May has been a whirl of activity but let’s start with the 30-day challenge I began in April. My goal was to wake up every day, at 5:18 am, for 30 days. I missed a couple of days, primarily because after the second weekend I asked myself, “Why are you getting up this early on the weekend?” I modified the challenge and did not set an alarm on Saturdays and Sundays; however, even without an alarm, after about four days I found myself naturally stirring around 5:15 am.
Rising early set me up for the next goal for May. I had been accepted for the Vermont College of Fine Arts Novel Retreat, which took place May 15-21. This experience was positive and affirming for me as a writer because I was able to accomplish a few goals I established for the retreat:
- Spend hours a day writing, starting a new (and lengthy) project that I want to write,
- Attend craft sessions and readings,
- Be an active participant in a community of other writers and authors who were also writing, reading their work, and leading sessions, and
- Get away to a place free of my typical daily distractions so that I could work.
This was also my first trip to Vermont, and Montpelier is a charming town. I did not get to explore as much as I wanted (next time) but walked down the steep hill from VCFA to Main Street, where I browsed shops, Bear Pond Books, and had the spiciest Thai meal I’ve had in my life at Wilaiwan’s on State Street.
Memorial Day weekend was spent in Cincinnati—to celebrate a graduation and see my family. I went by the cemetery to visit my mother’s gravesite, wanting to continue a tradition she had for Memorial Day. Many decades ago, her mother-in-law (my grandmother) Mary Elizabeth gave my mother, Mary Theresa, a rosebush. That bush traveled from my parents’ first home, to their second, and on Memorial Day, my mother would trim roses to place on my grandmother’s stone, and share a few with other family who are buried nearby. The last few years I had gone to the cemetery with my mother, as recently as last year. She passed away in September of 2017, and I wanted to make sure that she and my grandmother received their roses. This small ritual gave me such joy, and when I arrived there I also saw flowers and other mementos that my brothers had placed on her gravesite.
At VCFA, I thought a lot about my mother because she was always one to encourage me to try new things, especially if it involved travel. I am grateful I had the dedicated time to write and hope I’ll be able to share that work with the world later on. I am also blessed to have had my mother on this earth for so many years, and I feel her spirit delighting in my adventures.
I am ready for summer, excited to see what it brings.