Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Incredible Abundance of Spring

Signs of spring are abundant in my neighborhood: rhododendrons, dogwoods, and azaleas in full bloom. The hidden work of winter on full display. 

Rhodendrons and Japanese maple in our yard

 Seasonal metaphors seem apt for my life right now, too.

I'm emerging from hibernation of sorts, the first months of the calendar year spent still and indoors, while my injured hip and leg muscles healed. In those months I sent out proposals to teach writing classes, as well as sending stories and poems to literary journals in search of publication. And like the trees and shrubs displaying their flowers, my efforts are popping into view as well.

In April I taught a 3-week creative writing class in Gig Harbor through the continuing education department of Tacoma Community College, and am now leading a 6-week writing workshop there. The groups have been small, and I enjoy the opportunity to tailor the material specifically for the participants, several of whom have written unpublished books! 

In the last five days I've had three new publications come online--something that has never happened before, and may never again!

"Impressions of a Family" is a fictional short story I wrote about 15 years ago when taking creative writing classes at Cabrillo College. The nursing home scenes were inspired by visiting my grandfather in the last weeks of his life.

"Impressions" won an award from the Cabrillo College English Department the year I wrote it, and it's gratifying to have it published at long last in A Lonely Riot, a new online literary magazine that debuted my story as its first published piece and that also paid me a small honorarium.

"Shedding My Skin," is a short piece I wrote after encountering a snake and its shed skin in my Bainbridge Island garden. The piece as published reads "last summer," but it was actually 2013, and is an indication of how long it can be before a first draft finds its final shape. The accompanying photo is the actual snake, a garter, in my yard (apologies to snake hating members of my family).

“Shedding My Skin,” appears in Relief Journal's blog that I've followed for some time, inspired by their tagline, "art and faith unbound." In the last year several alumni from my MFA program have taken on editorial leadership at Relief, and I'm thankful to be among their published authors. 

"Crushed," is a reflection about first crushes (or "Puppy Love" as Donny Osmond sang in that era) and how, in my case, I crushed/hurt others in my immaturity. It appears in the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. This link will take you to the entire issue (there's some beautiful artwork).  My story is on page 90. You can search for "Cathy Warner" or the word "crushed" with the search/magnifying glass icon and then can click to read. I know that's a bit of work, but I do hope you'll give it a read when you get a chance. 

I write to make connections, in my own understanding of the world, and with others, and I thank you for participating in these connections with me. 

This past week has also been one of connecting my life to the environment, physically and materially. My husband and I with the help of our Yellow Ribbon Homes crew are increasing our conversation with our yard, neighborhood, view, and Mt. Rainier by replacing our living room roof with a rooftop deck, and the high windows of our master bedroom and office with sliding glass doors. It's been a chilly few mornings without a roof and walls, but we're excited that this vision is becoming a reality. 

Building a deck with Mt. Rainier view

And if all of this abundance weren’t enough, we just got word minutes ago our offer on a huge bank-owned waterfront house on Fox Island (accessible by bridge from Gig Harbor) was accepted. This will be the next project house for Yellow Ribbon Homes. 

Views of McNeil Island and Steilacoom from the new project house

The home called to me over two months ago when I spotted it in my daily real estate listing search. The price was too high, especially given the amount of water damage, but the price dropped several times, the house remained on the market, and Kevin and I made several trips there, spending hours measuring, inspecting, and envisioning the possibilities.

Come the end of May, we will have the privilege and opportunity to repair water damage, improve floor plans, and create a beautiful home that reflects its incredible surroundings.

Water damaged exterior on water side of house

View from the master bedroom

Panoramic view of McNeil Island from main deck
I recall the word "Success" coming to me as a frame for 2016, and then being injured just after that, wondering how success could manifest when I couldn't even walk. These past months have been a lesson in patience and faith, of trusting God and our own intentions, of believing on a daily basis that "this or something better" will materialize, and acting on that belief, even when there's no evidence to be seen. 

Walking the beach below the property

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