WORD BY WORD: WRITING IN CHAOS

December 27, 2016

I've had a number of jobs in my life, been married twice (that's another story) and raised two extraordinary daughters, but through good and bad, sickness, death, wars, and nutty elections, I've ALWAYS been a writer. Sometimes it's hard to write every day and, yes, I know practice makes perfect, just like playing the piano or being a world-class gymnast. When you write as often as you can, you develop a fine-tuned sense of intuition. You can hear your characters talking. You know when a phrase stinks or a plot is off on a tangent. But sometimes events intervene. And writing becomes difficult. Like this year when we moved -- AGAIN.

 

Let me explain. I am not a vagabond. But it seems that every couple of years the Universe decides that I have become too entrenched in a house and community and it's time to pull up stakes. This time it was necessary because my oldest daughter was accepted to law school. How could she devote time to intense studying and raise her two small children alone? Enter Mimi (me) who volunteered to serve as granny-nanny until law school is finished. So we moved out of the mountains, where beauty is abundant, to the piedmont where it is hot as hell in the summer and the mosquitoes stick around until November. New schools for Thing One, age 9, and Thing Two, age 3. New school for Mom. New part-time job for Mimi. Neurotic Labrador Dog further traumatized. Friends left behind.

 

And complete chaos in the writer's life.

 

Books -- hundreds of books -- were moved and piled on the floor at the new house. Notebooks full of hand-written notes (pre-Internet) on 14th century subjects such as plague, clothing, leisure, etc., were also carried into the house from the rental van and dumped in the floor. My daughter asked whether I really needed ALL these books.

 

Yes.

 

The truth is, I don't feel "at home" until I've done two things: 1.) shelved my books in the bookcases in the right order, and 2.) visited the library and obtained a new library card.

 

My books are now put away and my library card is in my wallet. The Neurotic Lab has chilled a little. So have Thing One and Thing Two. Daughter is about to enter her second semester. And I've written 109 pages of my new novel.

 

I used to think that I didn't have much time to write. Now I realize how much time I actually had. There is NEVER enough time. So I'm gonna grab what I can and practice, practice, practice.

 

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