Tag Archives: France

Swimming in an Olympic Size Pool

For many of us, school has started. And even though we may not have school aged children, we hear the bus pull up reminding us that summer is over.

But didn’t it just start?


This is what I go through every year and yet I still seem to ask the question.

For those of you who have faithfully supported my writing venture and wondered what became of me over the last couple of months, I decided to take them off. Yes, I know I had made a new goal to be consistent, but it was summer. And besides, most everyone’s been busy with kids, summer vacations, travel and the like.

So why not take a break?

While away from the blog I took the time to catch up on things. I made great strides with my current WIP and am now two-thirds through the first draft.

I did some reading too. I love how it helps to fill up the creative well as I write.

You know, writing a novel and presenting it to the world is like playing in an Olympic size pool. There’s an awful lot of marketable competition out there.

Yes, it’s a big pool with lots of room to swim. Some may study the water first and then take the plunge, while others dive right in practically drowning from lack of experience.

(Credit: microgen E+ Getty Images)

That would be me. *waves hand* I dove right smack into the water, head first, now forced to do the backstroke. Still, I am determined to succeed and learn from others.

Thus the reading. Although, I find that just as in life, I need to be aware of those who may have the wrong influence on my stroke. The pool is filled with plenty of bad swimmers who could have a negative impact on my technique. Just because they’re published doesn’t mean they’re the best of swimmers.

Swimmers who can bring home the gold at the Olympics.

However, there are many who through much practice and skill are capable of this feat.

And one of them is Kristin Hannah.

I cannot claim to have read all of Ms. Hannah’s books. Perhaps a few to say the least. But I just finished reading her latest endeavor and oh my goodness what a story.

It’s called “The Nightingale.”
Wow, I mean wow. This book without a doubt will make history, setting a new world record in Olympic swimming, I mean writing. And it already has with worldwide distribution and a movie option.

First, I must say, that for a summer read, the story was a little heavy. And that’s okay. This was a story that obviously had to be told. But it was a fresh stroke of genius, a monumental undertaking told from a different point-of-view, proving that Kristin Hannah without question belongs in that Olympic size pool.

And may I just say how much I learned from this well-seasoned professional swimmer!

Here’s the first two sentences:

“In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.”

Not too shabby, eh?

Here’s the abbreviated premise:

France 1939.

“With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.”

That it is.

If you haven’t had the chance to read it, go now to your favorite book provider and buy it. I happen to follow Ms. Hannah on Facebook, when to my surprise, she shared a link to purchase The Nightingale for a wampum $2.99.

I know! What a deal! Score!

But I would purchase it for the full price, it is that good.

So what’s the moral of this story?

If I want to swim with the professionals, I need to remain diligent, disciplined, confident, with my eyes focused on the end goal at the other side of the Olympic size pool. Because apparently, there are no slackers swimming in the water.

Which means it’s time for me to go practice my swimming writing. ☺

So what do you think? How was your summer vacation? Did you take a break? Read an interesting book you’d like to share? Go somewhere with your family or spouse? Regroup, recover, or revive from the heat? Make any progress on your current endeavor?

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When Life Gives You Lemons…

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This is a phrase that has pulled at our psyche each time Murphy’s Law is in full swing intending to motivate us as victims. And it is because of this flaw in our nature that it has become one of the best known sayings around the world, with all its variations.

But have you ever wondered who invented the phrase?

Though it is Joan Collins of “Dynasty” fame that claims the use of the expression, more than likely it was the motivational writer and speaker Dale Carnegie who really said it first since he did live earlier than Ms. Collins.

Unfortunately it was never documented when Mr. Carnegie first uttered these words, but the original quote is said to be, “When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade” and it has transformed more recently into a more modern adaptation that is now known by the millions. It is because this phrase fits so seamlessly with the rest of Dale Carnegie’s teachings and philosophies that makes him the most likely candidate as its author.

So when we make lemonade out of lemons, it reminds us that almost anything in this world is possible. That if we take an optimistic approach when looking at things, we can expect a more positive result.

Take a look at the lemon itself. Though it starts out as sour fruit, its main use can be turned into a positive flavoring agent in foods such as fish, salads and sauces. Actually in Italy you will find that its primary growth is for the consumption of a cold refreshing zesty liqueur called Limoncello. As you drive along the Amalfi coastline there are literally groves upon groves of lemon trees hugging the vast seaside hills that surround the many cliffside villages overlooking the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea.

And if we were to travel to an area in the southeastern part of France along the exquisite French Riviera known for its infamous beauty, there is a quaint little town called Menton that makes lemon floats.

Lemon floats you say? Is that like a root beer float? Uh, no.

It seems the area that encompasses the city of Menton grows so many lemons that they celebrate every year with a “Lemon Festival” featuring floats and displays decorated with lemons and other citrus fruits. It’s similar to the floats made for the Rose Parade only with lemons.

Take a look at these lemon-laced exhibits showcased at this year’s festival event.

So when life hands you a lemon…

That is, if something were to happen to you that you don’t like…use the next time to make something out of it that you do like. Such as…

Make Lemonade!

• L – Laughter – it’s the best medicine.

• E – Embrace others and surround yourself with those who want you to thrive.

• M – Move forward with fixed focus making a tangible difference everyday.

• O – Open your mind and your heart.

• N – Notice all the things in your life to be grateful for.

• A – Adjust your attitude and expectations.

• D – Decide to challenge your circumstances and do things for others.

• E – Evaluate your actions instead of blaming others avoiding “victim” mode.

Yes, make lemonade out of the lemons in your life!

So what do you think? How do you view the many lemons in your life? When life throws you a lemon, what inspires you to make lemonade? And what do you find floats your lemon float?
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Thank you for your many thoughts and fine comments everyone!


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