Category Archives: personal growth

Living in a post-Hawk world….

Well, a post-writing The Hawk life; the last few mornings I have enjoyed that after a novel is done mood, which I have not known in ages.  It’s a liberated sense, in that nothing sits on my shoulders prosaically.  Of course, there is still laundry, grocery shopping, a shower to clean, ahem….  But the writer within me is taking a nap and doesn’t wish to be stirred until perhaps July.

The editor, however, has put on her hat, sharp pencils in her back pocket, an eager grin waiting to get busy.  And I will embrace the revising life, chapters read each day until again I locate The End.  But this work is less intense, in that the foundation is solid, if not in need of sweeping.  So many elements in writing a book.

And my husband was correct, in that another idea is screaming to be set across the virtual page; my overactive imagination is a blessing, but man it keeps me hopping.  Yet I’ve learned a few things from The Hawk, one being that I will never again publish a novel until I have actually finished it.  I mentioned that to my hubby, and he smiled, noting he would call me on it.  I said, “Yes please,” because there is a responsibility to the reader which cannot be ignored.  To me, beta releases are great, but only if a conclusion has been reached and not merely within this author’s gray matter.  Perhaps releasing The Hawk in sections as I finished them kept me going, but that was also a lot of inner pressure.  Definitely a major lesson learned.

The other takeaway is a far more gradual message I’m still wrapping my head around; I don’t write like I used to, which of course is good in that one strives to improve upon the craft.  However, when the words no longer fall like rain, a creeping sense of futility emerges, which if not qualified by how one’s life is altering might appear as writer’s block.  While I’m grateful to have started this gig once my kids were teens, now a little over a decade later, grandkids have wrested away some of my fictional thunder.  Okay, so has sewing, but for the foreseeable future, I’m an abuela before I’m an author.  In the battle of The Hawk vs The Burrito and Little Miss, a novel got its butt kicked all over the last four and a half years of my life.  But not all battles turn on one tide….

How could any tale top those smiles?

Nor do wee ones remain that way forever.  And that perhaps is the key issue I am grasping, yet not only in relation to adorable toddlers.  From 2007-2012 I churned out drafts, blithely expecting that would always be the case.  But life has a funny way of derailing assumptions, new paths waiting to be explored.  Grandkids and quilts will enhance my second decade of writing, seasoned by a hawk full of grace.  This isn’t merely a mantra to appease when time seems squeezed, but the honest truth.  Our existences aren’t static, we have to be brave when facing new challenges.  I have to believe, as I have said here before, that I will be given the necessary abilities, as well as the time, to master whatever task comes my way.  It’s up to me to humbly accept what gifts are set into my hands, as well as the moments in which to enjoy them.

Always a mom….

With every bit of writing that occurs, what becomes more clear to me is how this decade of my life isn’t about writing.  That’s been quite a fact to acclimate myself to, but it’s not merely due to the grandkids.  Once again I’m reminded that once a mother, always a mother.

When I began exploring prose, my youngest was still in high school, the elder two off to college.  Maybe my husband and I still had a child at home, but honestly, how much parenting happens when kids are teens, not as much as one desires.  As drafts emerged, that daughter graduated, then joined her siblings, and I had all the time I could wish for, time I used well in crafting a multitude of tales, then beginning my foray into independent publishing.  Even when my dad’s battle with cancer heated up, writing was a mainstay, keeping my mind focused.

The Burrito was a fireman this year for Halloween; I spent many moments with him during our last visit fighting pretend fires all over the yard.

But eventually Dad’s fight waned, and my daughters were expecting their own bambinos.  I was in the early stages of The Hawk by then, learning to quilt as well.  The Burrito arrived, Dad passed, Little Miss entered the fray, and writing dwindled, although not the spark.  Plots continued to emerge as babies don’t require more than a solid grip, ears accustomed to tears, and a burp cloth over one’s shoulder.

Little Miss and her grandpa attend to weeds this past weekend. She used a toy screwdriver The Burrito left on a previous visit.

However as infants turn to toddlers, a grandmother’s assistance becomes more vital, and I find myself going between the roles of mum and abuela.  Little Miss calls me Ma-ma-ma, a shortened version of Momma’s Mama (Grandpa is Momma’s Dada, funny what she decided for our names), and with Lil’ Sis due in less than a month, I’m truly feeling like someone’s mother in helping out my very pregnant daughter.  Youngest daughter often tells her son that I was her mother first, ha ha ha!  It’s great being needed by others, old and young.  I just wish I had time to….

From yesterday; Grandmaster Z making his own stained glass window with clear contact paper and tissue paper. He loved it!

I know, I know, these days won’t last forever.  Before I know it all those nietos will be clamoring for their own phones, Grandmaster Z included.  He’s almost three, talks in full sentences, yet wasn’t he just a wee one, weren’t all of them babies, and what about my own kids?  Didn’t my eldest just twist my arm to do NaNoWriMo when she was a senior in high school?  She’s pushing thirty now, good grief!  Where has the time gone?

