Coffee in My Garden – Perseverance and Answered Prayers

The Princess during yesterday's outing

The Princess during yesterday’s outing

Last week was very traumatic for me – my laptop died shortly after I revamped my career plan to include more writing and less corporate work.

Step one of this plan was completing a screenplay I was working on last fall when all hell broke loose (and kept me from completing it in time to enter it in a screenplay contest). This particular project started out years ago as a scene for an acting class. At the end of the class, it was part of an acting showcase. Afterwards a lot of people asked me “What was that from? I want to produce/direct/star in it!” So I started working on it first as a play, which became a novel, then realized it would make a really good movie so that’s what it’s been since last fall (though I still love the novel version as well – two takes on one theme).

After several years of going from one acting project to another (after several years spent as a working musician and writer with no time for acting), I decided to write again before I forgot how and spent a day rounding up and organizing all of my novels/screenplays/poetry. I still need to locate most of my published newspaper columns. I found and lost my published magazine article (it’s around here somewhere). My published short story was part of an art exhibit a few years back and is still at my friend’s house. Need to get that one back, too. There’s a short story contest it’s a good fit for (near as I can remember) and that deadline is looming as well.

I love this screenplay. I loved it in novel form, too (as far as I got with it). It’s the best thing I’ve ever written. I made the semi-finals of this contest a few years ago with my first screenplay. This one is better. So I decided to dust it off, finish it (I may finish it as a novel too – what the heck), send it (them) out, and hope for the best. I was making great progress and was even a tad ahead of schedule (late September deadline) right up until my laptop died.

“What is it about this script?” I whined to all of my screenwriter friends and our priest after Mass one day. “Every time I work on it, all hell breaks loose!”

From all across the globe over a period of days came the same answer phrased different ways but all containing a common thread – “It must be good. Satan doesn’t want you to finish it.”

I wasn’t surprised to hear that from my priest. I was very surprised to hear it from everyone else.

Fortunately my laptop was still under warranty (thank you, hubby!), the company promptly shipped us a box to ship the carcass back to them and promised they would return it in six business days. Me being me, while grateful my six-month-old laptop was going to be repaired and shipped to and fro with no cost to me, still whined in my journal about losing what I had planned to be a writing marathon weekend – four heavenly, blessed, wide open days as I’m normally off on Fridays and Monday is also a holiday – Labor Day in the U.S. Wahoo!

Maybe I was fooling myself. Maybe I’m destined to be a secretary forever. Hollywood doesn’t care about anyone over twenty-five, especially a screenwriter in Winter Park, Florida.

Maybe so.

But I couldn’t let it go. So I came up with an alternate plan – work on the house, at least do my beat sheets for all my works in progress (I tend to do my projects as books and screenplays), catch up on reading (when I’m reading I tend to do less writing, when I write I tend to read less – trying to work out a balance – darn that only twenty-four-hours-in-a-day thing!), and at least stick my toe and maybe even a foot back into the writing world I used to be a part of.

If I couldn’t write on my laptop, fine. Index cards, pen and paper, legal pads would do.

Am I going to let other people dictate what my possibilities are?

Not for long.

I love to act. I love to sing, play the piano, flute, and violin. I love to write. God made me that way. He hardwired those gifts, talents, and desires into me. I will do these things regardless. I might as well do them well, send them out, and see what happens. For all I know there’s a director, a producer, an actor out there wishing, hoping, praying that someone will write a good story, something different than what is out there now. Perhaps I’m a part of their prayer as they are a part of mine. Perhaps all God needs is for me to write it and He’ll take it from there. If He can send the swallows to Capistrano, the salmon to their spawning ground year after year, surely He can guide my work where it needs to be.

Hubby called yesterday morning. Daughter and I were getting together and since that usually involves an outing of some sort, he called me early.

“Your laptop is out for delivery. It should be there by 10:30.”

So daughter and I had coffee in my garden, enjoyed the birds, squirrels, and butterflies, and waited for the UPS man – who, God bless him – arrived half an hour ahead of schedule. He pulled up in front of the house and we clapped and cheered. He looked surprised, but pleased, wished us a good day and went on his way with a smile.

The writing marathon is on – balanced with reading, working on the house, and spending time with those I love. Maybe I’ll even get to my music and art before the real world closes in again.

My job isn’t to worry about what other people say, to be a slave to my doubts and fears. My job is to do the best I can with what I’ve been given and not be a slacker.

Impossible dream? Maybe.

Maybe not.

But when the time comes that God asks me “What did you do with what I gave you?” I want my honest answer to be “I did the best I could.”

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