Squeezing in words (and peace) amid the sunshine….

June 2016 on Father’s Day; my daughters, The Burrito and I accompanied my husband to an East Bay park, where it was very hot (although not quite as warm as the last few days….). All pics from that outing.

A heat wave has hit California, and won’t truly abate until the weekend.  Right now Silicon Valley is enjoying a little lull, if you count the upper 90s as relief, but compared to the 106 F at our house on Sunday, I’ll take it.  Yesterday I meant to write, but a walk required my focus, and by the time I sat at my computer, the heat had sapped all my mental energy.  Today I compromised, pounding out two-thirds of a chapter, then walking for a mile and a half.  Turns out those 1700 words will be a chapter all their own, and I’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Despite the hot temps, I’m firmly engaged with my return to writing, breaks be darned as well as the blistering heat.  The next few months are relatively open for the flow of prose, and my desire to complete this novel will push me through whatever hurdles loiter on the horizon.  Other stories I ache to tell are further fuel, but alongside this journey is another that while running parallel tells a different tale; I am not the writer I used to be.

Sometimes my writing path feels that desolate, and of course indistinguishable….

Of course, some of that is good news; thinking back to ten years ago, when I made the decision to pursue writing, I was such a novice, oh my goodness.  Not only was I mediocre, my grasp of the business side of writing was nil.  That business side has altered radically in the past decade, as have my goals, as well as the quality of my output.  The quantity has changed too; I used to knock off a first draft in thirty days, thanks to National Novel Writing Month.  But when I consider those drafts, their purpose was to start the aching process of learning to produce fiction, or most of them.  I published a few, but the bulk are filed away on my PC and in flash drives.  Just thinking about them reminds me how I have grown as an author.

But as I’ve previously noted here, time has become a precious commodity in regards to the words.  However, what I do write now needs less work than in years past, so that’s a win.  Except that this book seems endless, sigh.  But I will finish it, because I’m nearly there and nothing pressing is scheduled for the immediate future, go me!  Although one can never predict the future, meh.  But in not being able to predict the future, I can boldly go forward assuming The Hawk will find its end, yay!  But you know what happens when you assume something.

(Ass out of you and me….)

Okay, okay, enough internal bickering.  I’m starting to sound like my grandson, who had a philosophical argument with his mum this morning, or what a two and a half year old can muster: Trash?  Yes, trash.  Trash??  Yes sweetheart, trash.  Trash???  OMG yes, put that in the trash!  Trash????  Mum then points to the garbage while The Burrito hollers about trash and hammers and so it goes.  I’ve put a lot of writing into the metaphorical rubbish bin, but what remains tells me that yes, I am a writer, I will always be a writer, but right now writing has to step down, or I need to step away, maybe find a hammer, then pound at imaginary nails alongside wee ones who need me more than I need fiction.  Dude, seriously?  Um, yeah.  Trash, Grandma (or Bama, as my nieto calls me as he has a hard time with the letter G).  Finish this book Bama, then find something else to do.

Then to my joyful relief, a trail appears!

But it’s not easy prying my mind from this tasking; my hands are much easier to fill, either with grandkids or fabrics or laundry baskets.  Yet my heart beats in spinning yarns; I listen to old playlists connected to plots and I want to write that novel.  I’ll read something and mentally fashion my own take on it.  A picture appears on my screensaver and I want to tell that tale.  What keeps me from losing my cool, especially in this sweltering heat?  It’s an inner voice, asking me to trust.  Trust that time will provide for The End’s.  Trust that chapters will be the perfect length.  Trust that if and when other books are to be written they most certainly shall be started, and finished!  Trust that in letting go of my assumptions, no one will feel awkward or let down, least of all myself.  Perhaps I should be more worked-up about all this, but in becoming a little anxious, I’m enabled to once again search for peace within my soul; for me that means taking deep breaths, giving thanks for being able to write even this post, realizing how far I’ve been graced to go in the last ten years on this authorial roadway.  I’ve been writing for over ten years, been indie publishing for nearly six, and truthfully there is no end in sight, other than The End for the WIP.  Yeah, one of these days (please God let it be sometime this year) The Hawk will find its way into the Done pile.

Welcome trees and shade make the heat seem not so brutal, how I feel after much needed prayer.

In the meantime, I’ll keep cool both inside my house as well as within my heart.  Not in my own strength certainly, but due to Love.  May that calm be with you today.

161 Medium Blue Squares

I’m in the middle of cutting fabric for a quilt, also back to writing The Hawk.  The last two days I’ve tackled those tasks, better for the fabrics this evening, while the writing has been…  Let’s just say it’s been, although today was somewhat easier.  I’m very happy, also relieved, to again be working on that novel beyond revising.  But right now I’m battling the creaky, painful re-introductory session that won’t last more than is necessary.  No timetable set, let me just say, other than however long it takes my brain, hands, and imagination to coalesce.

Blues, low volumes, and some assorted navy fabrics waiting for me to finish the cutting….

But I wanted to note that sometimes projects take their own sweet time, ahem.  A couple of mornings ago, I sat under the Big Bright Quilt, admiring my handiwork.  I was suddenly struck by how similar writing The Hawk is to making that comforter; both sprung somewhat unexpectedly, grew to larger than I initially considered proportions, and at least for the quilt, was completed to my satisfaction.  I recalled squeezing blocks on my quilt wall, then laying out swathes of fabric for the back, sewing those together, basting the whole thing, then hand-quilting; jeez Louise!   It took the better part of a year to finish it, and while writing takes longer, I have to believe the completion aspect will eventually apply to my novel.

