Erin's Journals

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Just a thought… Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion. [Simon Sinek]

I was going to write back to everyone personally, but forgive me, I just can’t – at least not yet. My days are busy, as I’ll soon explain. So let me say here how deeply touched and hugely grateful I am if you are one of the hundred or so people who wrote after Monday’s journal with new book ideas. They ranged from a children’s book to delving more deeply into the ideas surrounding grief. Nothing yet to report…perhaps that idea of “patience” is a good one after all.

Here’s something I don’t have to wait for: Mourning Has Broken is being released by HarperCollins Canada in a soft cover version in one month and two days. February 18 (how I love eights and eighteens) is the book’s due date. And again, I thank you for making it – and so much in our lives – possible.

I realize that a great many who wanted to read the book have already bought it, but I’m told to expect the unexpected and that the book will have “legs” as they put it…as people continue to discover it. I’m grateful for that.

Just yesterday I sat in my dark little studio and talked on Skype for an hour with broadcaster Ralph Benmergui about the book, grief, our lives and so on for a podcast. It was really interesting, as his take is more spiritual than most. I’ll let you know when and where you can hear it, if you’re interested. Legs, indeed.

I’ve been spending a lot of time inside, despite the sunshine and warm temperatures beckoning out on the deck, as I continue to pursue my freelance voice work. I subscribe to a couple of sites, which put out auditions throughout the day. I look at them, see if I’m a fit, and then practically run into the studio, hook up my computer, record into it and then edit (to cut out breaths and mistakes) to send to the firm doing the hiring.

It’s laborious and not too fruitful; I get about 2 out of every 100 I try for. Even seeing that my auditions have been listened to is as much as I can hope for; a “thumbs up” or actually getting a job are icing on the cake.

I decided really to tackle this voice stuff in 2020 as a hobby more than a living. If I had to subsist on the money I get from these little jobs, I’d be panhandling near the Sonny Bono statue in downtown Palm Springs. But for now, until something really grabs hold, it’s keeping me occupied and giving me a sense of accomplishment. Even if it is just recording other people’s words and trying to give them what they want.

Mostly they are looking for younger, higher voices: listen to ads on tv or radio sometime and you’ll hear what I mean. Rob reminds me that I’ve had this older, deeper voice since he met me in my young 20s, and that I’ll never sound like that perky girl that gets so much work. But, as the saying goes, she persists.

I sometimes feel guilty for not getting out and doing more things, meeting more people and filling my time in ways that make my Fitbit not want to call 911 because it suspects I’ve fallen into a crevasse and can’t get out.

But then I think about my mom. She was a lot like me and when she spent winters in the sunny south, she’d stay inside and paint a lot of the time. Sure, she’d play some golf, or the ever-growing sport of pickle ball (kind of like tennis but with wooden paddles and a whiffle ball with holes in it, if I recall correctly).

She and Dad would socialize with my sister, brother-in-law and their friends. But mostly she quenched the creative thirst in her soul by painting. She didn’t do it to sell them or get exposure or praise; she did them to feel that she was using her gifts for her own enjoyment.

I guess, in my way, that’s what I’m doing, too. So no more guilt. (Or so I tell myself.) Besides, I’ve learned a new skill in editing (Rob always did it for me) and I really love it. My next step: learning to run my own AV for when I give my keynote speech and Rob doesn’t accompany me on the trip. I can do this…I think!

We’re feeling more fortunate than guilty to be here in the sunny climes while the palm tree outside our house in North Saanich is covered in snow. I read that Victoria broke a 49-year-old record for a single snowfall on January 15 with some 20-30 centimetres hitting the land of February flowers (19 centimetres since midnight), and then turning to rain, from Tuesday to last night. (That 1971 record included a mere 9 centimetres!)

I can’t even tell you what havoc this wreaks on a part of the country that is, for the most part, smugly and joyously unfamiliar with the white stuff. You may recall me telling you that when Rob and I moved out to the island three years ago, we didn’t even take our snow shovel with us. And it was a new one, dammit!

This is definitely the “new normal”; prior to our move out in 2016, significant snow accumulation was almost unheard of. But there’s been a significant snowfall every year since. (We’re very fortunate to have our friends Nancy and Charles looking in on our place back home to make sure everything is okay.) So yes, we’re counting our blessings here in California.

But – insane as this sounds to be leaving sun for snow – I do have a quick two-day trip to Ontario coming at the end of this month, for a special Facebook Live event that’s in the works. I’ll tell you more about it in the days to come, in case you want to join me.

We’re on a big learning curve right now, but maybe I’ll find that I enjoy stepping up onto another social media platform and we can find yet another way to be together, if you like. We shall see! Just two weeks into 2020, I’m trying to find new ways to create and to challenge myself. Now that my mind is clearer, I feel that I’m up for just about anything.

Take good care and thanks for coming by today. I’ll be back here with a fresh journal on Monday. Here’s to pursuing our passions – wherever they may lead. Even to snow.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, January 16, 2020