Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 26, 2009

Slow Steps Forward

The hydrangeas I planted a few years ago because they’re one of my daughter’s favorite flowers first turn cream-colored, then rosy, and finally a golden-brown. If the deer don’t eat off their tips, they’ll bloom again next year. This I can count on. Though we notice that “if.” So often it follows “always.”

I’ve been writing and complaining all summer and fall about my pace, the small steps forward, the awkward ones back. I’m still doing that shuffling. But the gaps between good sentences are smaller. The characters are showing rather intriguing faces, and speaking up. Even the arc is starting to look sturdy.

I hope I’m finding a place here between self-frustration and bragging. I’m trying to stay true to how I feel as I creep a little farther forward. Sometimes, like hiking through the woods today with Mary and the dogs, I whine about my pace. But the good news is that I like what’s behind me and the small surprises that keep coming. I’ve got to accept my pace because, well, as with most acceptance issues, I don’t have a choice. And besides, without too many side looks at calendars and clocks, it’s getting me to a place where I’m starting to feel proud.

Thank you for keeping me company along the way!



  1. Glad you’re finding that comfortable spot in the process, Jeannine. I’m struggling with this lately so this has got me thinking about acceptance. Again. 🙂

  2. Comfortable? Did I say comfortable? Well, sometimes, I guess, yes. You’re right, acceptance is a struggle. One word, one look, one imbalance in the morning’s caffeine, can set me either steady or adrift.
    But I do end up back in the chair. Hope you find your spot, too, Tracy!

  3. Oh, this is good to hear! As for clocks and calendars, a pox on them, I say.
    I’m very fond of hydrangeas, too. They have a great deal of personality, don’t they? There’s a periwinkle-blue one dusking down to violet outside my kitchen window. And I love the butterfly petals on yours. So beautiful.

  4. You are welcome. I like you on the journey too. :))

  5. Oh Jeannine, I draw such comfort from your entries. I, too, struggle every day to stay centered, to move forward with acceptance instead of sitting down. It really helps to know you understand–and that you’re willing to walk with me? A blessing for which I’m grateful every day.

  6. I love this post. And I’m proud of you for your progress. Is that odd? I hope not. It’s wonderful to see you start to settle in and feel comfortable with your work and your own self. And it gives me hope for my own work, too. So thank you.

  7. There is a road called Meandering, where stories are thought out and felt in the heart. It’s a much longer road than some, yet there is deep satisfaction in the small discoveries uncovered day by day. It’s a pleasure to walk this road with you, Jeannine.

  8. I’m a meandering person, too…and I totally relate to this post. Keep stopping to smell those flowers along the way….

  9. Thanks, Amy for poxing clocks and calendars. I never knew how many kinds of hydrangeas there were: I tend to like the ones that get kind of wispy and sprawly.

  10. Thanks for stopping by with your blinking violet eyes, Meg. Good luck with your writing!

  11. Melodye, you made me cry. You are the best. I love the journey with you, and one day, there’s going to be champagne instead of tea.

  12. Thank you, Kelly. That means a lot. Hope you are feeling better.

  13. A pleasure to walk that road called Meandering with you, too, Lorraine! Here’s to Chapter 14. May it lead to Chapter 15. Who knows?

  14. Thank you, Crissa. I know how much you see and smell along the way, so that gives me hope.

  15. Hydrangeas are my favorite. I used them in my wedding bouquet!
    The writing process is quite ornery, isn’t it? But you are making wonderful progress. Isn’t it comforting to see how your work is paying off? Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us.

  16. Don’t worry – you can never sound like you are bragging! You are very self-effacing and honest. I enjoy reading your journey…it gives me encouragement when the path is less than straight for me with my writing! Thanks for this post : )
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
    – Frost

  17. That accepting the pace is still one of the hardest things for me, but I’m working on it, too. Somehow watching the winds today blow the little leaves off the trees and seeing them dance downward helped. Glad you’re seeing things move toward a happy spot.

  18. Good choice for wedding bouquet! That may be in my daughter’s distant plans.
    Thanks for your thanks and good wishes. You climb and climb and climb and one day – hey, you can look back and see something!

  19. Thanks, Marjorie. Really, who does have a straight or short path?
    And thanks for the lines from Frost. I love reading about your writing and teaching journeys. So many stories between the lines.

  20. I should see lots of leaves blowing and bouncing today as it rains, so hope they bring comfort instead of: oh, no, it’s almost November!
    I always like to share progress? reports with you.

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