Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Year in Review

on December 31, 2010

There are many things which happen in a year, but I think it’s what we learn from those events which is more important. The following were some of my more significant events of 2010:

February’s Flight in the Small Private Plane

On a cold, sunny day in mid-February, I pushed aside my fears and drove to a small airport in Arlington, WA. I watched the two seat Cessna plane land and questioned myself for the last time on whether I really needed to go up in the air in a plane that small. My hands shook and my heart pounded as I walked onto the run-way.  It had been weeks of worrying over whether or not I would take the plane ride. Weeks.  But as the plane taxied down the run-way, I left my fears on the ground, and as we rose higher in the sky, I knew that all those fears were for nothing.  I enjoyed that flight, and when we landed I was sorry to see it end.  And what that plane ride taught me in 2010 was when the plane comes for you, get on and enjoy the ride.

April’s Cruise to Mexico

My sister and I took a six-day cruise on NCL to the Mexico Riveria.  The best part? Swimming with the dolphins in Cabo. What I learned? There are few places or times when you get to let go of everything and just show up to enjoy..a cruise is one of those.  Enjoy it!

Becca and Mindy Hug the Dolphin

May’s Close Call

May brought a bit of stormy weather to both my personal life and my writing life. I won’t go into the personal life, but let’s just say, I deleted the pictures of that flight in February, and now at the end of the year, I’m kinda regretting that because I can’t post them here. Anyway…….the writing storm had to do with a novel I’d had under consideration at Ooligan Press. They’d gotten down to the final two–mine and another. I’d been waiting for weeks and weeks while they sent out both novels to their teen editorial board. And then the news came. They hadn’t selected my manuscript to publish. It took me six weeks to pull myself out of that rejection. I’ve had a lot of rejections on that story, but this one was the worst. I came so close. So close and it still didn’t go. It didn’t help that my personal life fell apart that same week.  Why things happen that way, I don’t know.

But something in me did not give up. If I was writing my story, I would have called May the big, black moment. But, if I was writing my story, I also would have said that I am not a victim character, and consequently, I pulled myself together, and sent off my manuscript to “book therapy” with free-lance editor, Sarah Cloots.

It was the best thing I could have done. I got Sarah’s critique back, and she suggested I make the story middle grade. The light bulb went off. Middle grade! Of course. I spent most of the summer revising the story, and I had to admit, it now seemed to finally click into place. By Fall, I resubbed the manuscript to an editor whose books I have long admired. And I wait again. The lesson? Sometimes you have to dig really deep in yourself. But it’s when the lights seem to all go out, that it’s the most important not to give up, because the answer is there, just around that next corner. You just have to get up and reach the next corner.

July’s 40th Birthday

It was bound to happen. The clock ticks and the time spins, and I turned 40 at the end of July.  I met my Dad and Aunt in St Louis where we spent three nights at Union Station. This was a childhood dream of mine when I used to go with my Mom and play “just pretend” we could buy anything we wanted. Most of the shops have moved out, and it’s just tourist shops now, but staying there was a lot of fun. Plus, it was a real gift to spend time with my Dad and Aunt who traveled from the East Coast and who I don’t see that often.  I spent the day after my birthday hanging out at the pool (yes, it was hot and muggy on Aug 1). I think the last time my Dad and I hung out at the pool was at Sugar Creek when I was in middle school. I enjoyed the time a lot.  On July 31, I attended a Cardinals Baseball game with my two “girls in trouble” from my Mizzou Days. All of us had the Big 40 summer birthdays. They honored the 1985 Cardinals Team that night, and as those were the years I lived there, I was thrilled. (Although the players looked a bit old to me….)The Cardinals won, and as the fireworks lit the sky, I had to say it was a pretty good way to turn 40.

Cardinals Game

October’s School Visit to North Kirkwood Middle School

In October, I flew back to St Louis to speak at my old Middle School. I spent two days speaking to the eighth grade class, and enjoyed it immensely.  So often I saw the faces of my friends or my brother’s friends mirrored in the kids before me. I hadn’t been back to the mid-west in the Fall since I graduated from high school. It had been over twenty years. And as I drove down the street where I grew up, and saw the ghosts hanging from the porches, and the fall leaves stacked up in piles, it was as if childhood was only hidden by a small veil which I could easily lift up and hear myself, my brother and our friends as we raced down the street on Halloween night dressed in our costumes.  And what I took away was it’s important to hold onto those childhood roots because that is where I find the heart of my stories.

Kirkwood Fall Trees

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