mystical view of my back yard on Christmas morning

"Success is feeling alive."

So says my creator friend, Les Sunde, the wonder-filled spirit behind what my Lil Dude calls "The Magic Place," but which is officially called Swampgas and Gossamer: Lost and Found Emporium (which I wrote a post about here.)

Last year my new year's  intention was to let myself be happy. That was at the tail end of nine months of packing and unpacking and packing and unpacking and packing and unpacking as our dear little house was undergoing a gigantic renovation and we were renting temporary places to live. It was also at the last stretch of the third and final book of the Notebooks series, and a few years in which I'd had two books a year published.  Although good things came of it all (books! roomier new-old house!), it was pretty darn stressful, with so many deadlines and so much renovation-related work.  So last year, I let myself enjoy it all... delving into my next book at a leisurely pace, decorating our new-old house, cooking new concoctions, reading books for pleasure...

This year, my intention is to feel ALIVE.  By that, I mean being grateful and conscious of my existence in this one wild and precious life (to quote a phrase by poetess Mary Oliver.)

Back to Les and his ideas about being alive and creating things.  His fantastical creations make my heart fly, my soul tingle, my skin quiver with goosebumps.  "What moves the goosebumps?" Les asks. I think about this, because that goosebump-inducing, soul-tingling feeling is what I want my readers to experience. And to make that happen, I need to connect with the source-- the power that moves the goosebumps-- and let it flow through me. At the heart of it, the whole book experience is about feeling alive.  Writing a book makes me feel alive, and I hope that reading it makes my readers feel more alive.

I've been thinking about Les's wisdom a lot lately because I'm writing a profile about him, his creations, and his philosophy for Fort Collins Magazine. This is a delicious thing about having finished the tight deadlines of a book series-- I have time to explore and write shorter pieces during mini-breaks from my new novel-in-progress. It feels so luxurious to do these things, to follow my soul's whims after years of feeling deadline pressure.

I can't wait to share my article about Les with you-- he's so inspiring and unique-- an important part of my creative life. The article will be out this spring, and I'll try to link to it, or cut and paste it, or something!

May you feel ALIVE this new year! Hugs and happy wishes!