What I have to remember is how fluid is time, and only becoming more brief.  It’s November, for instance, and while I wanted to complete The Hawk by the end of this year, more important tasks have muscled that novel out of the way.  Yet, I am writing, it’s not gone completely.  It’s simply a different method now, as how life is always evolving.  But the constant is the husband I adore, our children, and their children too.  Motherhood came long before the word count, and will probably outlast it; for as much as I love creating new existences, the ones I made with my beloved matter most.  This seems to be a rather difficult element for me to learn, but sometimes the best lessons require a fair bit of angst, or at least substantial rumination.  Goodness knows I put my characters through the wringer, guess now it’s my turn.

Today’s word count: 1,752

All in many days work….

It’s like looking at a nearly completed novel, just a few more bits to include…..

So while I’m technically back to writing, I haven’t written in days.  Between our trip to Humboldt County, quilting, and keeping an eye on grandkids, The Hawk has lain dormant in my computer.  Now this doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about, ha ha ha!  (Whoa, I about fell outta my chair with that one.)  I’m *ALWAYS* pondering writing, and I don’t think I can emphasize that  strongly enough.  I’m truly grateful that sewing doesn’t occupy a fraction of the gray matter that novels steal, or I’d never get a quilt finished.  However, a couple of quilts have been eating into my authorial moments, so as I wax lyrically about writing, I’m posting pics of the Wedding Quilt, which is done.

Early morning quilt tools on display, including mugs that depict the mainstays of my current existence; grandma on the left, John Steinbeck on the right…..

But that comforter is going to muscle its way into this post past photos and captions; so many elements go into a completed quilt, just as they do a book.  In this quiet writing time, contemplation of the story has emerged, and today it was about the hawk that was, is, and has yet to be scribbled into the manuscript.  Just as a quilt is made of layers, and I’m merely talking about the top, batting, and backing, a book is more than sentences and chapters.  It’s my soul being stretched, and I guess with this tale it’s taken a good four years to grasp those alterations.

I so love the slow hand-quilting process as a counterpoint to how quickly these blocks came together on my machine….

Within the writing, the characters aren’t the only ones maturing; this is so much about me as a human being, and while I don’t want this to come off as all about me, ahem, in a way it is.  Writing is such a personal endeavor, yet there is a public side to it that seems at times like a Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jeckyll.  Or maybe it’s the other way around, hehehe.  Either way, on so many levels writing forges a split within me, be it in the guise of not writing and desperately wishing to, or during the writing translating how many varied personalities.  Or what about the myriad themes explored within the story, or the time frames or languages or….

Each stitch means a moment of my life conscious of one goal; to make this quilt as beautiful and lasting as possible. Every single word I write is equally focused….

Whoa, that’s a lot of issues, similar to how many sewing techniques I’ve employed within one quilt; making blocks with my machine, hand-sewing the quilt sandwich, machine and hand-sewing of the binding, dude….  And writing, or thinking about writing, is just as complex, but it’s all within my mind, then dashed onto a keyboard silently and intricately, weaving its own glorious sprawl of colour.  But I can’t count those kinds of stitches, and a word count carries little weight.  The weight rests upon my soul, nestled inside my heart, changing me as the chapters increase.

Just needs a run through the washer and dryer….

So what does all this ballyhooing have to do with a hawk?  In the beginning, it was just one hawk.  Now more than a few have graced the story’s pages, maybe a trinity, maybe not.  Marek has decided to tell Klaudia about Eric, and when I write that scene, I want the reader to truly understand that it was Marek’s decision, not mine.  But okay, I’ll play along, wondering how in the world that’s gonna happen, and the resulting upshot of that plot twist.  And what it will eventually mean within my life; I’ve written a lot in the last ten years, another post for a different day.  But I will say that in one way or another, each draft, regardless of what happened to it, altered me.  Some of those stories simply made me a better novelist.  But more than a few have led to increased wisdom, greater empathy, improved relations with others.  To me, this is a vital point in writing, creating art that speaks of joy, hope, love.  You can never get enough of these virtues.

Solids make up the back, also showing off the lovely pattern that emerged….

And perhaps that’s the main lesson I’m to take from my non-writing, quietly chipping away at the dross, permitting myself to be refined in the process so the paragraphs that follow are precisely what The Hawk requires.  Hey, that’s a pretty nice way to look at not getting much accomplished.  I can’t accurately say how much of this story is currently my lesson, but hopefully when it’s all said and done, I’ll look back at these years immensely grateful for the inner growth as well as what was written.  It’s like gazing at these photos and being reminded of the quilting process; early mornings and late evenings spent seated on the sofa, covered in a blanket celebrating love.  I don’t think it gets much better, and more meaningful, than that.