‘if you just had the time’ contest: win an advance copy

TOMORROW’S A BIG DAY: I MAKE MY FIRST MINI BOOK ROADTRIP, to visit with members of New England Independent Booksellers Association and officially begin promotional activities for “And I Shall Have Some Peace There.” The booksellers at the trade event will get to read a galley of “Peace.” Would you like to get your hands on a copy now, too, months before it’s “out”? Let’s mark the kickoff together with a giveaway: a chance to win a so-called Advance Reading Copy—not something you can even buy, and in very short supply! How to enter:

Entries must take the form of a comment that answers this question (or tries to, since it’s something I pondered a long time before moving to my garden to start writing again at the end of 2007):

Did you ever want to just walk away—push back your desk chair and do something else, whether every day or just another day or two a week? What would it be?

The Rules

Entries close midnight Friday, October 8, with winners announced Saturday.

For a chance in the truly random drawing (I’ll use the tool at random [dot] org to pick the winner) you must:

  • comment below, and also,
  • be a subscriber to my free garden email newsletter.

It’s easy to sign up for the latter if you haven’t already, and costs nothing, and here’s what it’s like in case you are worried I’m a spammer.

After I draw the winner, I’ll verify that he or she is, in fact, a subscriber…if not, I’ll draw again.

I know, that Margaret, she always wants something, right? Well, not really—there are no ads on my sites, and even if you do sign up to qualify to enter, you can always unsubscribe if the next issue’s not to your taste. But I do want to spread the word about what I do: my garden writing, my new book, and other projects I’m excited about and hope like-minded people will enjoy. The newsletter helps me do that.

So tell us: What would you do, if you just had the time?

IF YOU NEED HELP getting the pondering started, you could watch the book’s “trailer” video, or read about my story. But I have a hunch you know what I’m talking about: just wanting a little more time each day, week, year to find some peace.

Categoriesmy memoir
  1. Tor says:

    I’d be my own boss. I’d write. I’d photograph. I’d garden. I’d practice yoga. I’d make art. I’d read. I’d take my dogs for a walk in the morning, and again in the evening. I’d breathe in the sea air every day. I’d be active. I’d be my own small brand. I’d (occasionally) sit at my desk in front of my computer in my (shed) office with my cat on my lap, working on my stuff to make my living. For the rest of the time I’d be outside.

  2. Tracy says:

    I would find a bungalow within walking distance of the library and market, with a sunny space for vegetables and a shady nook for ferns and hellebores. I would bake enough bread for all of the neighbors, volunteer in literacy programs, and read, read read.

  3. Johanna says:

    If I had time, I would go spend a few months with my grandmother.
    She’s turning 86 this month, and she’s the most important person in the world to me.
    I know she won’t be around forever, so I would want to make sure I have a chance, sometime, to ask her questions. Hear her stories. Ask her about growing up in Scotland during World War 2, and having to start working in a factory at 13 because her family couldn’t afford to send her to high school. (She was a teachers’ aide at my elementary school for 40 years, and she only has an 8th grade education.) I would bake scones with her, set her hair in curlers for her (torn rotator cuffs – my mother usually does it for her on Saturday nights), knit with her, and ask her where she got every beautiful thing she has. I would videotape it, so that after she’s gone, whenever that is, I would always have that memory, always be able to see her hands, hear her voice, watch how she does the things she does. And she wouldn’t really be gone.

  4. Deanna says:

    I’d buy a nice chunk of land…part for gardening to live off my own food, and part for an animal rescue and elderly animals.

  5. Linda Secrist says:

    I would retire from Nursing and dig in the dirt and volunteer with some local organizations. Oh wait, that’s just what i’ve done,after 44 yrs as an Rn , i now coordinate the county master gardener program, teach about native plants and wildlife habitats as well as lead tours at a local civil war site and do library and nursing home visits with my dogs as part of a local pet therapy group. My housework keeps piling up but i feel more fulfilled than ever. It can be done

  6. Vicky Sigwald says:

    Good question!!!!
    i would do exactly what I am doing now – managing my handmadepapermill and design business- but, I would leave the studio EARLIER leaving my phones there…to cook, garden, play with my son, walk with my husband, read, sit under the fig tree to watch the clouds go by……and if a client calls with the inevitable urgency …. I will be soooooo far from a phone or bell !!!!!!!!!!

  7. angela says:

    Dry up and blow away…I too know that feeling, and lucky for me, like Margaret, I was able to escape before it was too late. Now, in my 70’s, time is short. The trees I planted 10 years ago have a presence in my landscape, the veggie garden is a reality, the frogs and coy are happy in the pond and my dog and I can explore the many wonders of nature outside my back door every day. I made the time, and now I find the peace in my little bit of heaven.

