Thursday, May 22, 2014

…joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5: Liz Flaherty

Both Betty Smith and P. G. Wodehouse used Joy in the Morning as a book title, or I surely would have. Or I would have used it for the newspaper column I wrote for years, or at the top of my blog on my website, or as the title to my memoir. Not that I’m going to write a memoir, but if I were…

I’ve always loved mornings, but until I went to work for the post office in 1981, I didn’t fully realize how much of a morning person I was. When the job started, I was horrified to learn that my workday would start at 4:45 AM, especially since I had to drive 28 miles to get there. I wondered how I would survive getting up at 3:15 six days a week, especially since life as a wife and mother generally kept me up until 11:00 or so.


It was easy. Not the job—that never got easy—but I found that pre-dawn mornings are my most productive times. They are, whether I’m writing or sitting on the porch with tea or folding towels in the laundry room, my favorite time of day. I was still working when I wrote One More Summer, my fifth book and the one probably still closest to my heart. My start time at work was 5:15 by then, and I would get up at 3:00 to get an hour’s writing time in.


Years and several books later, I’m still an early riser. I’m usually in the office with my tea by 7:00. I’m not a word- or page-counter anymore. I write much slower than I used to, and I’ve learned to take what I can get as far as productivity goes.


But sometimes…just sometimes…the words come faster than I can type. My cup sits empty because I don’t want to take the time to fill it. If the phone rings, I am irritated by it because I’m not someone who can let it go unanswered. I find myself laughing aloud at things I have written, or mopping away tears at others. My internal editor, the most annoying entity in the world, is either silent or off bothering someone else.


This is the magic time, the time that makes writers keep writing on the days they hate it, the days they can’t write a publishable word, and the days when rejection has been the name of the game. It is a time of indescribable joy, and for people like me, it comes—as promised in Psalms—in the morning.



Retired from the post office, Liz Flaherty spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else she wants to. She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…37 years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening!

She’d love to hear from you at lizkflaherty@gmail.com or please come and see her at:





ORDER LIZ'S NEWEST BOOK, THE GIRLS OF TONSIL LAKE FROM AMAZON



15 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me here to share your celebration of joy, Cheryl!

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    1. Thank YOU, Liz! I just love that picture of you with a huge smile--now that's joy. :-)

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  2. Joy--one of my favorite things. Even my dog is named Joy, and I didn't name her! Thanks, Cheryl, for your celebration of joy! And thanks for having Liz Flaherty visit--I always like hearing what she has to say.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Judith. I love that your dog is named Joy. :-)

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  3. Mornings are my favorite time as well. Cool, quiet solitude. I think we're sisters at heart.
    For anyone who hasn't read The Girls Of Tonsil Lake, you absolutely must!

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    1. I think we are, too, Sandy. Thank you so much for stopping by and for the shout-out on the book!

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  4. I admire early morning people. I am not one. I have tried, but failed miserably. Occasionally, I've had days when I've been up at or before dawn, and they've been good ones. I do love that tranquil feeling. But when I try to intentionally rise early, it doesn't always work. But Joy--I do like! Even saying that makes me smile and my heart perk up. Love the post!! Barb Bettis

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    1. My husband is naturally a night person--he could easily stay up till at least 3 AM every night--but he loves morning, too, so has trained himself to get up fairly early almost every day. I don't think I could do that!

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  5. Oh, Liz! I am so not a morning person. I'm a night owl. I get the most done after ten, until about 1:00 AM!

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    1. I would to go to bed at midnight and get up at 5 AM every day, but whoever said I'd need less sleep now than I used to lied! Regardless of how late I stay up, though, my brain's on inactive status after 6 PM. :-)

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  6. I always *WISH* I was a morning person. I like to stay up late, which is not conducive to early mornings. I have to retrain myself over and over to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier.

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    1. I'd love to be able to burn the candle (brightly) at both ends, but it just doesn't happen for me anymore!

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  7. Liz, I identified with much in your words. But I am not a morning person at all. The joy that strikes me in the morning is that any darkness of the previous night is gone.... I tried writing long hand in the morning -- those pages when creative comes out for some writers... I've tried sitting at my computer first thing. Nope. my mind has to wake up, and that happens about 10:00. Any time earlier, I function but I don't remember much...
    on a personal note, we moved into our acreage home in 1977 as well. Sure hear what you're sayin' on that subject!

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    1. LOL. When my daughter and her husband bought their present home a couple of years ago, they referred to it (and still do) as their "die-in house." Looking around at 37 years' accrual, that makes perfect sense to me!

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