Sometimes I get hung up in the minutia of day-to-day living. The work I do at my day job. Whether I’m writing. Whether I’m not writing. Whether I’m working towards my goals. Whether I’m not working towards my goals. Whether I just want to say I have goals, but I don’t really want to work towards them. Details.

But every once in a while, life or God or the universe or whatever you want to call it, slaps you upside the head so you’ll pay attention. That’s when you get down to the basics.

So, last week when I was driving home in a blizzard-like conditions on untreated roads because I had to deliver groceries to my elderly mother, I was not thinking about my goals.

While I listened to the tree branches popping and breaking all around my house, when I looked at the 60-70 foot cedars and spruces bowing under the weight of the snow, when I realized that the 90 foot oak across the street was bent almost double, I was not thinking about bad reviews or my Goodreads rating.

When the power went out and it was cold and dark and quiet, except for the wind and the breaking branches, I was looking for light anywhere, not worrying about NANORIMO. When I realized that my mother’s electricity was off as well, and her cable digital phone was dead, and the only thing she had for communication was a cell phone she does not diligently charge, I was not thinking about my author brand or the fact that I didn’t have an internet connection.

When I was trying to think of how I could help my mother stay warm and what I could take her to eat, when I was wondering what I would eat myself, when I was wondering if we’d both have to abandon our houses and I’d have to leave my animals and find someplace with a little warmth, I was not worried about the fact that I’m still working on my next book.

Stephen King said in his book ON WRITING that “art does not support life, life supports art”, or something to that effect. And I think he’s right. Because when it came right down to it, life won. The bare essentials of survival won. Heat, shelter, food, and family won. Last week, life pushed the reset button for a lot of people here in southeastern Pennsylvania, and everything else became meaningless.

But now the power is on again. Now that there is warmth and food again. Now my family is safe again.

Writing is not an essential of life. Warmth and food and shelter and family and friends and love are essentials of life. But I’ve realized that for me, writing is part of the magic of life. It is something I enjoy, something that I love.

And now that the reset button has been pushed, I can once again see how incredibly fortunate I am to live a day-to-day life where I have the opportunity to do it.

It’s all about perspective.



  1. another winner, my friend

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Laryn: Thanks! I know it was nothing compared to what you’ve been through, and it’s nothing compared to what my Compassion kids live every day, but it still makes you think… 🙂

  2. Well put!!!

    I’m glad your life is back to normal 🙂

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