Thursday, February 21, 2013

Your Last Day on the Planet

I took this photograph on a chilly morning in 2009 of the Potomac River at Great Falls on the Virginia side. To get this fantastic shot of the falls, I had to sneak over the fence and stand on a rock. It was worth the risk. The large rock was flat and dry, so I was safe and my girlfriend behind me had a death grip on the belt loops of my jeans!

My friend N kept telling me I was nuts for trying that stunt and after taking a dozen shots, she let go of one belt loop and handed me her camera, saying "Take one for me!" So, I took one for the team :)

If you're looking for majesty and incredible views, visit Great Falls. If you're feeling too big for your britches, the Falls will leave you breathless and amazed. You will feel like a droplet of water, very small compared to the grandeur in front of you. The river and the falls are a treat for the senses, all of them.

Our favorite things to do was to have breakfast at Great Falls the minute the park opened. We'd pack a breakfast of hot coffee, boiled eggs, cheese and a baguette which we enjoyed sitting on a rock overlooking the Falls. My friend would read the Koran and I'd read pages from my daily devotional. To say that the views and sounds of that spot reach your emotional, mental, spiritual and physical places is pure truth.

A favorite photograph of my friend N is one I took of her in our spot reading the Koran. It's not one I will share with you. The memories and that photograph are precious to me because this friend, my best friend of 37 years, had a major stroke eight months ago. At this time, she doesn't speak nor can she walk. We communicate with our eyes and by touch. I tell her stories and remind her of the many road trips and trips we took together over the years. N doesn't respond or reply, but I know she remembers. Her eyes tell me that she's present and listening.

I visited N in the nursing home during my last visit to Virginia. My heart warms and breaks all over again when I see her. After sharing a beautiful weekend with my children and my friend N's only daughter and two grandchildren who miss her so much, I had ten rejection emails in my In Box from agents I'd queried before I left. "C'est la vie", I said to myself as N came to mind. This morning, I had three more rejections. I shrugged and immediately filed them away in a file I've titled "N".  What can you do? It's all in a writer's day and I accept it.

I'm alive, healthy and happy, thank God and so are my children. I've spent years writing and editing my novel, A Decent Woman and I've already begun writing my second book, Finding Grace. It's all about the writing and the writing life to me. I'll keep querying agents and filing those rejections because this isn't life and death to me. I love writing books and will continue to write and send out queries. I'll see my book published one way or another...for N.

Putting things back into perspective back in West Virginia. This morning I ponder the hundreds of thousands of wonderful books out there that will never be in print. I think of writers who have just given up and I'm not going to be one of them. I tell myself to hang in there and I'm telling you, too. Keep writing as if today were your last day on this planet.

Peace and love,


  1. This was beautiful, Ellie! That photo is stunning, and I would have risked it all to capture that shot. And now, you're left with a great memory to go along with that photo.

    Keep writing, and let me know when that book is published! I will be in line to buy a copy! :)

  2. Great photo!!! I admire your resolve and positive attitude. A chilly afternoon in Motown with snow on the way (1-2 inches) for tomorrow. Stay warm. Love - Jasmine

    1. Hi Ash! Thank you, girlfriend :) I'll def keep up with you through FB :) SO excited for you that I'm actually counting down the days here in WV! LOL!

    2. Hi Jasmine! No snow here, thank goodness! I'm over winter and now want to get my hands dirty in my garden :) Stay warm in Motown, girlfriend!