Sunday, 10 April 2011

Happy Birthday Michael!!!

light, high clouds, temps 9

Actually, that's a guess....but it seems likely. I haven't been out today.

I'm about to head out to the train station in Montreal to pick up Michael and his son Victor. What an adventure they've had! Chicago...then Michael's son Mike couldn't make it - was stuck in Toronto - so they guys flew to Toronto to be with him yesterday...and are training home now. Via Rail. Very relaxing.

It's Michael's 77th birthday! And not a day goes by when we're not very, very aware of how lucky we are with his health. Nothing wrong! His eyes are better than ever. He had a stress test and passed with flying colours. He has way more stamina than I, and can go all day. As you know, i basically lurch from cafe to bistro to bench.

And speaking of bistro - we're having dinner at the bistro on the Avenue tonight, to celebrate.

Happy Birthday, Michael.

I spent yesterday mostly writing. 3,000 words. One of those great days. Then went for a walk, had a shower, and did the Skype conversation for Nikki's bookclub at the Barnes and Noble in Ithica, NY. What a great tool, Skype is. For those not aware of Skype, it's this free tool that allows the camera on your laptop to connect live to people around the world. So I can see them and they can see me. And we can hear each other. Most of the time. At yesterday's skype event, the audio kept breaking up and fading out, and the video kept locking. But we bumbled through - thanks to a great deal of patience on the part of the club members. What wonderful questions, about how much I plan the series, and how much I respond to reader's comments - does that help influence future plots and books.... about Rosa. And Agent Morin. And Olivier.

Of course, I couldn't say much because not everyone had read all the books. But I do want to say now that I really enjoyed the Skype visit. As you might know, I'm now saying a polite (I hope) "No thank you" to almost all invitations.

In fact, I've cancelled my appearance at Bouchercon in St. Louis. I've been to Bouchercon for six years in a row - and need to pull back, take a break, and find time for myself...and do other events.

So with the help of Sarah Melnyk, the publicist in NYC, we're picking and choosing. This isn't, believe me, out of ego or some sense I'm too big to do smaller events. It's really just exhaustion. Seven years of near constant writing, promotion, editing, touring and all the other things.

My friend Louise, as part of a course she's taking on grieving, was given an assignment. (this is not the non-sequitor it appears to be) Not sure if I told you about this - she was given a glass, half filled with water. And a bunch of empty glasses. And told to label the empty glasses and pour an appropriate amount of water into each.

One she labelled "Jacques" - her husband who died in September. One was "work". One was 'Family" and so on. One was herself.

Then she started pouring. And realized she had nothing left for herself. And very little left for the things she loved.

She found this extremely illuminating. And so did I. I realized we all only have so much energy. It really is finite, not infinite. And we need to make choices.

Now, some of those glasses give back more than they get. But some just keep sucking. And will take it all, if I allow it, and am not careful. It's nobody's fault but mine if I give all my energy away. Especially to people, or things, that really don't care. And why should they? It's my energy. If I'm silly enough to agree to something, it can't be blamed on the people who are simply asking.

I also, like many of you, find it hard to say "no". But I'm getting way better!

So please, don't stop asking....but understand if I decline. It's not out of disrespect for you, or your invitation. It's simply out of a renewed respect for myself, and the people I love.

On a way different topic, a reader yesterday sent me a wonderful link - to a segment on the news. I thought you'd like to see it too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=61WkeY9Jcvw&vq=medium

Be well - I have a bit of a crazy week coming up. have to make a video, do a television interview, sign books, do a conference call, drive back and forth to the country, drive to Quebec City and spend all of next weekend at the Salon du Livres, signing. And speaking. French. Oh, and write a book.

And this is post-pledge to decline invitations. Makes you wonder what my life was like before that.

I'm an idiot.

24 comments:

danielle-momo said...

Bonne Fete Michael et bon retour!
Louise, un commentaire à Lipstick Chronicles donnait un lien qui m'a beaucoup fait penser à vous. Il y est question de vulnérabilité et de connexion :très intéressant et inspirant.
http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

Je crois que ca peut prendre une bonne dose d'énergie pour réussir à communiquer avec plein de gens en laissant transparaitre sa vulnérabilité.
Bonne semaine

Audrey said...

