A Good Home

The Second One

A second cake, a second book.

A second painting, a second dish.

Each brings its own kind of worry.

That you’ve let down the side somehow.

Missed something, screwed up something.

Put in curry when it should have been cumin.

Painted light blue where it should have been green.

Said hello again instead of letting things end at goodbye.

Then the fear that those who loved the first will hate the second. 

And your name will be mud, but none will look you in the eye and say so.

There’s only one thing to do, I know, because I’ve worried about many things.

Look your fear right in the eye, sit down somewhere comfortable, and laugh and laugh.


Dedicated to Brenda and everyone else who’s ever created a second something.

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64 thoughts on “The Second One”

  1. Beautifully expressed! I wonder how often the idea that one should “leave well enough alone” has denied the world of something wonderful . . .

      1. I hear you! There are people whose specialty is to help individuals figure this out.
        I’ve heard of one tip:
        Walk to an unfamiliar spot, quiet and comfortable. Sit and write on a piece of paper the things that most interest you/ that you most like to do. Do NOT judge at this stage. Just write.
        Put it aside and come back a day later.
        Separate the list into those you like and those you absolutely love.
        Keep whittling it down till you arrive at just a few.
        But, seriously? I think you need to meet with someone whose specialty this is. We all need help and encouragement at crucial times in our lives, my friend. It is NOT a weakness, but a strength to acknowledge this.

      1. I am like that too. I am very negative when I’m the only person awake at night. I also often second guess myself a few hours after I share something, too…sometimes minutes later.

  2. Not to worry, Cynthia. With your courage, intelligence, and God’s help I know you will overcome and flourish. Your track record proves that.

  3. Cynthia, I’m in agreement with Gallivanta and Hamlin. And besides, as long as it’s the same cook baking the book, I’m sure we’ll be hooked. You’re courageous—I find sharing a blog post scary enough sometimes. But I suspect that feeling like one has taken a risk is a symptom of poignant writing (my favorite kind to read).
    Blessings ~ Wendy

      1. Dr. Seuss is to blame for line 2. I have fond memories of my dad reading those books to me. I’ve inflicted my kids with the same virus via reading Dr. Seuss to each of them. 🙂
        By the way, Cynthia, someone close to me was recently diagnosed with PTSD. Your story will bless others. xo People need to know they’re not alone, and those that love them need to be informed.

  4. You have expressed the fears of many of us beautifully, Cynthia. You need not worry about your second book, though, as I know it will be a good one! I look forward to reading it!

  5. I am positive that your new book will be as successful as the first one. I am looking forward to reading it very much though I realise that it must at times have been very painful to write. Writing something so personal and then presenting it to the world must be a very scary thing to do but I am sure that it will be received with acclaim and will be so helpful for others with or caring for friends with PTSD. With love, Clare

    1. Thanks, Clare. I hope so. It’s a simple book, yet a complex one too — it’s as much a story about how a family finds meaning, closeness and joy in a much-changed life, as it is about PTSD etc.

  6. Cynthia, Warmest congrats on completing “An Honest Home”!!! This line from your poem really resonated with me and had me thinking about it:- “Said hello again instead of letting things end at goodbye”. Then I was very encouraged after reading Hamlin’s response:- “But a second helping of anything means the first was delicious” Very insightful…thank you both!!!

  7. How right you are about laughing, Cynthia. It can be all too easy to take ourselves too seriously. I wish you every success with your second book; and when fear gets pushy again, just give it a good, old-fashioned time-out! And laugh. 🙂

  8. Fear is like a dirt road with huge, muddy pot holes that seems to be impassible. Luckily, we writers have 4-wheel drive! We just keep on going to the remote and gorgeous places that we can find in our imaginations. Congrats on your second cake, your second book, your second time facing the fear and traveling the road anyway. Thanks for the dedication.

    I just got rejected, and the rejection letter had specific pointers to help me, which is a blessing and a curse. I feel like we should call them NOT YET letters instead of rejection letters. I’m not there yet, but I’m still 4-wheel driving down my road.


    1. That’s it right there! NOT YET letters. My favourite mystery author, Louise Penny, got countless rejection letters, till a mystery novel competition based in the UK, chose her book as runner-up to the winner. That brought her to the attention of a publisher and today her Inspector Gamache books are routinely New York Times bestsellers which keep winning awards.
      Keep on keeping on. YET is on its way.

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