By hook or by crook and by a whole lotta chocolate, one day The Hawk will be done.

In the meantime…  Sweets aside, I’ll get back to the writing next week, off to see The Burrito and his folks for the weekend.  And to be perfectly honest, I need the break, which might sound odd, what with only getting two days under my belt.  Yet, I’m not as young as I used to be, and writing takes more from me, or at least jumping back into it needs to be approached calmly.  No use getting one’s knickers in a twist; my computer, the manuscript, and fabrics will be waiting for me when I return, and now, having made the leap, the only true break will be when I type The End.

That day is coming, no way for me to stop it.  And thank goodness for that, ha ha ha….

Who I Become

Stanford entered the kitchen chuckling to himself, but Laurie and Agatha were in conversation and didn’t notice.  He stepped toward them, leaving space between himself and Laurie.  “Good evening,” Stanford said.  “That smells delicious.”

“Well, I made plenty.”  Agatha’s tone was clipped, but her smile couldn’t be hidden.  Then she turned off the flame.  “Let it sit about fifteen minutes or you’ll burn your tongue off.”

She gazed at Stanford, but Laurie laughed.  “Whatever you say.  My God, it’s good to be home.”

“Yes it is.”  Agatha wore the hint of a smile, then she sighed.  “All right, time for me to go.”

“So soon?”  Stanford cleared his throat.  “I mean, of course.”

Laurie looked away, but Agatha met Stanford’s gaze.  “You need me to spoon it up for you?”

“No, but I just got home and….” While he looked forward to time with only Laurie, Stanford had grown used to a houseful.  He sighed, then stepped back.  “We’ll see you in the morning.”

After reading that scene, I had to set aside my morning work on The Hawk, as I was struck by a truth which required further reflection.  What tripped me up was how Stanford let down his guard, or maybe it was that he’d become accustomed to more than only himself and Laurie.  My husband and I have been hosting The Burrito for several days, but he left yesterday, and suddenly I’m back in my regular routine, and perhaps feeling like Stanford, not quite sure what to do with myself.  I’m itching to return to the written work, currently reviewing the recently released Part Eleven, which had taken a back burner while caring for my grandson.  Once that’s completed, I’ll begin to read Part Twelve, and then….

But before I get too far ahead of myself, I want to explore the notion of who I am at this very minute, and that’s a complicated kettle of fish.  I’m a wife, mum, abuela, author, quilter, Stanford’s cook…. Say what?  Agatha Morris also makes up who I am, because when I write, I truly do become my characters.  Her retort to Stanford made me smile this morning, as for the last few days I’ve heard my grandson’s refrain of “Help me”.  He’s an energetic toddler, but appreciates (or more rightly requests) assistance.  Stanford was looking forward to company, but Agatha has other places to be.  And while right now my home is quiet, when I’m poking at a book, I’m not actually alone.

Okay, that’s the writer part of me explained.  However, I’m not merely the spinner of yarns, nor the seamstress of threads.  But when I began this writing gig over ten years ago, small children weren’t in my daily realm.  My kids were teenagers, and even when homeschooling, I had time for myself.  Now those moments have been split apart and reformed into a life not only far from Yorkshire, England, but eons away from the woman I was even three and a half years ago when The Hawk basically took over my writing life.  Writing life, what’s that?  Now my world is full of grandmotherly musings, more so when toddlers are near, but even when they aren’t, I’m still tied to them, sort of like fictional characters, only somewhat more physically taxing.

The Burrito and Grandpa (also known as Papa) don’t mind a little exertion….

Well, a lot more physically taxing when they are close, ha ha.  I don’t expend as much mental energy as a grandma, for the parental gears easily kick into Drive.  Yet I rely more on the internal combustion; I’m only as strong as my back permits.  And while this might come across as not making much sense, that’s totally how I’ve been feeling lately.  Who am I and where am I headed?

 

Lately I’ve joked with my husband that my fifties will be concentrated upon helping raise wee ones, and maybe I’ll get back to the writing when I’m sixty.  And while that is spoken in jest, it could prove more true than not, which does make me slightly anxious.  Perhaps that feeling will fade once I finish The Hawk, but what about other tales I want to tell, rough drafts needing my attention….  How much of me is there to go round, not to mention the time for these taskings?  I turned over my page-a-day calendar this morning, and it’s nearly time to flip it around; where has 2017 gone?  Will I finish The Hawk this year?  In January I certainly thought I would, ahem, but now….

 

 

Now is a but a brief flash that will pass into history by the time you reach the end of this sentence.  Now is fickle in answering my questions, but now is all I have.  Now I’m working on this entry, and now is also calling me to make another cup of coffee, maybe use the loo, and close up this post so I can return to Part Eleven, although Agatha will see herself out of Stan and Laurie’s apartment, leaving that couple to an evening on their own.  Now is over half a century in the past via my trek through historical fiction, and now is who I am, a fifty-one-year-old author as well as grandma of two.  Now is the accumulation of everything previous and a hint to tomorrow.  For as ominous as that sounds, I am glad all I have to ponder is today.  And within those considerations I have to leave loose ends twisting gently in the breeze.  Who I become remains a mystery, although not one that frightens.  Small anxiety is okay, as long as I temper it with a hefty dose of thankfulness.  I’m grateful for this journey, for this moment, for NOW.  It’s not what I thought it would be; it’s more beautiful and precious than I could have imagined.

 

 

And remember, I have one heck of an imagination, hehehe.