Oh Louise - you really know how to make a grown woman cry! I've been looking forward to FINALLY meeting you here in St. Louis (I'm the fan who has emailed you re: the French Canadian swear words vis-a-via my Catholic school training) and now all hopes are dashed. Well, I can always hold out for a "miracle" (French pronunciation). I have now blurted out all the curses you have taught me via your wonderful books, but I'm still sadly disappointed. If not St. Louis, will you be anywhere near the U.S. Midwest? Please? Guess I'll just have to come back to Quebec, eh? Though I'm crestfallen, I wish you continued good days of writing in the weeks ahead. Now I cannot say "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louise."

Colombine said...

BON ANNIVERSAIRE MICHAEL! C'est très enrichissant de profiter de la présence de vos fils à chaque année pour le fêter.

Louise, c'est très important de se préserver et se garder des moments personnels. J'ai commencé cette démarche il y a 2 ans et je ne m'en sens que mieux. Ne vous sentez pas coupable. Déjà, vous communiquez très bien et c'est bien agréable.

Je me suis créé un blogue aussi depuis 1 mois, et je réalise qui sont mes vrais amis, ceux qui m'appuient dans ma démarche d'écriture. C'est fantastique et très motivant!
Merci Louise pour tout le coaching, la motivation et l'exemple, même si vous ne le savez pas nécessairement. Oui, oui, vous êtes mon exemple. Vous avez été parachutée dans ma vie au bon moment et c'est génial!

lil Gluckstern said...

Oh Louise, You're not an idiot. You are a happy, successful, engaged woman who likes to please, and loves people. Now you need some you time. Happy birthday to Michael, and enjoy your bistro and pretend you are having a day off in Three Pines.

Anonymous said...

Please please do make room in your life for yourself and those you love. Those of us who read and reread your books know how important community, communication and place are for your wonderful characters. That is your gift to us. Honoring your private time is the least we can do for you.
Enjoy the birthday!

A. Wright said...

Given your pulling back on appearances and the fact I can't make it to B'Con this year either, I'm even more grateful I had the pleasure of meeting you and Michael at B'Con San Francisco last fall. You are both such warm and delightful people. I cherish the memory of meeting you on the stairs as I was going to the book room and you were coming from there. You both took the time to say hello and, to my surprise (I'm American remember) each of you give me a very French kiss on each cheek. We'd only meet the night before, but I was treated like an old friend. I was enchanted by you both, but I will never forget how Michael beamed when he looked at you. What a wonderful match you are. Happy Birthday, Michael. I hope to see you both again some day, at some event.

--Alice (the tall gal with the red hair)

Nikki B said...

Happy Happy Birthday Michael! I love that you (Michael) took your adventure to Toronto :)

Louise, it was such a pleasure having you 'in Ithaca' ... and despite a few choppy moments and some hide & seek video everyone did get there questions answered (well, except I am still wondering about Rosa...)

Thank you for taking some of that precious time and sharing it with us; you made a big impression on many people.

And now I hope you do get to enjoy some YOU time! It is well deserved.

Cheers!
Nikki

martha said...

I wish I were as fit as Michael. I'll be 77 in exactly five months. I was fine until my thyroid gave up, and now I am very sick.

This leads me to sing the wonders of Skype too. Our older daughter got married and we could not go to the wedding (both our daughters live in San Francisco). Still, we were there all the time! If you go to my Facebook Profile, you'll see that among all the wedding photos we "are" also there, on a chair, inside the computer screen!

You can also do more Skype talks. It is almost like being there...

And happy birthday to Michael. 77 is a good age!

P.S. I'd better not even try the glass assignment. I know what would happen (and I am weeping now....)

Martha Paley Francescato
http://mason.gmu.edu/~mfrances
blog: martisima.wordpress.com (mostly on thyroid issues and politics)

Anonymous said...

Happpy Birthday, Michael and many, many more. Louise, so glad you are taking time to BE. You are important to so many, we want you to be well and happy. You give so much for others, don't ever feel guilty about taking time to regroup.

