It is the Ides of March.  Most of us are beginning to voluntarily self- isolate/quarantine ourselves and our families in hopes of containing the disease COVID-19, AKA: the coronavirus. I am so sorry for my fellow authors who have had to cancel their appearances. My apologies to all my April events that I cancelled. We are all disappointed.  

I’m also sorry for all those dealing with cancelled schools, programs, conferences, etc., as well as for those financially effected by the cancellations. Most of us have never lived through an experience of community isolation. When you ask, “the greatest generation,” they often share wisdom. My 93 year-old-mother in law told me about how, when she was young, there was a polio scare. Think Franklin Roosevelt. Everyone stayed home back in the day of no internet.  She said they all just “made do.” And now, so must we. We are being challenged to act in good faith, be responsible for the community well-being. But what to do with so much time at home?

This experience reminds me of days back when I was pregnant, and the doctor put me on forced bed rest for a few months. It was a shock. I had to leave my career as a teacher. I had little extra money as my husband was a medical resident, so first we exhausted the generosity of my mother and mother-in-law to help with the housework and care for my five-year-old daughter. My church found a kind woman who volunteered to help me. I learned then of the kindness of strangers in times of trouble.  

At first, I felt sorry for myself. I was stuck in bed for a few months with no control over my home, my job. Then my psychiatrist husband took the television out of my bedroom. I was furious! “What am I going to do?” He said to me, “Mary Alice, for as long as I’ve known you, you’ve wanted to write a novel, but you didn’t have the time. Now you have the time.” He gave me a yellow pad and a pen.

I wrote the first draft of my first novel during those few months.  It took a while for that book to be completed, polished and submitted—but it sold! My life was changed forever. I gave birth to a baby—and a book! 

I learned a valuable lesson.  What can seem an obstacle can, in fact, be an opportunity. Saying “yes!” to the universe brings rewards. The window is opened to possibilities. Saying “no!” with fear shuts the window and only creates fear and inaction.  

So, I ask you… What can you do to see this gift of forced time at home as an opportunity?  Do you have a project you’ve been eager to try but had no time? Now you have time! What would you love to have finished at the end of the next fourteen days? A project, or a book pile to get through, cleaning closets, painting a room, learning how to play the guitar, write a book, or garden? You have two glorious weeks.  Don’t waste it sitting in front of the computer or television. Carpe diem!

 

13 Comments

  1. Dee Clark on March 17, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Beautiful Mary Alice❣️❣️
    The first book was The Long Road Home correct🤔. Were you pregnant with Zack🤔

    • Veronica Watson on April 25, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      Hi Mary, I have on Ocean Blvd preordered but the only one I haven’t read is Summer Guests, so was just wondering if there are key things I need to know to be caught up.

      • Mary Alice Monroe on April 28, 2020 at 3:25 pm

        Hi Veronica,
        The Summer Guests isn’t an official part of The Beach House Series, but there was a major development in the storyline of Cara and David. Such a powerful scene! It’s not essential to know it before reading On Ocean Boulevard, but it’s such an enjoyable read if you do get a chance to read it before you read the new book. You’ll enjoy it, no matter what! Thanks for writing to me.

  2. Lynda Horrocks on March 17, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    Good words. God gave me a mind and i will use it to do word searches and games. I love to read, so i can get into books and let my mind wonder thru the pages.
    I am also moving. Lots to do as we settle into a new home.
    I also enjoy face timing with friends and relatives.
    This too shall pass and we will be stronger for it!

    • Mary Alice Monroe on March 18, 2020 at 11:41 am

      You have a great attitude! Thank you for your comments and suggestions too. Wishing you a smooth move to your new home.

    • Sharon Inman on March 18, 2020 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks for sharing this. I am currently rereading all the beach house series in preparation for On Ocean Boulevard. Can’t wait!

