I typed The End on my 27th book, Everywhere and Every Way, the same day Pope Francis spoke to the UN and prayed at Ground Zero.
It had been a grueling week. My husband had gone away for work reasons, and my deadline wasn’t looming, it was right here. There was no more hiding or denying, I needed to dig in and finish the book.
Between juggling my family’s needs with tasks such as cooking (yes, I had to cook on DEADLINE, garbage, homework), and various responsibilities I usually ignore when finishing a book, I needed to write 25K in five days.
Fun, fun, fun.
The work got done. I love the book. I’m proud of the story and my goal to keep growing as a writer.
But it was an extraordinary week for other reasons. Pope mania hit the world, and I was caught up in it like so many others. Yes, I’m Catholic. Yes, I’ve had some issues with the Church. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was how just one person with a good heart, faith, and love can touch so many people.
With all the bad, it was wonderful to see people excited to see a man of faith visit our country and speak to us. To smile at the crowds during a grueling schedule, hold mass, and serve lunch to the homeless on his one hour break, instead of dining with Congress.
It reminded me of the good in the world today. Of the hope that never leaves us. I smiled while I watched his travels and popped in and out of my office between writing spurts.
It felt good to finish my book while the Pope was in the US, bringing attention to issues that could not be termed republican or liberal, good or bad, for or against, but only HUMAN.
Sometimes, romance writers get flak about what they’re creating for the world. Too much sex. Too many expectations of love and relationships. Too many clichés. Too many bad boy billionaires turned good for that one special heroine.
But when I finished my book, my newest baby, I was full of pride about what I was giving back to the world. I honored my gift of creativity and worked hard at it. As Julia Cameron wrote in The Artists Way:
“Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.”
I live my life that way. My writing gift honors me.
I give back to the world by sharing my voice and giving hope. I believe in love. I believe in pain, and ups and downs, and bad stuff happening. But I also believe love and friendship and family balance all of that out. The good within the bad. The laughter within the tears.
My book won’t change the world. The Pope certainly won’t know about it. But in my own small way, I’m giving some readers out there a few hours of happiness. So many authors gave me peace during turbulent times by giving me hope. Now, I’m just trying to give some back.
Thank you, Pope Francis, for reminding me and the world about kindness, sacrifice, God, healing, and being human.
We are all in this together.