Fall

Fall is in the air.

It has a certain scent. There’s a crispness. It’s not cold, but there’s the hint of cooler temperatures and the snow that will arrive in a few months. The once lush, green leaves begin to turn colors before letting go of the branches and gracefully floating to the ground.

Each season has a smell associated with it. This time of the year it’s anything apple or pumpkin related. And while I love the way these smells fill the stores as well as my house, the seasonal sent I’m really talking about is the one produced by nature.

Last week I went apple picking. I normally don’t eat a lot of apples, but enjoy turning them into all the delicious goodies (like pie) and love the art of apple picking. (And I can’t forget about those apple cider doughnuts.) Plus, I take great delight in being in an apple orchard. While walking up and down the rows of apples that lovely scent caught my attention and filled my lungs as I breathed in. There’s something special about being in the middle of an apple orchard, picking fresh apples, with the smell and colors of all around.

It’s a bit hard to put into words. (Not that I know if I would want to anyway, for fear of taking away the true magic of the season.) But, have you ever walked through the woods this time of year? Simply stepped outside? Have you ever been hit with the smell of the earth, the crispness in the air?

I believe all of that, and more, is the scent of fall.

Be Thankful

For years I struggled with the concept of where I wanted to be in life, or where I thought I should be. For years I thought I was the only one who didn’t have it all figured out. But I’m happy to say that I’ve realized very few of us actually have it all figured out (and I do mean very few).

Here’s the thing. As far as a career is concerned, I’ve always known exactly what I wanted to do with my life. From the time I was child I knew I wanted to be a photographer and a writer. (I mean, for a time, I thought about being a veterinarian since I love animals, but then I learned you have to put animals to sleep sometimes if they’re suffering too much and I said, “Nope.” And then there was all that math and science. Not really for me.) As I grew up, I realized how difficult it was to break into these fields and be recognized. (No offense, but any fool with a camera can snap a picture and please don’t even get me started on some of the poorly written literature that’s been published simply because it will sell.)

I’m not saying I’m above anyone or entitled to things. I’m not. But when you work your butt off and give it your all every single day simply to feel like you’re getting nowhere…well, it can become frustrating. I often found myself wondering, “What about me?” or “When’s it my turn?” And those were days where I thought about giving up.

But those are the days you have to push yourself.

I’m glad I kept going. I’m glad I never threw in the towel.

Looking back, I realize that those struggles were some of the most exciting times. (Not that things aren’t exciting now…because they are!) Those were the struggles that set me on the path to where I am today. (And believe me…there are still plenty of struggles.)

I’m 25. I’ve been photographing since I was about seven. It’s only recently that I’ve broken into concert photography. Officially. You know, with press passes and all that jazz. And it’s only been within the last two years that my photos have appeared online (unless, of course, you count newspapers and magazines too). I’ve been writing since I was in second grade. I’ve been published in newspapers and magazines, but my fiction still hasn’t been seen by anyone except my family and friends.

But the struggle makes you appreciate the success that much more.

So after having a conversation with a friend one night, I started thinking about where I am in life. Without dragging you all through the details, I guess I thought I would be further then where I am right now. I mean, it took so long to get to this point.

But it’s easy to become caught up in the things you don’t have instead of looking at everything you do have and being thankful.

I did.

That realization hit me after reading something a friend wrote.

And it’s true. In this world of competition we’re all trying to be first. We all want the top spot and end up missing out on the journey.

I think it’s more then all of this though. I think it has to do with being thankful for what you have because we are all so fortunate.

Pondering all of this made me think about people in other countries. It made me think about others in general. I’ve seen and talked to people who have a lot less then I do.

They basically have nothing, yet appear happy – always with a smile on their face. It makes me wonder how those who have nothing can be so happy, yet those (like us) who have access to everything can be so miserable.

So here’s what I think it comes down to – being thankful for what we have in our lives instead of worrying about the things we believe are missing.

I’m thankful for my family and friends. I’m thankful for the dog and how she greets me everyday when I come home from work. I’m thankful for opportunities. I’m thankful for each new day. I’m thankful for the people who have touched my life without knowing it. (And that’s just to name a few.)

Yes. I believe it all comes down to being thankful for what we’ve been given. (Although, this might be difficult to do at times.) But worrying about what you don’t have and thinking you deserve more will only lead to missing out on the journey.

It’s Not the Same Without You

“Welcome to another exciting edition of Writer’s Flow!”

Edition? We’re not a TV episode or a series of books, but if we were, I’m certain we’d be a comedy.

I always thought he meant “meeting,” but all of us always laughed.

His enthusiasm was like nothing I’ve ever seen.

He was our fearless leader.

And then he left. Not by choice, but I guess all things have their time and place.

But it was the equivalent to letting the air out of a balloon – everything went flat.

About a year ago I was looking for a place to share my work and grow as a writer. I had been writing since I was in the second grade. It started as a hobby, but then I started becoming serious about it. (Not too serious of course, but serious enough to want to publish my work.) And I wanted to meet new people and make new friends along the way.

That’s when I found Writer’s Flow – a group of welcoming writers.

Each week we post, read and critique each others work. I can see in my own writing how much they’ve helped me (and I hope I’ve helped them in some way too).

I’m proud to call each one of these fine writers my friend. But these relationships have had to grow over time (and they will continue to do so).

On my first day I walked in not knowing a single person. Then this guy comes in talking about his eye and how its all red and puffy.

“Look at it,” he said with more enthusiasm then I anticipated.

I wasn’t sure what to think. Maybe he was crazy? I mean, I’ve heard stories of crazy writers.

Turns out he was the group leader.

Really?

This was our fearless leader? The horror writing ginger? (Which he was known as for at least the first two weeks, since I can be horrible at remembering names. Faces? Yes. Names? Sometimes they come and go until I really know a person.)

It also turns out, in fact, that he was a great leader. Each week he brought an indescribable amount of energy to the group. He always had something positive to say about a person’s story. He always wanted to help people if they needed it and I’m fairly certain that he had one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve met this far in life. The fact he was super literal was simply a perk. I won’t go into the details, but he always made us laugh.

And he’s a fantastic writer. I’m not just saying it because he’s my friend. I mean it. If you don’t believe me feel free to check out his first novel, Talisman, for yourself.

This horror writing ginger appeared to be the backbone of our little writing group. We all seem to be decent leaders, but not one has been able to match his level of…I don’t know. He had a special something that we all fed off.

As much as we wanted him to stay (and he wanted to stay too), he was destined to move away.

I suppose nothing can stay the same forever. It’s inevitable that things are going to change as time moves on. That’s the way of life.

Sometimes I’m afraid we’ll lose touch. But then I think about my best friend who lives in The Netherlands and how we’ve stayed in constant contact for the last seven years. So clearly I can stay in touch with a friend who still lives in the same country. And on the same coast too.

It’s true that nothing’s the same without him, but change is good and we’ll make it over this road bump. (If that’s what you want to call it. I’m actually, for once, at a loss for words.) Change is how we grow. Change is how we learn. I mean, think about how boring life would be if things were always the same. Change might be difficult at first, but, in the end, it’s never as bad as we initially believe.

So listen up Mr. Horror Writing Ginger, “If you need anything from us here at Writer’s Flow please don’t hesitate to ask!”

We’re here for you.