in no particular order
1 Deadlines. For a writer, they’re part of everyday life, and they can be pure hell. Learning the discipline of writing is essential because there’s nothing that can kill the muse faster than having to be creative on demand. But you know what they say–the only thing worse than having a deadline is not having a deadline
2 Daughters. They’re my kids and my best friends. They get me when no one else does. For every minute of grief or worry they’ve brought me, they’ve given me three minutes of joy.
3 Decorating. When I have the time and the energy, I love to decorate for the holidays. Unfortunately both of the above things have been in short supply the last few years. I haven’t even bothered putting up a Christmas tree most years that we’ve lived in Florida. I’m not sure if it’s because it never feels like Christmas here, or because I just really have no energy. I did get one up two years ago, but only because family was coming for New Year’s. This past year got away from me again.
4 Dreams. For most of my life, I haven’t remembered my dreams. I suppose I did dream, but I never remembered what I dreamed about except an occasional recurring dream about being chained in a tower in a medieval castle. That dream is gone and now I dream about things like working for my old boss and frantically trying to get to work while something is obstructing my path. Then for several years, I dreamed about some people from my past–and not a good past. Those people reappeared in my life, and I guess the dreams helped me to be ready for that.
5 Dogs. There was Angel, (part giraffe, part gazelle, and part kangaroo) my poorly socialized dog with ADHD and OCD. And there was Sammie. who was my oldest daughter’s dog and who lived with me for a while. And there’s Cleo, my current grand-dog. who is a sweetheart and a rescue dog. And there was Pride my Doberman pincer, upon whom I based Max, the dog in the Candy Shop mystery series. And there were Holly and Copper, one a poodle and the other a doberman. I’m feeling puppy fever again, but with a new kitty in the house it’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.
6 Dictionary. In 7th grade, I made a poster that was supposed to read “How To Develop your Mental Abilities.” I misspelled two words on that poster, so it ended up reading “How to Develope your Mental Abbilities.” Not only did the other kids in my class make fun of me, but the teacher did too–and this right after she laughed at me because I didn’t know how to spell marijuana. (This was before it was a household word where I lived, and I was absent the day we learned what it was.) This all happened the year after I had Mr. Graybill, the world’s most obnoxious teacher, in 6th grade. Mr. Graybill made the leather wallet I was crafting for my dad (see above) a public example of how not to do leatherwork. The public humiliation I felt over that stupid poster nearly did me in, but I became best friends with the dictionary that day. After that, I could out-spell almost everyone I knew. Even my Straight-A Sister–the one who graduated 3rd in her class–asked me how to spell words.
7 Deployments. My son-in-law was active military for the first 9 years of his marriage to my daughter and he spent more Christmases, birthdays and anniversaries in the Middle East than he spent at home. He was willing to be there because he believes that if we don’t fight them over there, we’ll have to fight them here on our own soil. War looks a whole lot different when it comes knocking on your own front door than it does when it’s an abstract principle. I’m proud of my son-in-law and proud of his service to our country, and I’m proud of my daughter for standing at his side and keeping the family together while he was gone.
8 Dance. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a professional dancer. More specifically, I wanted to be a June Taylor dancer, but I don’t think I ever confessed my professional dance aspirations aloud, and I think they died away somewhere before I was 8. Besides being a novelist, being a June Taylor dancer is the only thing I ever really wanted to be when I grew up.
9 Daydreaming. I’m all for it, and I’m lucky. I’m a writer because daydreaming is my job!
10 Dishwasher. It’s my favorite modern convenience. Need I explain?
11 Dad. I have one, as do we all. Mine passed away on October 6, 2006 at the age of 82. He was a World War II Veteran who loved the great outdoors and dreamed of being a Park Ranger when he was a young man. He grew up on a farm and spent so many hours working in the fields, he almost didn’t graduate from high school. That near miss bothered him his entire life.
12 Diabetes. I’m not particularly happy that this one is part of my life now, although I am happy to finally figure out what’s been wrong with me for the past few years. Luckily, eating healthy isn’t much more difficult with diabetes than it is doing, say, Weight Watchers, although all points are not equal in my new normal. Sugar is a no-no and carbs are the enemy.
13 Down East. A place I’ve visited a few times and one place I’ve always wanted to live. I love the quaint little towns along the Maine coast and though I now live in a small coastal town in Northwest Florida, I still dream about living along the rocky coast of Maine–especially in the summers.