“You should read The Artist’s Way,” Lindsay offered, her eyes thoughtful.  “OK.” I said meekly.  We had just had an intense conversation that lasted an entire afternoon and though parts of me were starting to feel a little glimmer of rejuvenation, more parts of me were still clouded with the fatigue of boredom that blanketed my days.

Lindsay Diehl and I had been best friends in high school, meeting as basketball team members in grade 8.  (The last name and the basketball team part may sound familiar to you – in another post I interviewed her twin sister, Darcey.)  Our friendship really started taking shape the following year, off the court.  Over the years, Lindsay and I shared our love of reading and writing, exchanging poems we’d written and books we’d read.  And then, as sometimes happens, we went our separate ways after high school; it was really only until Facebook came along that 10 years later we were reunited by a friend confirmation.  Yes, I confirmed, excitedly approving the friend request.  We are friends.

I eagerly clicked on her profile – what the heck had this girl been up to in 10 years?  My jaw dropped when I saw that she had gone on to pursue her passion of literature and had done the thing I would have never thought possible for anyone I knew; she became…a writer!  Complete with a website, publications and education credentials!

This was in 2008, my daughter was just around a year old.  I very clearly remember sitting at my computer, that awful desktop that whirred and churred and sounded more like a tank than a useful piece of electronics.  Glued to my seat, my eyes scanned her pictures and words and my world suddenly became as small as my musty basement office.  And there, right there on that chair, in front of that computer, I had my first “mid-life” crisis at the age of 29.  My attention quickly turned to me and my life.  I went into full on “compare and despair” mode (thank you, Martha Beck!).  Suddenly the degrees I had worked so hard to achieve were like an itchy, ill-fitting sweater.  The ball and chain moments I had felt over the past year of motherhood were blaring and blinking like a cheap motel’s neon sign.  Lindsay was free and writing.  I was stuck and…not writing.

A short time went by and Lindsay contacted me again asking me to help out a friend.  He needed someone who spoke another language to record a short sample for his musical project.  I invited her over to pick up the recorded sample and that’s how we spent an afternoon in my living room, catching up on family break-ups, illnesses, careers, high school memories and dreams.  I told her about my reaction to her chosen career, how I had always poo-pooed the idea of making writing a career even when encouraged by a couple of wonderful high school teachers.  “To me that’s like saying, ‘You should grow up and be a princess!’”  That’s how awesome I thought writing was, and how unattainable I thought it was as a profession.  (How can a hobby be a profession?  How can a passion be your work?  How can a dream come true?!)

Along with the suggestion to read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, she handed me hope that it was not too late for me to pick up where I left off with my love of writing.  She assured me that I was still a writer.  “As long as you write, you’re a writer.”  That comment single-handedly defeated the writer prototype I had formed in my head – someone with dark glasses, sitting in a coffee shop accompanied by just her laptop and travel mug of joe, forever looking pensive, typing feverishly in spurts when inspiration strikes.  I didn’t have to be that.  I could bounce my baby girl on my lap, tell her stories, jot them down on note paper until I could later sit on my couch in my wool socks and scribble a story line into a notebook.  Ok, not as romantic a notion, but it made me feel hopeful.

You see, I didn’t want to leave the life I had, I just wanted to add to it…add a lot to it!

I followed Lindsay’s advice and picked up The Artist’s Way, did the 12 week program which brought me into March of 2009.  Just after completing this program, I said goodbye to my mom and two weeks after her passing I started my first blog, The Artist’s Loft.  I haven’t stopped writing.  How can I?  I’m a writer!  I had just had a momentary lapse in memory.  (It’s called life…it sometimes happens – sound familiar?)

The timing of my reunion with Lindsay was not an accident.  Me coming to her mind when her friend needed a bilingual person was not random.  I really don’t know where I would be right now if those events did not happen.

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be sending this out to you fabulous readers who make my day, every single day of the week! 

If you take a peek over to the right, you’ll see an image of The Artist’s Way book – you can click on it to learn more.

I encourage you to recognize so-called random events in your life as little signs from the Universe.  Can you think of any right now?