Friday night I took my rings off during the podcast because they were making noises—small noises—against my wooden desk.
Noises like that can be annoying.
I wear three rings, the typical wedding band duo and a clear ring from ETSY that has tiny flowers in them. You can’t really see the flowers unless I take the rings off because they match my skin. You can just see the glint of the gold paint that the artist used to make the flowers’ centers stand out. The glint reminds me of pixie dust, which reminds me of my NEED series, which is how my relatives will get to write “New York Times” and “international” bestseller on my obituary.
This morning, I woke up and went to my desk. The wedding ring duo sat there right by my hot pink sticky note of all the things I had to do this Saturday to keep my family sheltered and in food, but the clear ring was gone.
“The cats must have taken it,” Shaun the Spouse said. “We’ll never see that again.”
“Don’t say that!”
The ring isn’t like my other rings. It’s barely there, unobtrustive, a memory of something that was a big deal once. When I got it for Mother’s Day, I almost cried. It made nose against my skin somehow. The heavy thickness of it created a weight that seemed to ground me in remembering that I had a right hand too, not just a left and that it was okay to have balance in both hands, both sides of your life—that balance was possible even when it felt like a far-off impossible thing.
Up here in Maine, on an island that’s so large some people (usually tourists) forget it’s not attached to land, almost to the Canadian border, I have a hard time fitting in even though this island is pretty forgiving about weirdness, about wearing fleece, wearing pearls, about never wearing make-up, about believing in God or not, Hell or not, people or not, politicians or not, love or not.
There aren’t a lot of jobs here unless you want to work in restaurants or retail in the summer. Nonprofit workers move from one small place to another. Scientists work at one of two labs. People take care of the wealthy people’s summer estates and a dwindling few lobster or work construction.
And me? I write, alone, at my desk. I edit other writers, staring at their pages, living their stories. I make a podcast. I coach writers. My life is at a computer. And I love it. But there’s no balance. No outside. Even when I paint I do it inside in the basement. Without my ring I’m reminded of that.
So, today, this Saturday that the ring was gone, I stepped away from the computer, swept all the floors looking for it. Nothing. I gave up, made blueberry muffins from Covid-19 inspired sourdough starter that a bookstore owner gave to me a year ago. Nothing. I walked on the treadmill for twenty minutes. Painted for fifteen. Nothing. No balance no ring. I went outside, pulled tomatoes and cucumbers that I barely remembered planting, came back inside to work, stared at the blank page and then—my ring, my glinty ring, right there on my finger.
I texted my husband.
“No way,” he texted back. “Did you just not notice before?”
I told one of my favorite writers students via email this weekend, “ I’m trying to re-remember who I am. I know that sounds weird. But I used to be married to a hospital CEO from old money and I realized I lost a lot of my ‘adventure in the woods,’ write poetry and nonfiction self. And it’s been ages but I’m finally getting it back, I think.”
And they said, “Carrie I fully believe and support you in this journey but I must also remind you that at least one if not several summers that I have known you, you have lived at a campground. While I know this has not been the case during the pandemic, it is still indicative of the core nature you have described.”
I gasped. I love them so much.
Sometimes, I think, we become so focused on things like not fitting in or not having a work-life balance that we don’t realize that maybe we do. Maybe we do fit in. Maybe we do have some balance. That our right hand is there along with our left. All my life, I’ve been afraid of not getting enough done, and that’s not going to change, but I can maybe realize that what I do get done can be fun. That’s balance. But more than that? That’s good.
NEW BOOK ALERT!
I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.
Here’s what it’s about:
A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.
A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.
And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.
What would you do to make a difference?
After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.
Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.
Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.
From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED series, Saint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.
BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.