Friday, July 19, 2013

Tapper Unplugged

Let me first confess that I am not a "roughing it" it kind of gal.
I like hot meals and toilet paper and curling irons.
I spray my house four times a year not because I have bugs, but because I never want to see a bug.
But I just got home from the most incredible vacation.
We went to the Middle of Nowhere.
(Out west they call it Altamont, Utah- but trust me, if you address a letter to the Middle of Nowhere, it will get there. At least it would if they had postal service.)
We had no phone reception, no wifi, no television and no problems.
I'm not exaggerating. When I turned off everything, I forgot about everything.
Or even better- I didn't care. I didn't care about what reviewers were saying or what was selling or what I needed to do, clean, wipe up, wipe out, update, overhaul, patch up, look over, tweak or tweet.
The world melted into the hot desert dirt, into the smell of sage bush burning the air, into the flat buttes of the ancient mountains, into the sound of stars falling out of the sky because it was too crowded with lights.
This became our playground:

For three days we just looked. We looked at the sky and the earth and the mountains that stand somewhere in between the two. We looked at each other. I looked at the reflections in my daughters' golden hair, at the way my husband's brown eyes soften when he sees something wonderful. We looked into ponds and streams to find shining rocks and fish.

The Cowgirl spent almost six hours one day pulling crawdads out of a lake and then releasing them. After she gave them a good-natured scare, of course.

We didn't eat at fancy restaurants. We didn't tour grand museums. We didn't feel the pulse and life of a city. But we felt the pulse and life of each other. A family. All beating in one rhythm as if we found the spot where mother nature's heart pounds and we laid down on top of it just to feel it throb. It was an incredible sensation of quiet.
A quiet so exhilarating I felt foolish for not chasing it long ago.
As we neared civilization, we did some hiking with friends, trekking up Mount Timpanogos to explore a cave. Toward the top my phone started working again and my agent texted me. And I texted back that I was on the side of a mountain and would have to chat later. And I sighed because I knew I would have to text back later and good news and bad news would spill back in and there would be work to do and plans to make.

And I wanted to stay right here- right in the moment where there was no failure or success. Just breathing and seeing and being.

I had no idea how much I needed this moment, until I got it. No idea what it meant to rest. To use up your muscles and wear out your feet and exhaust your body and yet, rest, in every way that truly matters.

Back in Salt Lake City I had the honor to do a reading and booksigning at the King's English Bookshop. It was a lovely event and as I look through my pictures I know that if I tried to live the life of a happy hermit, loneliness would set in in two weeks. I need people. I need to grab their hands and hug them and hear them. I love them. But I look at this girl and I see her happiness and her gratitude at the opportunity to share words with others.

But I see something else, too. I see her worry and the pressures on her shoulders and the way she tries to plow ahead without caring what the outcomes is... but you do care. When you try with all your heart to do something well, you care a great deal.

So I am grateful that I had an entire week entirely unplugged.
I am grateful for the experience so I can tell that girl who worries and feels small and overwhelmed, "Remember the quiet."
I'm glad there are places in the middle of nowhere.
I am glad there are wild squirrels who will beg for peanuts.
I am glad that the mountains I climb, I do not climb alone.

I am glad there is quiet.

Monday, July 8, 2013

13 is their lucky number

The Artist and I celebrated our 13th anniversary this week.
Don't worry- I won't mush or gush on you.
He nudged my shoulder and said, "I still kinda like you."
I nudged him back and said, "I still kinda like you, too."
Then we high fived went for a bike ride.
We felt that the beginning of our family deserved a celebration so we got a present for our entire family.
Okay, half our family.
But they are the loud half and they screamed loud enough for all four of us.

I know- it's a monstrosity. But it's a really fun monstrosity. We led them outside and they dove straight in.

So, what was Tapper doing while the girls enjoyed her anniversary?
I was enjoying it, too, from ten feet away- thinking about that boy I still kind of like...
and wondering about all the years ahead of us.
Right now the best future I can imagine is having decades more time to nudge his shoulder, and enjoy quiet views like this

Happy Anniversary to my entire family. The Artist and I might have started it, but we're all in it together now.
Which means we can all do the laundry and dishes together, right?

Or not.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

That's great, Mom, but...

Today started in the most surreal way.
I got an email from a friend in Seattle (what were you doing awake at 5am, anyway? I forgot to ask...) saying, "I saw you on Amazon."
Which meant I wasn't dreaming last night when I got an email from Amazon saying they were going to feature me on their front page.
I slept all night thinking, "Silly Regina, you have such an imagination..."
But this morning, I woke up and those strange dreams happened.
Luckily those were my only strange dreams that happened, because I also dreamed about flashes of light blowing semi trucks off the road right in front of a horse farm, but I digress...
Anyhoo, I opened and saw:

I know. I was befuddled and baffled, too.
My daughter, the Cowgirl, walked in and saw me staring at the screen. She saw my picture up there and I said,

"This is the front page of Amazon. Like, all of Amazon."

She gave a little grin and a funny little noise and then said,

"OOOh, I want a Kindle Fire!"

Which made my husband and I laugh and we both said simultaneously, "There's the blog post!"
I am so grateful there is no unexpected success that can impress them, because there is also no failure that will ever disappoint them. I am forever and ever "Mom."
I will never want a better, more beautiful title than that. And you can put that on the front page of any site!

p.s. They feature two authors at a time, so every other click on Amazon today will show me. If you go and see a tattooed man, I promise I don't lead a double life. Just hit refresh once or twice