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  • Leanne W. Smith

What made maggie rent the cabin?

Hope.


“I’ve only rented the cabin for a few days. You’ve got Mark. Cal’s engaged. I’m not abandoning you.”


“But it’s Christmas, Mom!”


“I’ll be here Christmas Day and head to the cabin the day after.”


“For how long?”


“Through the following Monday, day after New Year’s.”


Like Maggie in my latest book, Alone in a Cabin, I end the year clinging to hope.


The idea to rent the cabin had come to her at Thanksgiving. Maggie was still getting used to the smaller kitchen of the condo, and parking wasn’t easy downtown, so she didn’t invite the larger circle of family and friends to join them. Just a quiet meal with Cal and Yvette, Robbie and Mark, followed by a visit to her mother in the nursing home who, with the dementia, didn’t know not to ask about Tom.


Even as a child, I was dreamy.


In junior high and high school more than one friend called me spacey. Back then it hurt my feelings, but in more recent years I own it, only I use words like contemplative. Being contemplative, I tell myself, makes me a better writer.


This week, as I’ve contemplated all that 2021 was and all that 2022 promises, I keep coming back to the word significance. I like to have a word—a guiding principle—each year. Probably because I’m contemplative. So in 2022 my goal is to sift personal habits, decisions, and content through the sieve of significance.



The dictionary built into my MacBook Pro says that significance is “the quality of being worthy of attention.” I want to pay closer attention to the things that matter most.


Life is unpredictable, painful at times, and precious. I want to live it with intention, and I want all that I put my hand and heart to, to be worthy of the attention I give it.


My wish for you is the same.


"There is a spirit in every home that meets us at the door. Sometimes it’s waiting on the porch." -Alone in a Cabin


Do you wish you had rented a cabin for the week between Christmas and New Year’s? Maybe you did! Maybe the rustic walls of a cabin are soothing your soul right now.


If you're not in a cabin, you can read about one. Now is a great time. The highest action points in Alone in a Cabin happen the week between Christmas and New Year’s.


Reading is also one of the more pleasant ways to pass the time if you are recovering from illness/injury or isolating in quarantine. Download it for your Kindle if you don't want to wait on a sluggish supply chain, or pick it up from your local bookstore (like Parnassus) if you like to hold the pages in your hands.


Leaving Independence, A Contradiction to His Pride, and Reviews


If you've already read Alone in a Cabin but missed one of my first two books, those are still available. They make good gifts, even post-Christmas, and they make great companions for coffee, blankets, and legs curled up on couches.


Reviews are needed. Reviews are welcome. Reviews are helpful.


If you haven’t posted a review of Cabin, LI or Contradiction, those help other readers know if their time/money would be well-spent. Reviews also help books appear more often in algorithms on Amazon, which of course helps sales. Social media “likes” and “shares” are, of course, also much appreciated.


For the month of January, Leaving Independence will be featured as a $0.99 Kindle deal on Amazon marketplace. So…if you joined a book club for the coming year, you could gift an e-copy to the whole group for quite a bargain! How often does that happen?


Thought you might like to know...


What I’m reading: I just finished Patricia Bradley’s Crosshairs (I knew that reporter was trouble!) and started Wendell Berrry's Jayber Crow. I read Melody Beattie's Make Miracles in Forty Days and it is therapy I didn't even know I needed. I also watched the new Sandra Bullock movie, The Unforgivable, on Netflix and can't remember when a movie affected me so.


What I’m writing: The project I'm currently working on is Tales from Marston County, a collection of short stories from the fictional county that first appears in Leaving Independence, and holds that magical cabin Maggie discovers in the modern day.


What I’m teaching: The job search process, and that “A career plan starts with a life plan." It is a good idea to revisit your life plan annually, on a day like January 1st.


What I’m loving: Sunshine in winter. Molasses cookies and apple butter. New bars of sweet-smelling soap. Dried herbs. Fragrant candles. And time to ponder.


May the coming year be one of significance for each of us.

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