life in general

Writer or volunteer?

I like to think I’m a writer, but my volunteering seems to get in the way. It’s the truth. I think I might be addicted.

I’m trying to beat it. I get up at 6:00 every morning to write for an hour and a half before the morning walk. I do some exercises, make coffee, and hurry to my computer, diligently ignoring the stack of volunteer responsibilities flanking my writing desk. Yes, I’m a writer.

As I sit at my computer, the school levy referendum perches on my right shoulder. “Have you got enough people lined up to write editorials? How will you manage to deliver the road signs?” Is this obsession a sign of addiction? Oh, dear.


If that’s not enough, there’s the Lioness Education Grant program. I need to get messages to all the teachers in the county, both public and charter schools, along with grant applications and a deadline. Goodness, how things pile up. I can’t seem to stop—another sign of addiction.

Back to writing—Whew! I’ve started a sequel to my historical children’s novel, Britta’s Journey,  and I’m on chapter two. So far Britta and her Swede-Finn family have left New York City and are riding a train to Minnesota. Researching the train ride has been fascinating, but I want to know more about what the ride was like. Was it noisy? Crowded? Bumpy? How will I ever find time?

Steam engine, circa 1900, much like what pulled Britta’s train to Minnesota.

Oh, dear—the pile on the right side of my desk is pulling at me: the Art ‘Round Town banner project. We had a fiasco in the first printing of the downtown light pole banners, a striking design by local artist Jayne Richards. She silhouetted a herring fisherman pulling in his nets on a sunrise background—gold. Sadly, the design bled through our yellow banners, so I called  a board meeting the other day to resolve the issue, and we made a plan. I’ve got an e-mail out to vote on the color for our second attempt, and I’m dying to open the responses.

Art 'Round Town Banner, Grand Marais, MN, Best Small Town in America 2015
Our upcoming banner—yellow or orange background?

NO!!! That’s NOT writing! I write from 6:30 to 8:00, and that’s that. How can I call myself a writer if I spend all my time doing volunteer work? I mean, REALLY!

I got an e-mail yesterday asking for volunteers to stuff envelopes for the local radio station, and I was TEMPTED!!!! What’s wrong with me? Is it selfish to stick to my own projects? Why do I need to reach out to help everyone with…

Oh, dear! I haven’t met our new exchange student yet, and I agreed to be her liason for AFS, sort of like an auntie. That’s what it used to be in the old days when I was AFS president, but little did I know how things have changed. I’ve spent five hours filling out forms and taking online information classes, and now I have an e-mail warning me that I haven’t filed my first monthly report yet. COME ON! Give a writer a break!

Yet another commitment

I’ll never get Britta and her family to Eveleth if I don’t get cracking, and I need to focus more on marketing my new memoir as well as my other two books. Time to get organized. Three mornings to write, one to blog, and three to market. I’m posting a schedule beside my computer, and I PROMISE to stick to it. Somehow.

I AM a writer. Right? So WRITE!

Oops! I forgot to go sort children’s books for the Library Friends book sale this week, and I missed the Volunteer Fire Department STOP team meeting Wednesday night. Yup, I’m clearly addicted.


Writer or Volunteer?
A refrigerator magnet from my friends the Bale/Andersons