Why don’t I?

I love when you find and make time for high energy projects whether it’s work you’re paid for or work you choose to do on your own. And I deeply believe that when you get organized you do your best work because you’re choosing how to spend your brief time here on Earth.

Luggage for today

The rubber is literally hitting the road for me as I write those words and begin a seven month journey to get the rough draft written for the sequel to Gunny Malone. This is high-energy, driven work that may make no sense to anyone but me. But I heard the call to head off on a Quest, so off I go. Today is Day #1 of the journey as I fly off to Chile, our base to head out on a Viking cruise around Cape Horn. When I get back, I’ll start a US cross-country trip from New York to Virginia, then west along the old Oregon trail ending up in San Francisco. Then I’ll spend time back on the east coast working on parts of the story in Charleston and Maine and  wrap up with a month writing on the west coast of Ireland. These are all places where the sequel happens, but it starts in 1861. So I’ll also be time traveling! What does one efficiently pack for time travel? 🙂

The good-byes here have draining but inspiring. It’s hard to say good-bye to so many good people, but here’s what’s been cool about that. First – I’ve decided to return to Maine at the end of the journey, so the good-byes are more a “till I see you again.” But my leaving has brought up a weird up-welling of love. I run programs at a library in a small town in Maine. That means I touch people’s lives in a very tangential way. If folks choose to learn about wildlife, or choose to be part of a discussion group on writing, songwriting, Eldering, books, or Democracy, it’s not typically a central element of their lives. But I heard three things from patrons over the last couple of weeks.

  1. I make a difference to them. I smile at them and greet them when they arrive. I love that they come to the library and they feel that. So many made a point to tell me that the programs at the library matter to them, and that going to the programs made them feel like they were part of a greater community. No matter what you do in life, if you are kind and help connect people, the work you do matters. It was nice to hear that.
  2. Several mentioned that telling me my work mattered made them think about other people in their lives they should show appreciation for. Do you have tangential people in your life that you’d miss if they were gone? Right! So tell them before they go away. That was a second great message to hear.
  3. While many friends, family, and patrons have said that what I’m doing is a little wild, no one has expressed doubt that I will get something wonderful out of the journey. And here’s the cool thing: Many have also said that they now want to do something crazy – like take a long trip to write. With organization, I’ve found it best to lead by example, not by organizing other people’s stuff. And it turns out that heading off on this writing journey has some of the same effect. I don’t picture the whole town of Cape Elizabeth packing up and heading out, but I know some will. A patron last week said, “I could do what you’re doing. Why don’t I?” I hope I’m a pebble in the pond, and that the ripples go off in all sorts of new directions. If you have a dream to chase, why not do it?

As I travel and write, I may still post here but my focus will be on reading research from the 1840s-1860s and I have a feeling the content won’t be a great match here. That being said, many folks have asked me to update them periodically by email on the travel journey. My focus in those notes will be on where I am, what I’m seeing, and how that’s influencing my writing. If you’d like to be on the travel email list, just drop me a note and I’ll keep you up to date.

Here’s my parting wish for you till I get back to this blog: Have a dream. Ponder deeply. Organize your thoughts. And take action. Please. The world needs your good energy and fresh thinking. I will be back!

Most sincerely,


My daughter suggested I close out this post with a picture of what is going to be in my car for the rest of the trip. And how the rest of my house is packed up in 1/2 of her garage :).

Stuff that’s going on the car trip


The rest of my house

Want to see other posts on this blog? There’s a small link below to the left that will take you to the most recent post. Or check out the column on the right to see what other folks are reading. Please try the “search” box at the top of the page if you’re looking for something specific.

If you’re reading this on your phone, all of that is below.

I welcome your thoughts and suggestions for future posts!



6 thoughts on “Why don’t I?

  1. Janie—you are one-of-a-kind. Everyone dreams but few can take the first steps on the journey. Take your adventure to wild and interesting places…and may you find Gunny in the places you visit. I’m as eager to read her story as I am to read yours. I hope you will keep me posted.
    Safe journey!


  2. Bon Voyage Janie! Excited for you and definitely want you to keep me posted when you can! The Taste of Broadway that I was in was a huge hit and I owe a lot of that to you!! xox


  3. Hi Janie, safe travels, keep me in the loop love hearing from you.
    Life is definitely exciting these days…….
    And I’m about to become a grandmother, another new role……..Enjoy -Terry


Leave a Reply to Sally Waite Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s