How Did February Slide By Me?

Valerie Anne Burns
5 min readMar 3, 2023

Yesterday was the last day of the acknowledgement of love month, and I missed getting a blog accomplished. Perhaps February 14 is part of the reason. Ha. February flew by in a fog of endless tasks, lit agent queries, writing submissions to continue the cycle of rejection/acceptance/rejection, beginning a new writing class at SBCC, both friend and personal drama, as well as a mountain of appointments. Just life as I know it or perhaps how WE know it to be?

As a kid, parents always speak about how fast time flies. It seemed so silly and annoying at the time. Truth is, I’m stopped frozen in my tracks when something is pointed out to me and discover that it occurred 10 years ago. Then, I panic thinking of how I’ve lost so much time with challenge and health crisis. More importantly, I think about all the dreams I still hope and plan to manifest. I’m forever chasing a speeding train but once in a while, a dream is lived, enjoyed, and appreciated.

Having a purpose with my workshop, “Living and Healing Through Color” at retreats in Tuscany and the Dominican Republic for breast cancer survivors and writing a blog in Rome this past fall for the same nonprofit, has been a grand highlight. I continue to spin plates and cobble together miracles to create more of the same. It’s a big world out there and when one lives on their own with a writing life that is also solitary, adventure is not just a desire, but nearly a determined, if not frenzied pursuit. I am so comfortable and at home in Europe.

Tellaro, Italy

Having a purpose with my workshop, “Living and Healing Through Color” at retreats in Tuscany and the Dominican Republic for breast cancer survivors and writing a blog in Rome this past fall for the same nonprofit, has been a grand highlight. I continue to spin plates and cobble together miracles to create more of the same. It’s a big world out there and when one lives on their own with a writing life that is also solitary, adventure is not just a desire, but nearly a determined, if not frenzied pursuit. I am so comfortable and at home in Europe.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about a writing career and the hard work writers are capable of and the thick skin we must develop to withstand the rejection and minimal money made. Usually. It would seem that most of the creative pursuits are the same. You really have to love it to have the staying power and discipline it requires to stay in the artistic game. It is the hardest work I’ve ever done and it’s one thing to be a writer and a whole other thing to be a good or great writer. It is rewarding and satisfying. The rejection is tough though. When all things in life begin to pile up and another rejection floats in, I am happy to crawl into bed with my kitty and Stephen Colbert.

Recently, a fellow-writer said to me that I need to take pause in how well I’ve done to be published 8 times. I try to do just that. I’ve had seven essays from my book published and a poem recently published but can’t seem to get arrested on getting my book published. What really stings is to have read several memoirs that have been represented by agents and recently published in a trend of a common denominator, and that common denominator is a salacious tone throughout. Hard core drugs, sexual abuse, sex workers, sex parties, and recovery… all in the same book. While I wrote about love, sex, and a sad reality of early molestation, my book is tame in comparison

I am someone who was born into abandonment and, yet, for my entire adult life, have chosen creative careers and work that have enormous odds against success. Window dresser, working in Hollywood film biz, and my own business post-divorce as a makeover specialist for home and wardrobe to name the primary ones. I can honestly say, that I had expertise and chutzpah in all these positions but no real promotion or worthy salary. As a young person, I flailed on my own with little to no parental guidance. Had my mother lived, it may have been different. I can’t recall a time when I was truly encouraged or believed in. I know my dad was aware that I was smart and savvy but the only thing I remember him saying after high school was, “Don’t get married until you’re thirty.” And, “See the world.” My stepmother had no clue who I was and couldn’t have been further from being seen by her. Creative endeavors is all I could gravitate toward. As I’ve reflected the last few days of February, I think it has had to do with a desire to find a tribe and intriguing collaboration but mostly, it is to do with a burning need to express myself . And writing is a capsuled space I can express myself like no other place I know of.

But it is a reinvention. Writing didn’t become my main focus until after being diagnosed with breast cancer, all but losing my business and turning sixty. It might be a crazy move, but a guided one. It is

for sure, a courageous one. A new chapter in life is always a positive move. It can feel as though you’ve come up for air from the deep.

Are you in a new life chapter or contemplating one? Feel free to get in touch with me if you desire a conversation from one who knows what the leap is like. February may have slipped by me but we can all look forward to the opened blossoms of spring.

BTW — Check out my book and publication tab on this site to see and read my latest publications.

Keep on swimming through life,

Valerie Anne

https://www.valerieanneburns.com/

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Valerie Anne Burns

Author of Caution: Mermaid Crossing, Voyages of a Motherless Daughter”; Blogger; Breast Cancer Survivor; Hollywood Survivor; Workshop Leader; & Beauty Seeker.