Dana said...

It continues to amaze me that you share so generously on this blog. Thank you for that. All your fans respect that we would not have such wonderful books if you do not take care of yourself.
And many, many happy returns Michael.

Susan said...

when I was still in my practice of psychology, mostly working with women, I often used the "glass" idea...but I gave each person a certain amount of small pebbles, and asked them to consider where in their lives they would put the pebbles, using them as a finite amount of energy. It was amazing how few pebbles were left for the individual. Yes, it's good that you are able to turn down requests and try to make time for yourself. Yay! You can't do everything, but as women, we are conditioned to feel that we have to......hard to say no.
Happy Birthday to Michael.

darlene said...

Best Birthday wishes to Michael and Many Happy Returns! Please share the secret of your energy soon.

Louise, how you have the energy you do is a complete mystery to me. And how you can focus on so many things at once and write anything at all is an even greater mystery.

I'm old enough to remember when authors were rarely seen, only read. When you made it all the way to Sechelt last year I thought it was amazing you and Michael would travel so far for such an event. All of us loved your visit so much.

But I think you should be able to take as much time for yourself as you need and want without any explanation to anyone. You're just so considerate of everyone; now you need to consider yourself.

Diane said...

Wonderful news; I admire your courage for it isn't easy to turn others down, I believe we hurt more than they do.

Happy Birthday Michael. Another inspiration!

Linda said...

Dear Louise,
Please remember why you started writing in the first place. Was it so you could travel all over the place, stressing about schedules and being short of time, and away from Michael? Do what you love, and NEVER apologize! If I never meet you in person, it will be my loss, but I know you so well (I think) through your writing, that I feel ok with that. Be well.
...and, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MICHAEL!!

Linda said...

- I forgot to add... and you're no more of an idiot than the rest of us running around trying to please EVERYONE... um, maybe that didn't come out quite right... ;)

Jodi said...

Happy Birthday Michael!!!


(Louise, you're not an idiot).

Barbara said...

If you don't leave time for yourself, you won't be able to write such wonderful books for us to read so please continue to say no selectively. I have trouble finding time to write and I'm not a famous author so I can't even imagine what it's like to be you.

Laura S. Dillman said...

Louise, you are funny. I always enjoy reading your posts.

Here's a follow up to the Maria the goose story. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7361083n&tag=related;photovideo. Love this!

Linda Gray said...

Lurching from cafe to bistro to bench sounds like an excellent process! It no doubt engenders fabulous creativity and a sense of wonder that the world is, after all, still here. (At least that's what I tell myself on somewhat similar days, which seem to be many.) Congratulations on the refocus. Sounds perfect. And Happy Birthday to Michael!

Mike Faricy Author said...

Louise, So sorry to read you won't be at Bouchercon, but completely understand. On another note; my wife and I have a long distance relationship, Minnesota-Ireland, a lot of back and forth plus a lot of skype. What a lifesaver! Not to mention great on the pocket book. I'd love to see more skype events like the one you were involved in, happy writing and reading, Mike Faricy

Cyndy said...

Every time you blog, or send out your newsletter, you are having a kind of conversation with us. You are funny...and generous and while I would adore to meet you in person, I would not want to trade that fleeting minute for all these wonderful anecdotes and reflections! Here's to me time! although somehow my dog always stakes a claim on mine.
Cheers!

frouch said...

Dear Louise,

First, Happy Birthday Michael!

Second, I want to let you know that I bought and read your books in french, and I really enjoyed the translation.

Thanks for bringing so much happiness in my life.

Louise XXX

Tammy said...

Also, so distressed, was so looking forward to meeting you in STL. I even volunteered for all four days so I'd be there the whole time :-(

Tammy in STL

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends of Louise and me,Michael,
I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who wished me Happy Birthday. I've read and appreciated your every comment. You are all so supportive of my Louise. Thank you for urging her to conserve her energy, to take time for herself. I know she is disappointed to be missing Bouchcon in St Louise this year, but I support her need to do less and rest more.
I wish you all health and happiness and thank you again for supporting Louise and helping me celebrate my Birthday