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Sarah’s Simple Pleasures: Sunset

Dear friends,

Our wise editor Therese Walsh and I got to talking about recent joys, struggles, and all the things that go into the writing life. All the things that Writer Unboxed was founded upon. We decided that 2020 should be a new decade of simple pleasure jubilee.

Somewhere in the last few years, life got more complicated than ever before. Now, in addition to emails, we have Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, TikTok, and texts pinging at us day and night. I, for one, have a perennial headache from it all and wondered if anybody else in the cyber cyclone feels the same.

Instead of being defeated and throwing up my hands, I thought I’d toss a penny of hope into the torrent. Here begins my “Simple Pleasures” column.

Each post will highlight a simple pleasure to be shared. This is an opportunity to collectively celebrate ordinary moments that we might overlook in the frantic shuffle of our days. Life affirmations to bolstering each other through the months and remind us of why we seek to capture our experiences in writing. If nothing else, it will be a short, quick respite from the heaviness of our modern zeitgeist.

I pray you enjoy.

Yours truly,


I was standing on my farmhouse porch when sunset streaked the sky shades of honey-gold that I hadn’t known existed. I stood there, freezing my buns off, but unable to turn away until every glimmer turned to winter starlight.

Such majesty. Such wonder. And yet, few things on earth are more ordinary and accessible to the communal eye. Regardless of who you are, what is happening in the world, or where you stand in it, these moments of marvel are guaranteed. The sun rises and so, it must set. With human promises so easily broken, I take great hope in knowing that the heavens will remain true.

We don’t see a sunrise and worry all day, “Will it set? Gosh, I hope it sets. What if it doesn’t set—will we burn up, will the crops dry out, will everything fall to doom?”

No, because we have faith that while we cannot see or feel it, the earth is moving round the sun. As a matter of fact, the sun is neither rising nor setting. It’s fixed in the galaxy—the constant by which all our lives revolve. Our perspective is what’s changing from hour to hour.

So, in moments of frustration, depression, sadness, or just plain feelings of insignificance, I remind myself of the sunset. Forgotten on some nights, ignored on many others, underappreciated, and often blamed for not allowing us more time in a day. No matter. It keeps rising and setting with every ounce of splendor, regardless of who’s watching. Its point of view doesn’t waver just because mine does, and thank God for that.

Take a minute tonight to watch the sunset. Breathe in the colors. Rest in the silence. If you miss it, don’t beat yourself up. Tomorrow, there’ll be a new one waiting to welcome you.

About Sarah McCoy [1]

SARAH McCOY is the New York TimesUSA Today, and international bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children [2]; The Baker’s Daughter [3], a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee; the novella “The Branch of Hazel” in Grand Central [4]; and The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico [5]. Her work has been featured in Real Simple, The Millions, Your Health Monthly, Huffington Post [6] and other publications. She has taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband, an orthopedic sports doctor, and their dog, Gilly, in Chicago, Illinois. Connect with Sarah on Twitter [7] at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page [8], Goodreads [9], or via her website, www.sarahmccoy.com [10].