  3. Jean Lewis on March 18, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Thank you so much for writing this post. So inspirational. We all have been guilty of saying we don’t have any time. Well, now we do. I am sorry you have had to cancel your tour and will miss seeing you. But I am thrilled with the new book and will be telling every single soul about how amazing it is. Cheers.

  4. Teresa Willis on March 21, 2020 at 8:30 am

    I am still working three days a week, at least this week. When not working, I am enjoying the time at home without all the busyness. I am glad I can still leave the house and have time with my precious new grandson. One day, we will all look back and see what we gained from this forced time of stillness.

    • Mary Alice Monroe on March 24, 2020 at 11:11 am

      So true!

  5. Angie K. Love on August 26, 2020 at 5:35 am

    Dear Mary Alice,

    I just read the last page of The Summer Wind, and, not yet wanting to part with your words and turn off my light to go to sleep, I came to your blog.

    Thank you for sharing this piece of your story. Like you, I have always wanted to write a book, but life kept me busy with many other things. I thought I’d write my first book by the time I was 30, but that didn’t come to pass. I did manage to finish the first draft of my novel by my 40th birthday in the Spring of last year and was proud of that accomplishment. Then I realized how much more work still lay ahead. 😅

    Who knew the covid quarantine would be so much longer than two weeks when you wrote this post… It was not an easy time, but it did give me the opportunity to make a lot of headway on my book and complete my 4th draft, which was a huge blessing. Who knows how much longer it will be until my novel sees the printed light of day, but it will happen. 😄📖✨🙏🏼

    Well, I wanted to let you know what an inspiration you’ve been. Your writing is captivating and beautiful and holds deep healing. I have always been a great believer in the healing power of story. 🙏🏼

    I was in awe when I saw that you had published 23 novels! I’ve been working on my first novel for 5 years now. 😅 (With a bit of a hiatus.)

    I am thrilled there are plenty more books in your collection for me to read!! I already have The Summer’s End lines you, and I’d get started on it right now if it wasn’t 2:30 am! 😅

    Thank you for sharing your gift, Mary Alice. I have more respect than ever for authors and all the work that goes into bringing a book to life. 🙏🏼

    I look forward to continued reading and hope you are navigating these powerfully transformational times with as much ease as possible,

    Angie ~

    • Mary Alice Monroe on August 26, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      Angie,
      Thank you for taking the time to write to me. Your comments mean so much to me. Bravo on your hard work! Keep writing and reading.

      • Angie K. Love on August 27, 2020 at 4:33 am

        Aww, thank you so much, Mary Alice! 🙏🏼

        I’m glad I thought to check back here, because I didn’t get an email notification about your reply to my comment.

        I’m just starting on chapter 2 of The Summer’s End. Should get to sleep, but I think I will read one more chapter. 😉 That is a sign of a truly great book! Can’t put it down! Your writing is so captivating and rich in nuance. I love how you describe the scents and sounds and sights of the lowcountry. Makes me want to stay at Sea Breeze!

        I visited Virginia and North Carolina once when I was 16. That’s the closest I’ve gotten. My childhood summer memories are of my grandparents’ summer home on the Atlantic coast in France. A very special place for me that holds treasured memories, and your books remind me of it. The ocean was my first true love. I grew up far from the ocean, in Southern Germany, and my annual visits to the beach always made my heart swell.

        Now I live in Northern California, close to the Pacific (though a bit of a drive from it). A different kind of ocean energy – beautiful in its own way.

        I shall visit the lowcountry some day. 🌊🙏🏼

        My greatest dream has always been to be a published writer and have the freedom to take my work with me as I move about the world. I’m still holding that vision. 📖✨🙏🏼 In the meantime, my work as an Acupuncturist has been no less rewarding – just has kept me more tightly bound to one location.

        Blessings to you. ✨

        • Angie K. Love on September 4, 2020 at 2:34 am

          I think The Summer’s End is my favorite yet in the series. It resonates with me in so many ways, and I feel it very viscerally.

          You are a wonderful writer, Mary Alice. Thank you for sharing your gift. 🙏🏼📖✨

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