Oh, the Places I Write!

Our Kaysersberg flat

I’ve been taking every spare moment of late to finish my second novel (and begin the sequel to THE STONE MANOR), so my blog has sat dormant. With Book One of my YA Fantasy ready for an agent, I thought it might be interesting to backtrack a few of the many enchanting places I sat creating this fairy tale. It began in our cozy flat in the Alsatian village of Kayserberg, the setting for the novel. The village, not the flat. That’s our building. The ground floor is the restaurant, the next three floors are apartments. Ours is on the top floor, sitting up under the eaves. It was the old family flat, so lots of room, full kitchen, lovely antique furnishings, fantastic views.

Jean Jacques restaurant

This is the enchanting restaurant on the ground floor of our building, Le Capucin. It was home to my writing fits on numerous occasions. I ate more tarte flambée than should be allowed, but then I was in Alsace. If you are ever in Kaysersberg, which everyone should be at least once in their life, stop in and eat. Tell Jean Jacques and Gabrielle, I sent you. They are enchanting! More about them later.

Me writing in front of Kaysersberg apartment

When not writing inside the restaurant, I might be found outside in their sidewalk cafe area.

Me writing in kitchen in Kaysersberg

Some days I chose to stay in our flat and write at the kitchen table.

Me writing at bakery in Kaysersberg

Just down from our building was a trendy little French cafe. If the weather was nice, which it was often, I could be found here, trying to focus on my writing and not on the people around me.

Me writing at favorite bakery in Kaysersberg

A bit further down the street is my very favorite pâtisserie, Au Péché Mignon. Have you noticed a pattern? I eat, and I write. Why wouldn’t I? Right? The chocolate pastries are legendary. It’s a good thing our flat was on the 4th floor. Lots of walking, climbing, walking some more. And then we eat.

Me writing on bench Kaysersberg

Another of my favorite places to write was on this bench, above the village, near the chateau ruins. I would say this one does not have to do with food, but I think we actually picnic’d here.

Me writing at apartment in WF

When I was first diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2012, we got an apartment in Wichita Falls, Texas to be near our daughter and her family and near my oncologist in Grapevine. When we weren’t in Europe training and traveling for Young Life, I was here. And when I had moments of clarity and small windows of creativity, I would write . . . this fairy tale. I believe this story, this Alsatian tale, has been a therapeutic exercise for me, a means of escape through difficult times. There were days I killed off characters, and it was the right thing to do. I felt guilty the first time it happened because, as is often the case, she didn’t deserve it. I loved creating a world of my own making, some parts of it drawn from history, some drawn from folklore told me by people from our village, and some from my own imagination. I love being a writer!

My writing studio

We are no longer in that little apartment, a place that became my sanctuary. We now live right around the corner from our daughter in a lovely home. A gift to our family from God when we weren’t looking for it because we didn’t know we needed it. A few months after buying the home and moving in, our daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, this is where I write in those spare moments when we are in Texas and not in Europe, my very own space. It is as quirky and eccentric as I am.

The End screen Amélie

It is where I typed this. Book One has come to an end and is waiting to be discovered and given wings. I am very attached to this story because of the life I lived while writing it. Amélie and I have gone through a lot together. I am so grateful she introduced herself to me in that enchanted village in France. I have loved telling her story so far, and I can’t wait to continue the adventure that is her life in Book Two.

The smoke rising from lavender candle

And now, we wait.

 

PET Scan Results: The Super Power of Prayer

48 Prague Lennon Peace Wall

Imagine a world with no cancer…

My doctor pulled up my PET scan results on her computer screen and smiled…a Cheshire Cat Smile. My Lymphoma is disappearing before our very eyes. The radiologist asked her what treatment I’d had to bring about the great change. I’ve had no treatment…yet. She said she’d only seen this one other time in her career as an oncologist. That patient also was a strong Christian and had also been the recipient of many prayers on her behalf. Miracle was a word used that day in my doctor’s office. No other explanation.

I’m so grateful for the grace given me. I don’t know what the future holds as I “live with lymphoma” but I do know for now I’m breathing deeper and walking lighter. I have a number of close friends battling cancer…too many. They are ever in my prayers and thoughts. Hoping for more miracles.

 

Dragon Slayer

09 Me and Trevor Bow Practice

I’ve decided to get serious about this blog o’mine. Instead of waiting for a clue as to which direction I should go…I’m going to be true to myself and be random! At first this was going to be a blog about the process of writing/publishing a novel. Then, there was this crazy little interruption this spring in the form of a cancer diagnosis. Suddenly, I decided I should blog about that. However, I’m in a holding pattern of sorts with my cancer, thank God for this. So, in light of my always unpredictable life, I’ve decided my posts should follow the same pattern. Welcome to my world.

Are there things you’re afraid of? I have a VERY long list. Topping the list is SPIDERS. I don’t even like typing the letters that form the word. I can feel them creeping onto the page and just hanging there. (Shiver.) I have high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease. So, I also fear having a heart attack. I’m kinda afraid of passing out in public, the dark, creepy movies, and merky lakes, which leads me to alligator gar! I could go on, but I’ll stop for now. I’ve been known to say things like, “I wish I knew what the future holds.” Word to the wise, don’t say this unless you’re ready for the answer!

I never ever really worried about having cancer. I mean, maybe skin cancer from my sun-worshipping days, but that’s it. Well, I know in part what my future holds. And the funny thing is I’m not really worried about the heart thing anymore. (I do still worry about spiders.)

We all have dragons in our lives. The problem is deciding what needs to be done with them. I have one hiding in a cave (my body) waiting to rise up and devour me. What this dragon doesn’t know is that I’m a dragon slayer when I need to be. I have Follicular Lymphoma, Grade One. Its a waiting game. I’ve been told it’s a very slow going game at that. It could take ten or even fifteen years before it moves to Grade Two. A lot can change in ten years. Who knows what the treatment might be by then. Maybe less destructive than chemo or radiation. I’m willing to wait, and hope, and pray for something better. But, even if the treatment in ten years is the same as today, I will not despair because I’ve been told “this is curable.” When this sleeping dragon awakes, we’ll fight fire with fire. It will be slain! Till then, I’m in training to get ready for the battle. A battle that is inevitable.

The day I received the call from the surgeon that the biopsy was positive for Lymphoma, my father said, “We have lived in fear. Now we can live in hope.” It was true. All the tests, all the waiting, all the not knowing was over. And now, we would hope. He told me this was a quote. When I asked him what it was from he said, “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Anne’s father said this as the Nazi’s were knocking on their door to arrest them. Hmm. I’m hoping for a more hopeful ending.

So, enough about slaying dragons. Tomorrow’s post is about riding them. Which, in my opinion, is a heck of a lot more fun than slaying! them. Tomorrow we’ll talk about a stone manor…not a cave!