Today I’m turning over my blog to Jan Krause Greene, author of I Call Myself Earth Girl. You can get to know a little more about Jan and her work through her own words (and I can kick back with a marguerita and the cabana boy for the day… but anyway…) Onto Jan Krause Greene!
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to this Morning…
A funny thing happened to me last night. Funny as in strange or unexpected. Not “funny ha-ha” as my dad used to say.
So, there I was in bed, having woken up for, at least, the third time – snow plow, late night text (almost as bad as the late night pocket-dial that I seem to frequently be the victim of) and my husband’s trip to the bathroom.
My first thought when I wake up in the middle of the night is always the same warning to myself, “Don’t think about anything. Keep your mind blank or you will never get back to sleep.” If only I could heed that warning….
So, there I was working hard at not thinking. The only problem is that when I work hard at something – no matter what it is, even relaxing – I end up wide awake. Last night was no different, except that I was wide awake and really angry.
I could literally feel the anger in my forehead, but I couldn’t quite figure out what I was angry about. It wasn’t the text, or the snowplow, or the trip to the bathroom. So, what did I do? I started thinking about why I was so angry.
Given the dark of night and the freedom of knowing that no one would ever know my thoughts, I came up with tons of reasons to be angry. Most of them, I must hasten to add, didn’t really make that much sense to me in the morning.
But there they were…all the real and imagined injustices in my life added to all the real injustice in the world, added to the fact that I never really wanted to be short with wide hips, added to the fact that I hate having sleep apnea and wearing a stupid mouthpiece to bed every night (more on that some other time – the mouthpiece really does work and I am usually grateful for it), added to the fact that it was now 2:00 a.m. and I was going to be tired in the morning.
I was filled with anger and I hated myself for it. Not because I am such a good and kind person and I knew the anger was mostly about feeling sorry for myself. Equally, not because some of the anger was justified and righteous and I was mad at myself for not expressing it to those who deserved to hear it.
No, I was mad at myself because the anger was keeping me awake and making me worry about being tired in the morning. Even that worry infuriated me! I used to pull all-nighters frequently in college in order to finish a paper, or to study, or just because I was having too much fun to go to bed. As a mother of five kids close in age, I went for years, lots of years, without a full night’s sleep and I didn’t think much about it. So why was I so frantically worried about getting enough sleep?
And the crazy answer is because I have finally reached a point in my life where some days are totally mine. I cherish these days when I really am not obligated to do anything for anyone. This was to be one of those days. I am a writer and I never feel like I have enough time to write.
It could be a good writing day or a day devoted to all the social media promotion that I feel compelled to do. In other words, it had the potential to be a day that was moving my goals forward. I don’t have enough of these days and I didn’t want to blow this one.
But this very desire to use this day productively was getting in the way of my sleep. As I tossed and turned and fretted and fumed, I kept thinking, “How did I get this way? Why can’t I fall asleep? Why can’t I turn off my brain? I hate feeling this way?”
And then something shifted. I decided to think about love. Not romantic love, but the other, bigger, broader kind of love – love of life, love of nature, love of the universe. Yes, I do have a sort of love affair with the universe – all that space with stars and planets and energy and possibility that somehow brings people and ideas together and fuses their energy into something new.
As I thought about love I began to feel gratitude. At first, it wasn’t gratitude for anything specific, but eventually the generalized gratitude for life itself transformed into gratitude for specific things, and individual people.
Within minutes, I had a feeling that I have not had since my book was picked up by a publisher more than a year ago. I felt peace. Most particularly, I felt peace about the book and its potential readers. They would like it, or they wouldn’t. It would sell a lot, or it would sell a little. It would be praised or criticized, but the people who would appreciate it would somehow find it. The message that I hope to spread would be heard by those who will respond to it.
It doesn’t have to be a bestseller. I don’t have to make a lot of money from it. It can simply exist. I can let it go out into the world without me. I can focus on the next thing I write, instead of trying so hard to promote this one book. I can let it do its own thing. There will be some people who are moved by it, maybe even changed by it. There will be others who never even hear of it. But that is okay.
I think that part of why it took me so long to gain this perspective is that I have always sort of moved to the top of whatever I do. Not that I have done anything so spectacular. I haven’t. But in my own little sphere, I always achieved whatever my goal was. So I felt like my book should naturally become a New York Times bestseller.
No matter that I am completely unknown and never wrote a book before. No matter that the beginning of the book has some scenes that disturb some readers. No matter that I know nothing about how to actually market and promote it. It was just supposed to be a bestseller simply because I want it to be one.
In a way that I can’t really explain, a sleepless, angry night brought me insight and peace of mind. Sure, I hope people want to read my book. But I no longer need them to.
So, to the snowplow driver, the late night texter, and my husband…thanks for waking me up! I needed that sleepless night.
I Call Myself Earth Girl
All Gloria ever wanted was a normal life. Instead she is having recurring dreams about Earth Girl, who recounts the story of her abduction and rape. When Gloria discovers that she is pregnant, despite her husband’s long absence, she begins to question her sanity. Could she really be carrying Earth Girl’s baby? Can she save her marriage while unraveling the mystery that ties her to the past and future and to a love that endures beyond time?
What if you were about to become a grandmother for the first time and you discovered you were pregnant? What if you believed you conceived this child in a dream? What if you tried to end the pregnancy and failed?
Gloria Geist’s world is turned completely upside down when she discovers she is pregnant and she knows her husband can not be the baby’s father. Her recurring dreams about a young girl who calls herself Earth Girl initiate a quest for understanding that leads her to question the nature of time and the possibility of reincarnation.
As she is exposed to mystic wisdom through the voice in her dreams, she learns, not only about herself, but also the many facets of family love and acceptance. Her journey of self-discovery ultimately connects her to the future in a way she could never have imagined.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
w/i-call-myself-earth-girl- jan-krause-greene/1115388792? ean=9781782790495
Jan Krause Greene has considered herself a writer since her 4th-grade teacher sent her off to the 3rd grade classroom to read her composition on the life of a penny. This same trip across the hall is probably why she became a teacher, which in turn may be the reason she did not write her first novel until she was in her 60s, or maybe it was the 5 kids. Now retired, her writing examines life’s big questions from the perspective of characters both young and old, struggling to understand their place in a complex world.
She describes herself as a writer, activist and lover of the earth. She is currently working on the sequel to her first novel and is also writing a non-fiction book about a man who suffered traumatic brain injury during a hit and run accident.