What seems like several months ago, I made the decision to not work so hard. With the writing, of course, not that I bust my butt with housework. (Note I never share any snaps of my shower.) The house is clean; I’m the type that pulls out the big tidying guns when guests are coming. But with writing, editing, formatting… I’m a bit of an overachiever, or I just don’t like being bored. (I wonder why I’m not that motivated when it comes to dusting, hmmm…) Either way, I work, a lot. When my husband leaves for the day, I sit down, cuppa in hand, and get right to whichever novel is waiting.
When my daughter got married last summer, I took off three weeks for the pre and post wedding festivities. And other than dreaming about her wedding for what felt like weeks on end after it was done, I also noted how nice it was not to, ahem, write, edit, format. That scared me at first; what the heck? Then once I slipped back into the routine, which took no time at all, I started pondering why I was doing this, what it meant to me. At the time I was switching to WordPress after years on Blogger, grappling with addressing mail to my daughter’s new last name, all sorts of changes. But with the Alvin’s Farm series winding down, the end of summer and autumn went ahead at full speed. Slowing down seemed ages away.
I took some time off for Christmas, but not until Christmas Eve, releasing The Timeless Nature of Patience that morning. And by Boxing Day (26 December), well, I squeezed in a chapter on the novel I did finish on New Year’s Eve. Then I hurt my back, maybe that was a warning; slow down woman! I felt better the next morning, was completely back to normal on the second of January, prepping the latest project. Penny Angel started with sixteen lengthy chapters, now has twenty-eight ranging from 2-4 K. I began the actual edits yesterday, after listening to a plethora of tunes by The B-52s. Today’s title is one of those songs, a whimsical instrumental with some lovely vocal effects by Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. I used that song, and others, to get into the editing mood. And by around two that afternoon, with a long break for lunch (had to feed the hummingbirds), I was done for the day.
Often I talk about songs; music is the other half of my creative lifeblood. I spent the afternoon folding towels (laundry doesn’t fall under the dreaded housework title, probably because I don’t own an iron) and listening to more from Kate and Cindy, Fred Schneider and Keith Strickland, and the late Ricky Wilson. Ricky died in 1985 from AIDS-related illnesses, and the band didn’t learn he was sick until nearly the end of his life. Not even his sister Cindy was aware; Kate Pierson said it was that he didn’t want them fussing over him. I considered that as I stacked hand towels and washcloths; “Follow Your Bliss” is from Cosmic Thing, the first album made after Ricky died.
Cosmic Thing was released in 1989, four years after Bouncing off the Satellites, the last B-52s record Ricky Wilson contributed to. He was thirty-two at his death, which now seems very young to me. At the time, I was not even twenty, and by the time Cosmic Thing came out in 1989, I was a mother. My eldest probably doesn’t know that album very well, not only because she was a baby, but that by the time she was cognizant of the music we listened to, I wasn’t playing much from The B-52s. It was just a whim yesterday, picking that band, that one song. But it stuck with me all day long.
Writing, blogging too, is my joy. But it needs balance, maybe because I’m not as young as I used to be, or maybe I’m adopting my housework sucks mantra to other parts of my life. Not that writing and editing are a drag, not at all, but time is precious, and precarious; the hummingbird outside my window flits, parks his tiny behind, slurps a little, then swoops off, all in seconds. Just seconds but I watch as often as he dives in, for his minute presence is one of those little gifts. Writing is a bigger treasure, but it’s not here and gone. It’s not a hummingbird.
I knew 2013 was going to be a transforming year; no more Alvin, for which I am still a bit sad. (Been reading Timeless Nature the last few days, finding a typo, man, they are impossible to fully remove!) Penny Angel is also a great tale; once I finish this post, I’ll swoop in for a few chapters. But my husband is off work today, and once he sorts the budget, well, the day is ours. Before, I would have kept my nose to the grindstone, or pressed against the monitor, but life is made up of so many pieces. When he’s at work, or on one of his marathon walks, I have all the hours available to read over documents. But my feet are plenty wet with indie publishing, goodness knows I have enough manuscripts in the hard drive to keep me busy for a decade or more. Those are blessings too, they are. Still, who can argue with the presence of a loved one, or the momentary gift of a rather aggressive, thinks he’s actually a Klingon hummingbird.
Today I’m going to follow my bliss, wherever it might lead. And if by God’s grace, and sense of humour, I find myself cleaning the shower, so be it. Stranger things have happened; I am an indie novelist, you know.
(And now that I’ve mastered adding music to a post, expect further tunes down the road, heh heh heh…)