Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Story Behind The Story

Happy New Year everyone!  What does this time of year mean to

The new year brings  a chance for me to look back at  who I  was a year ago  and examine   and understand my journey up to this moment of time.  By  understanding  the past, we can open up  to the   future and  embrace   the next  exciting chapter of life.  

Polls report that only one-third of us make new year resolutions, and that  the 70% of us who do, believe that our lives  next year will remain the same, neither  getting better, nor getting worse. No wonder our resolutions never come to fruition!

Life is too precious to only  exist, to be  static. I want to look forward to tomorrow. I want  more -- more adventure  and more excitement.  I want to give more,  meet more strangers and get to know them.  Most of all, I want  to make a difference.


Whether some one is a farmer , or barber or long haul trucker, we all struggle through life’s  challenges and changes. How do some of us learn to rise up and thrive while others only exist?  How did someone like me who worked as a pet groomer since the age of eleven, become the author of six books, to date?   

As I relate  my newest blog series, “The Story Behind  The Story,” it is my hope that we  all might connect on some level.

Enjoy my musings and “The Story Behind The Story.”  in the process, I hope you might gain understanding and encouragement for your own journey.

The Story Behind The Story
                   Coast To Coast With A Cat And A Ghost 

The Story Behind The 

Although 80% of the public have considered writing a book,  the thought never entered my mind.  I had things to say, but those jumbled ideas  swarmed  inside my head, like ping pong balls ricocheting  around in a lottery machine. Whatever kind of lucky number  destined to roll out in front of me, becoming  an author had never been a consideration.  2010 found me content with my life, contemplating  retirement from my pet grooming business. Anticipating  the free time,  I signed up for  a creative writing class.  I thought it would be fun.

 The  first exercise in my creative writing class was to write for ten minutes about the color red.  The task  perplexed me. What could any one  say about the color red for ten minutes? But striving to be a good student, I put my pen to paper and began.

 An amazing thing happened!  When I sat down to write, the words, the stories, the books  ---they had all been there in my mind, waiting for me to access them. They flooded  out onto the paper like a flash flood busting loose from its dam.  I was on my way.

Maybe it is not writing you dream about. Perhaps you have toyed with another passion which  seems just as foolish.  Sit down. Paint that landscape, or take a woodworking class or volunteer at your  child’ school .  What ever your  niggling desire, feed it. You will be inspired.

I intended  Coast To Coast With A Cat And A Ghost  to  be an adventurous  travel log,  a how to book of a widow woman traveling in a motorhome across country  with her cat.


A quiet  voice guided me as I wrote Coast To Coast With A Cat And A Ghost.  Today I  believe  the guidance  came from something bigger and  more knowing  than me.   The messages  come  in  a friend’s advice, “You ought to write a book about that,”  or from  a passerby who says, "You have inspired me," or sometimes it is a feeling. 

No matter that no one else hears, it only matters that I  hear the guidance.

The voice has grown  stronger, louder. It no longer  lives in my head but has taken  up residence   in my heart.   When I am afraid and  feeling too vulnerable  to pour out  my secrets on paper,  the voice assures me that the story I am writing  is not mine , but instead, it belongs to everyone. And so, I trudge on.

 When I wrote Coast To Coast   I had only  wanted the story to be a simple  travel log. Yet, this  driving  force in my head and now my heart,   insisted that the story was bigger than I imagined -- that it was  a story to  instill hope in others, a story to make the rough  road others  traveled a little smoother.  This passion which pushes me onward insisted that the story be one which will make a difference.

As I wrote,  the real story evolved. The tale did not focus on the negative aspects -- the physical  challenges of  a lonely  widow,  facing unknown obstacles.  Instead the message  zeroed in on  my reactions to the fears and doubts as I  confronted them.  

The message became, "Life’s challenges  mold us." If  we can find the fortitude to keep on, we  will survive and evolve courageous  and strong .

Today I have the faith and am encouraged   that tomorrow’s adventures will change me.   Nothing ever stays the same. There is no status quo.

 If I  express who I am, I  blossom. I  heal.  I  become more. And most important,  through my expression  I help others to find their way.


Janice’s older sister, Margaret, wanted to believe that the L.A. doctors at Cedars Sinai Medical Center held a magical deck of cards, but after eight years of treatment they dealt their final card. The Hospice card. No miracles for Margaret. Janice reassures her big sister she will be there, holding her hand every step of the way.

On a death watch, you get to know things about a person you wish you didn’t. It is like a roller coaster ride. And like most rides, it brings us back to the place we began, reminding us of who we were and who we have become.

The twists and turns of Janice’s emotional journey transports her back through the repercussions of her teen pregnancy and into the present estrangement from her daughter, whom she has not heard from for the last sixteen years.

Coming to terms with the grief of losing her sweet Margaret, and dealing with her fear of a lonely future is too much for Janice to imagine. When Margaret’s soul goes to rest in L.A. heaven, how will Janice face the emptiness? Will there be such a thing as a Grieving Gift?

Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.

Oh, and don’t forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep writers motivated.


Other books by Judy Howard: JUDY’S AMAZON  AUTHOR  PAGE

Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.

Safe travels!

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