  8. June Freize says:

    As some of the other people have said , I have always dreamed of writing. What I would
    write I don’t really know. I am thankful to say I am fortunate in the fact that I have been
    blessed to be at home for quite a few years and at this age I find myself looking
    around and wondering what is my purpose in life . My daughters are grown and I have
    two wonderful granddaughters, a great son-in-law and a wonderful husband. I think as
    we mature we think more about what we can do for others and for our society as a whole. No matter what our politics I think we all agree we as a nation could use some help! We live very close to the mountains in our area and I’ve often dreamed of being
    there in a cozy place with a fire writing something that would make me happy as well
    as those who might possibly read it. A fire in the fireplace, a cup of hot coffee, warm,
    snuggly clothes and a typewriter…yes, a typewriter. I am truly blessed by the Lord in
    this life and I would hope to find something to write about that would bring peace and
    tranquility in a world where that seems no longer available to everyone. That peace and
    tranquility is also what I find in gardening, or should I say, attempting to garden. Aren’t
    we all amazed by the power in a little seed? I also think the Lord puts us where we’re needed and am thankful that I was able to help care for my Father who had Alzheimers
    for ten years…had I been in an office somewhere I would not have been as much help
    and as horrid as the disease is we all had some wonderful times! If we can’t all be in
    exotic places doing exotic things we can look around us and know that we have the power to help make someone elses’s day better than it would have been if that person
    had not encountered us!

  9. Maggie says:

    I would cultivate the herb garden my husband had a dream of me gardening in some day… when we actually have a house with land instead of a condo with my container gardening.

  10. Betsy Krueger says:

    I recently have been given “time,” as in a forced disability retirement from a profession I am increasingly watch in decline–higher education
    The unseen gift in my having to retire IS time. So what do I do with it? Explore, explore what I want to explore, and stay with something or not, at my choice. I picked up cooking with a passion and delight, enjoying and learning from it every day! I got another dog, a puppy, who I am watching grow and mature, and seeing my part in his development. I’m old enough now to step back, feel when I am injecting my ego into his patterns of growth, and noticing how much more patience and tolerance I have with him, and with my other two dogs.

    Those are a few things I know have been good for me. Having the time to slow down, notice details, notice that I AM noticing, and seeing what it IS like to have the time, that’s part of my “what would I do if I had the time.”

  11. Beth says:

    If I had more time I would have the yard/garden that I plan for every spring. There is only so much one person can do…but if there was more time-Oh the possibilities!

  12. Cyn says:

    If I had more time I would try to be less perfect for everyone else and more perfect for me. (Wow, that was deep. Wonder where it came from? I must have Oprah on in the background….)

  13. Alison Adams-Weinberg says:

    If I had more time I would experiment and create recipes with the produce I grow. I also would try to outssmart the woodchuck that ate my both crops of brussel sprouts, and my lettuce. I can’t believe they like radiccio too!

  14. Mary Ayers says:

    If I had more time I’d try first to be a better steward of the time I had. Try and help my loved ones more. Especially the elderly ones whom I know don’t have so much time left. I’d try and make a real difference in their lives. Down size, eliminate “the stuff”. I’d love to own my own little piece of earth, plant a tree and beable to watch it grow. I’d love to travel to some of the places I’ve read about, especially homes of some of the authors. Spend more time outdoors just enjoying God’s creation. Garden, cook for family and friends just time to do random acts of kindness. Read more without being so tired I fall asleep. Buy a good camera and learn how to use it and time to wander around taking inspiring photos of nature. Time to just drop in to see my grandchildren just because…

  15. Tom says:

    As a landscape architecture student, I would definitely travel – experience all those gardens I see pictures of in my design classes…. first hand!!

  16. Nan says:

    I’d spend more time with my family, were I to fall into money. I’d make memories of road trips and walking in the garden, traveling whenever the mood strikes and staying at my destination longer; creating the destinations as I go along. Money gives you time, at least in our society. That’s the true luxury of money — time.

  17. Cathy says:

    If I had more time————-I would love to organize my gardening ‘things’ such as……books, pages I have torn from magazines, pics I have taken of my flowers, tools, pots, garden decorations, and on and on………………………..!!!!

  18. Dawn says:

    I’d take the time to learn more about the world around me; whether it be classes, volunteering, community involvement. There is so much out there that I don’t know…isn’t there a saying, “the past can predict the future”. I’d like to learn more about that past and do what I can to help the future for my children.

  19. Mary-Ellen says:

    As my “Furry” kid must surely think—humans are such odd creatures. Why is it we don’t realize until we’re –ahemm–more mature, that what really is important is not what we thought it was all along the way. If we only work faster—if we only work harder—- if we only get that next promotion— if we only lose that naggy 10 lbs—-if we only make sure everyone is taken care of—if we only ” make sure” than everything will magically fall into place. I’ve discovered that not having enough time is the surest way to know that my priorities are out of wack. Time to get back in the garden and breathe—ahhh that’s much better :)

  20. Jane in CT says:

    If I just had the time, I’d do more pro-bono graphic design and follow the coaching of an editor who says I should write stories…and maybe, a book.

  21. Deborah says:

    If I had more time, I’d make more time just for me, just more time for me for a change. I’d learn to love me more, forgive me more, look at me more so I could look at you more. I’d learn to hear me, so I can hear God, then I could hear you “better.” I’d fill the holes and the wholes in my self more because I could then help fill the holes and the wholes in others more. If I had more time, I would love more deeply, cry harder to cleanse the pain, and I would begin to help you more, if I had more time. Last, but not least, if I had more time, I would laugh louder and longer and I would let the world know that I have more time, and then the world would know that I have more time for it.

  22. Jan says:

    I’d teach my dog, Sadie, to sit and STAY. I would teach myself to sit in the yard and stay, watching my garden and the creatures that call it home. I would learn to be quiet, and try to do no harm.

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