A cold has kept me from accomplishing much more than the basics, but sometimes it takes a small malady to force me into quiet time. I’ve worked several Sudoku puzzles over the weekend, a pastime from my Yorkshire days. Mended a pair of jeans, sewed a couple of vibrant squares my grandson left on the quilt wall, watched a little basketball. It’s been a busy time, what with The Burrito having turned three, Miss Em’s impending baptism on Sunday, plus my hubby and I will celebrate thirty years of wedded bliss this week. I’m grateful to be feeling better, but lethargy lingers.
Weary of doing puzzles, yesterday afternoon I started reading one of my older books. I’m not sure what led me to this particular novel, but I downloaded it onto my phone, laid on the sofa, setting a quilt over my lap, and suddenly I was transported over forty years in the past to Arkendale, Oregon. Simultaneously I was dwelling in my more recent history, about nine years ago when I wrote Alvin’s Farm, yet residing along two different planes of existence wasn’t a bother, maybe due to my cold, or merely what happens when an author peeks back into their literary timeline. To my delight, I couldn’t put down my phone; while the prose was at times rough, the story remained compelling, even though I know how it ends.
Even more, I recall how this initial novel was concluded; like The Hawk, Alvin’s Farm had originally been meant as a short story. HA! As I wrote, the tale unfolded in manners not anticipated, but in following the muse, I didn’t become frustrated, permitting characters to unwind at their pace, or show up unexpectedly. (Probably why writing The Hawk continues, as I managed to find The End on a previously enlongated tale….) But what struck me most was how simple were my intentions; I wrote for the sheer joy of it. Publishing was a dream, but releasing my books wasn’t even considered, which proves how quickly independent publishing became part of the authorial landscape.
But eschewing indie and traditional publishing, what matters most to this writer is the need to share a story. Nine years ago, I was enraptured with crafting prose, creating characters, bringing to life plots and schemes that seemed to leap from my brain onto the keyboard with an ease that led me to believe it would always be so uncomplicated. Time to write has become the issue, I certainly have yarns to spin. But maybe as I approach the last section of The Hawk, I need to remind myself why I do this.
I write because I love to tell stories and want to learn more about the world I inhabit.
That’s truly what it’s about, and what a pleasure and gift to be able to write at all! I need to remind myself of this mantra, as I’ve put pressure on myself for the last couple of years to finish up The Hawk; girl, it will be done when it’s good and ready, and once it is finished, you will never write it again. Well, not the first draft anyway, hehehe….
I recall when I completed Alvin’s Farm, stepping from the writing grotto out to where my husband was mowing our front yard. It was the end of April in 2009, the scent of freshly cut grass heady, matching how I felt at that moment. So much lay ahead, but all I knew was a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and even completion. I haven’t felt that lately when finishing up a section of The Hawk, but I should. I need to embrace all aspects of writing, not fearing what has yet to be set onto my virtual document. Trust is key here, not merely in my abilities, but in where this tale is meant to go. And getting back to my mantra is essential: I write because I love to tell stories and want to learn more about the world I inhabit.
There is a deep personal reward in writing, a great responsibility to readers, but also to oneself in allowing breaks in the work, maybe longer than desired, but life isn’t lived merely with my butt in the chair. What I bring to The Hawk after an extended absence will enhance it, I can’t be afraid of that. And in years to come, I’ll sit on my sofa, snuggle under a quilt, and read a part of my fictional history that occurred before I was born, yet imperative to who I am becoming. I’m certainly not the same as when I began it in 2013, just as my skills aren’t where they were in the spring of 2009. I need to embrace all these elements, then move forward. No fear, just trust, and enjoy. Always remember to enjoy the ride….