Right now, in the grand scheme, I’m prepping the next novel in the pubbing queue. Giddy excitement swirls with slight exhaustion, but as I drink the morning tea, my immediate task is this blog entry, warming up the brain so when I reach for that novel, I’ll be ready to absorb the remaining chapters. I can’t just jump right into the work; I need tea, sometimes a tune or two (“Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford at the moment), a glimpse at the hummingbirds, swooping around the feeder. This has been my routine for over five years, although the h’birds have only been a part of it since 2010. I started my first novel in Britain, for NaNoWriMo 2006, but for all intents, the writing really began here in California, in Silicon Valley. I started blogging about writing five years ago, as if the eleven years I lived in Yorkshire had no bearing on this gig.
But that would be so wrong.
I wrote back there, journals and letters, I love writing letters! Actually, I love writing cards; I have boxes of them, and postcards too, piled all over the place. My husband used to collect stamps, so we order various designs, but I have to scold when he puts the cool ones on bills. PG&E doesn’t deserve Gregory Peck or The Incredibles. I still send snail mail; postcards to nieces and a nephew and my godchild, nice cards to my daughter and other loved ones. I love writing cards, but I adore affixing stamps. My husband asked if I missed the old types, but no, I prefer adhesives. I still have to lick envelopes.
I have always loved to write, but my wildest dream was to craft novels. Letters and copious journal entries served their purpose, keeping the dream alive. In November 2006, I started my first NaNovel, and never looked back. I just finished a Camp NaNo tale, and am gearing up for the full monty in two months. There is nothing better than writing a book alongside several thousand others all over the world, a huge virtual write-in for thirty days breaking the solitude that lasts the other three hundred thirty-five days a year.
Writing is an isolated task, not even the hummingbirds catching my full attention. Yesterday I noted the above picture on my screen saver; our last English house was set along a fairly quiet village road. I didn’t recall that shot, spent a good twenty minutes trying to find it. We took tons of pictures in the UK; digital photography made it easy to snap without serious thought. Maybe we were also trying to capture those moments, aware our English adventure wouldn’t last forever. Eleven years was a long time, but now we’ve lived in California for over five, many books written in the meantime, heaps of cards sent and goodness knows how many blog entries posted! I’m not the type to get lost in the past, but while frantically searching through folders of our British years, I wondered if that picture was a fluke. How had it landed on my screen saver, from when was it taken? Finally I located it, from 2006, in June, on the first. On 1 June 2006, I had no idea about NaNo, that I would start a book that autumn, or that in a year, I wouldn’t live in Yorkshire. All I knew were those bars, that house, fresh asparagus. Our across the street neighbors grew asparagus, and my youngest helped prepare it for sale.
It seems idyllic, a day from my past easily forgotten, except for the pictures that stir so many memories, and not so small wonder for what has happened since. Since 2006, I’ve written a plethora of drafts, published nine of them. I’ve moved back to my home state, my eldest has gotten married. I feed hummingbirds, which I had never even seen before! Yet I am drawn back to that shot, those iron bars, that British summer’s day; I had recently turned forty, wasn’t sure what that new decade would hold. It’s been wondrous, it’s been hectic. It’s been day after day of the little and large, and quite wordy. This morning, it’s rather blog-filled and reminiscent-heavy, also hummingbird-laden. And it’s just another moment. In a minute, it too will be gone.