Since May 9, it’s been. I’m back in the world after over four months spent living the life of a recluse.
It feels as though I’ve just crawled out from under a rock.
Living under the radar has meant no blogging; no reading other people’s blogs (well, mostly); no Facebook; no email (okay, that’s a lie; I couldn’t live without email). But even with email, I cut way back on the surprising number of subscriptions I discovered I had, in various fits of enthusiasm, signed up for.
That actually turned out to be something of a relief, because checking my morning email messages had become all-out war between the curiosity at the thinking end of me and the complaints radiating from the part of me that had to sit while I was doing it. It’s pretty well padded, but there is such a thing as Far Too Long.
Lastly, I took a time-out from my social life as well. Calendar now swept mostly clean, I was ready to embrace the reclusive life for the summer and get all those nasty housecleaning tasks done that had needed doing for so long.
So now that the summer’s over, you might ask, do I look around the ol’ homestead these days and admire all the finished cleaning, painting, sorting and general upgrading (all the long, hard scut-work, in other words) that was the original below-the-radar plan back in May?
Uh, not exactly. Oh, I was a worker bee all right; it’s just that I was working diligently on a somewhat different set of tasks.
You see, about a week into my summer regime, I came to the realization that housecleaning is a thankless task that produces far too little pleasure in relation to the depressing entropy that sets in the very moment you’ve pulled the plug on the vacuum cleaner.
(And yes, it really did take me just seven days to make this stupendous mental leap; I’m quick that way.)
House-cleaning, I realized, is strictly a no-win situation.
So right there on the spot I instituted a brilliant change of plan–to which my Dearly Beloved readily agreed because it meant that he wouldn’t have to disturb the shocking mess in his den.
The Plan is simplicity itself:
If and when the day comes that DB and I can no longer stagger around this place by ourselves, we’ll simply high-tail it out of here and call one of those junk removal companies to come in with a bulldozer and clean it out in one fell swoop.
Then, for the first time in our entire lives, we’ll have someone else paint the place, following which we’ll hire a real estate agent. End of story.
Wow, there it was, all that hard work completely avoided!
It was a stroke of pure genius, if I do say it myself. After patting myself heartily on the back for several minutes as I considered the rather stunning practicality and above-average decision-making skills involved in this brilliant about-face, I grinned a tiny, evil grin, rubbed my hands together in glee, and slunk off downstairs to set about doing what I really wanted to do.
Thank you, I’m glad you asked. I’m writing a book. A memoir, to be exact.
A book, you say? Hold on there now, this is me we’re talking about here, right? Blog posts are one thing; a whole book is a horse of an entirely different colour!
But there it is. All joking aside, I really am writing a memoir. In fact, the manuscript is steadily growing, so it definitely appears to be happening.
But I’m not in this alone. To my great delight, I was lucky enough to meet, and then to engage the services of, an amazingly insightful and all-round-wonderful editor / mentor / advisor-type person who is a joy to work with and a font of knowledge and experience. For a newbie like me, it doesn’t get better than this.
I’ve already learned so much from the partnership that I can’t imagine how anyone can do this type of work without benefit of the unbiased, insightful comments and questions with which a skillful advisor can stretch the brain cells in new and exciting ways to encourage better output on the part of the writer.
I’m hooked. It’s a glorious thing, this act of writing. Frustrating, yes; often difficult; sometimes painful; incredibly time- and energy-consuming; and simply…glorious. What a journey!
Coming Home: A Memoir.
I’ll keep you posted.
For anyone who might be considering a writing project, I humbly offer my most sincere endorsement for
Susan L. Scott, lead non-fiction editor at The New Quarterly: Canadian Writers & Writing, one of Canada’s leading literary magazines.
Through her indie company, WordWork, Susan writes, teaches, edits, and mentors emerging writers. She also collaborates with other artists on projects focused on healing and community restoration.
For information on retreats, lectures, courses, projects and workshops, just visit her website, http://susanlscott.twohornedbull.ca/.
Welcome back! I was afraid to ask what had happened to you. I am so delighted that you are writing and with a wonderful mentor to help you along. My “mentors” have been my wonderful writing group which I believe i told you about, and it’s a definite mixed bag of advice. To have found a single voice tha tis clear and supportive must be wonderful.
I look forward to reading your memoir when it is finished to your satisfaction. And, by the way, I subscribe to your theory of housekeeping!
Hi Barb! Thank you; I’m glad to be back. I’ve never been part of a writing group, although I’ve often thought it would be nice. But I’m pretty much a person who prefers to be doing things on my own anyway, so perhaps that wouldn’t have been the best thing for me. And the “single voice” that I was lucky enough to cross paths with is, as you say, wonderful, absolutely.
And now that I’m back to being the housekeeping slob I was prior to my “conversion,” this time around I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it. Ahh, the joys of being a slug!
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P.S. My foray into the writing group thing was uncomfortable; I couldn’t easily understand them and I am pretty sure that feeling was mutual. I think Barb^^ has found a sympathetic and helpful group. I’m sure such things exist but I have also realized through the art co-op I’ve been in recently that there’s a reason I was a teacher (besides loving teaching). It’s a profession with a LOT of autonomy. I have a good editor and you are right; that makes a huge difference to a writer having a serious and articulate reader. I also love to write so I wish you great joy on your new adventure! ❤
I’m not sure I’m the right type of personality for a writing group either; like you, I enjoy my autonomy. I also need solitude more than some people do. Also, writing a memoir is a real adventure, and sometimes I need to just chill when it gets too heavy. But my advisor tells me that’s normal when you’re writing about a subject that’s fraught with emotional overtones. Anyway, this book has been clamoring to be written for well over twenty years, so I’d say it’s about time I got going on it!
Thanks for the kind wishes, and the same right back at you! I read and very much enjoyed Martin of Gfen, but not yet Savior, which I just discovered on Amazon a few days ago. My reading list is as long as my arm, but there’s always room for one more. And unless I lose my eyesight, there’ll be room in every single day of my life for a good book!
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I hope you enjoy Savior!
I spent much of the spring and early summer submitting queries for the book I finished this past winter — And, as it happens, the queries have interested no agents but they have interested two small publishers. Right now the manuscript is with a small press in Denver. Another, a small press in Arizona that only publishes novels set in medieval and Renaissance times is interested, but as they accept only exclusive submissions I must wait for the Denver guys to say yea or nay. That’s the kind of problem every writer wants!
If you find the time to leave a review of Martin of Gfenn on Amazon, I’d be very grateful. Those reviews are very helpful when one is a self-published writer.
Congratulations on your writing career, Martha! And I’d be pleased to leave a review of Gfenn. I think I can post reviews on Amazon.com, even though I’m not American; anyway, I’ll check it out. But first I want to re-read the story on my iPad so that I remember what I’m talking about! Short memory, plus too many books read in too short a period, equals remembering only “liked,” and not why. That part I save for the second reading, which I haven’t had time for yet. However, I need a little break from the writing, and it will be a pleasure to read Gfenn again. In fact, I’ll begin tomorrow morning – or even tonight, if I can’t get to sleep.
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Thank you, Susannah! I appreciate it very much.
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