This Saturday in April

As much as I like to read other people’s newsletters, I’m not so great about getting one of my own out each month. Which is why I switched to a quarterly newsletter, but even then, I didn’t prioritize writing it. Like many authors, I want to spend my time writing books, not newsletters. But many folks in the know cite the newsletter as a means of connecting with readers.

And that’s something I want to do. So where does that leave me?

It leaves me here: I write a newsletter when the whim hits, and the process involves very little preplanning.

Last Tuesday, the whim hit when I was sitting in an emergency room with my dad, who had been diagnosed with cellulitis of the eye. I’ve had enough experience with emergency rooms and aging parents to know that when the call comes, it’s a good idea to throw writing utensils, notebooks, and my computer into a bag. So even though it was eight o’clock at night, I had time on my hands and something to write about: the idea that the trip to the ER wasn’t in my beloved planner and that “as much as I try to plan my life, time and again, I’m reminded that I cannot.”

The letter came from the heart. Written in the moment, I wrote what I felt—balancing my responsibilities is difficult, being in two places at once is impossible, and thinking that busyness will abate is futile. And while I acknowledged that a good number of my readers understood exactly what I was feeling, I had absolutely no idea just how many.

Emails trickled in.

“Thanks for being honest!”

“I so appreciate your authenticity.”

“I heard the newsletter like you were reading it aloud.”

And, of course, “Hope your dad is okay.” (He is, but as of this writing, he’s been in hospital for four days. Cellulitis has been vanquished, and now we’re working on dacryocystitis.)

Those responses prove my point once again that planning anything in my life isn’t worth my time. After all, the newsletter that garnered the most responses is the one that took the least amount of effort.

An abundance of lessons can be gleaned from the experience, but since I’m currently sitting at a table in my dad’s hospital room—the bright sun streaming through the window, Dad checking with me from time to time if I’m still there—I’ll let you ruminate on those. And me? I’m going to take advantage of a few minutes of unplanned peace and quiet. Maybe I’ll revise a chapter or two of a current WIP or maybe I’ll just sit with Dad and watch him snooze. Maybe I’ll listen to a book or take some steps in this hospital room. It won’t matter what I do on this Saturday in April, as long as I stay here with him for a bit.

And that, my friends, is the honest truth about what I did today.

Text of planner by Elena Mozhvilo on

Leave a Comment