improve, I rented ball machines and had lessons and even hit by myself against a wall, for hours. Most times, it felt like I was getting better. Yet each time I’d go back onto the court, I was back to hitting them all over the place with no control. Humiliating!
Then recently, I was at my son’s soccer game, which happened to be next to a tennis court. During breaks in the game, I’d gaze over at the courts and watch the tennis players, specifically their forehands. I noticed how they looped their rackets around behind them and came through the ball in one even motion – a technique I had never tried. Would that work for me?
Long story short – yes. It did. It worked very, very well.
“What a sucker!” you say? “All those hours of hitting by yourself wasted!”
But I say, “No!” and “Please don’t call me a sucker.”
Because those hours I spent were actually building muscle memory on the other parts of that shot – the footwork, the timing, the follow through, etc. So that when I finally added the ‘loop,’ it tied everything all together and ‘clicked.’
In the same way, writers write a bunch of stuff that isn’t working. But they keep writing. And writing. They may take a class. Or have their piece critiqued. And they write some more.
And then one day, they’re going to look at what they’ve written and suddenly, all those separate pieces are going to click into a meaningful whole. A whole they couldn’t have arrived at any other way.

So, keep writing. It’s the only way you’re going to stay in the game.


Raising the Bar

The students and staff at East Leyden High School have set the bar so high for school visits, I can’t imagine anyone topping them! Here are a few examples of the enthusiasm and warm welcome:

Not only had many students ordered books on their own, they also had quite a few in their library!

I signed just about anything and everything.

They had a display case with pictures and info from my website in their hallway…

And students in the Foods classes made me personalized book and house shaped cookies, representing my novel HAVEN, then wrapped it up in this fabulous gift basket!
Now really, does it get better than this?
I think not.


TEEN BOOK DROP – in action

So I went to an Irish dance feis with my daughter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this weekend.
I figured with this many people, it would be a great place to do a book drop!
And do you know, they actually had a few tables in the lobby designated for reading?
Though they had a sign that said the books and magazines were not supposed to leave the table.
So I had to add a post-it to mine that read, TAKE THIS BOOK!
It had the TBD (Teen Book Drop) label inside.
By the end of the feis, it was gone:)
I wonder – is someone reading it right now?
Hope so!


Ok guys, the last line in this true story made me cry.

Read it and then come back to me!

Did you get a lump in your throat?
What makes this story so beautiful is that the guy did not stand around, waiting to be thanked.
And once they tracked him down, he still wanted to stay out of the limelight.
These are the true heros.
Those who do what is right, for right’s sake. And that is enough for them.

I too once stood on a bridge – actually, the top of a small dam – and watched as someone younger
than I was (15?) struggle in the water. I’m ashamed to say I was afraid. Frozen. I was with my best friend and the struggling girl was her younger sister. I was visiting at their lake house and we were at this dam to ride over it in our jeans shorts – something they had done many times before. Her little sister wanted to go first so she jumped in. But something went wrong and the water was too strong and she was grasping for the side of the dam to help pull herself out of the water and I remember just standing there, looking over the bridge, paralyzed. Then my friend jumped in. Then another girl we were with jumped in too. Finally, I jumped in, but by that time my friend had already saved her.
That incident haunts me to this day.
And then I read a story like this and think,
If this happened to me now, would I react the same way, paralyzed and afraid?
Or would I be the first to jump in?

In my mind, it’s this selfless love for others is what makes people, real or imagined, truly heroic.