Tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness, it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humanity.
-Pope Francis

I like this quote because of how Pope Francis equates tenderness with fortitude. He has been sharing a message about the “revolution of tenderness” for a few years now, especially toward refugees but also toward all people encountering hardship, and in response to the vitriol of current political word wars. 

“Tenderness" gives me a nice segue to Mother’s Day. Our two gorgeous kids (and their delightful, significant partners) took us out of our routine over the past two weekends with in-person visits. We went to Flagstaff to see Eric and Angie last week; Cristina and Jay made the 4-hour drive from Kansas City for Mother’s Day. Juan made us a quiche and jalapeño-bacon brunch, which enticed my Mom to come over too. 

You can see why my cup runneth over. (And why this blog is much shorter this week!)

Update to steps on exploring writing a book
Writing 30 minutes/day: Today is Day 71. It’s a good stretch but I am finding that writing at night yields little worth saving. This next week I’m making a concerted effort to write in the morning to see if there’s a difference,

Finding comps: One of the assignments of the mastermind creative class I’m taking is to identify recently published authors who may be similar to the book I’d like to write. The comparative writers I’ve chosen so far: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner, The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck, The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford, The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff, The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson, and America’s First Daughterby Stephanie Dray. It’s like following a bunny trail to try to do this research on Amazon where I look up reviews of “recommended books." In general, this list is all historical fiction with female protagonists. 

Read similar authors:  I’m also reading books that I think could be similar to the genre I’m interested in. This week it’s a fascinating novel about Russian writers during Stalin’s regime, Mikhail and Margarita by Julie Lekstrom Himes. The context for its betrayal, censorship and love is new to me and takes place during the oppressive systemic intensity and pressure the artistic community lived under at that time. 

This leads me to a final idea from a character that at first appeared intense and scary, but later proved otherwise:

The bravest are the most tender; the loving are the daring.

Bayard Taylor, author of Beauty and the Beast

May you be beastly this week!