Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Being An Author Amidst A Career Called Life
Definition 2a of the word life at www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary is the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual. Definition 1a of author is one that originates or creates.
What a Clash of the Titans.
I could make this a school paper with a list of definitions. Karma. Time management. Adjustment. I've always lived by the adage, and offered the advice, to write every day, even if it is only 15 minutes a day. Perhaps, I was able to firmly believe in that because I had a writing partner. My oldest daughter was here with me and helped out. Not only was it easy to say but it was easy to do. I had a support system in place and a routine. Over coffee, my mother and I would discuss an idea she or I came up with. Sometimes, we'd discuss this idea for three or four days. For Wicked Allure, I wrote the first chapter then brought it downstairs for our morning meeting. My mother read it an we continued the next day by discussing a former friend and how she and her mother seemed to hate each other. In seven days, we had a 100 pages. But tasks and chores were delegated so it was possible.
Then January 17, 2013 arrived and an animal conspiracy which resulted in my mother breaking her ankle on both sides. My mother isn't an animal lover like me. I was upstairs in my bedroom when I heard shouting. I didn't check because our house is NOISY. The girls laugh and play. The poodle barks. The cat fusses. My mother tries to scare Katie and Alegra, or vice versa. I thought it was routine. Blissfully unaware and awaiting Scandal, Alegra came upstairs and said Memaw slipped and fell and she needs you to help her up. Delivered of her message, my daughter ran out. Okay, so not only are we noisy but we like to play pranks, too. I was skeptical, but I never know with these people. However, this was serious. My mother was on the floor and couldn't move. I asked what happened. Well. When my mom went to the kitchen she saw Skylar, the cat, on the table. She ran after him to get him off. Skylar isn't easily afraid. He likes to stare you down out of his round, yellow eyes. While my mom was trying to get Skylar to get down, Gigi, the poodle peed. My mom turned to talk to Katie and Alegra and slipped. That's version 2. Version 1 involves the dog tinkling just before my mom came and confronted Skylar. One of the girls stepped in it, got a paper towel, wiped her feet off, and didn't bother to clean it up and didn't think to call me to do it. No matter how it happened, it happened and the battle between Author and Life had begun.
The Monday before the fall, we talked to our agent and promised to send her a long contemporary due and a short contemporary by February. We'd also get a short paranormal to her not long after and the two historicals later this summer. Meanwhile, we'd work on the prequel to Wicked Allure and Kelly and Beau's story, Scandalous Allure.
There was no way that was going to happen. Life had won round 1.
The Wednesday after the fall, my mother had surgery. It was a same day deal, but she was sick as she was being wheeled out of the hospital and she was sick for the several days with vomiting, nausea, and dizziness. I wanted to call 911 and she said no because if she returned to the hospital they would finish her off. She also called me a horse ::Sniff, sniff:: I refused to leave her legs dangling from the bed when we got her home, so I put my arms under hers and pulled her up. She was down, my mother but not my mother.
Round 2: C'mon, Life, lift up those gloves in victory.
Two days after her surgery, the vomiting stopped. The dizziness still hasn't. She's wearing patches and taking Meclyzin. It isn't doing much good. Then, of course, I always sit down and regroup. Think. I say, tongue-in-cheek, my family groans when I tell them I've been thinking. I have my big girl panties, so I admit I can come up with some, er, off-the-wall, wild, sideways ideas.
After lamenting not having two or three of me and flipping one or two folks off because of the comments passed about what would happen if there were two or three additional mes, Elaine Raco Chase sent me information on how to get Wicked Allure turned in to an audio book. That idea was an answer to my prayers. I didn't have time to read to my mom. I was too busy homeschooling, cleaning, cooking, etc. Everything connected to our writing had taken a back seat because I had to take care of my mom. She was depressed because she couldn't write. Hell, she couldn't sit up. Writing was out of the question.
Life is what you make it, though. I live by the following lines from William Ernest Henley's poem, Invictus: I Am the Master of my Fate. I Am the Captain of my Soul.
Has anyone ever felt when you fight life you fight faith? You fight the hope and belief everything will be fine? The first thing I did was told my mother not to worry. I turned in a book I had to write without her. I told her I would work on the others and send them in, but I'd also ask if Joyce would be willing to point out plot holes, flat characters, anything. I stopped talking about Facebook, Twitter, or Blogging. I found a way to cook seafood lasagna, shrimp stuffed avocado, fried swai, broiled salmon, homemade chicken soup, fruit salad, stewed chicken, gumbo, melt-in-your-mouth pancakes (the name of the recipe, people) and other things I thought she might enjoy. I also managed to have my oungest daughter ban me from cooking rice and bacon. I played a lot of music as I went about my chores. I adjusted and, in turn, my mother adjusted. Oh, we're still late as hell on turning everything in. I began to find time to write again. Then, came the day, when the audio proof of Wicked Allure was ready. My mother listened to it "for me". I told her I didn't have time to do it.
She loved it! She loved remembering how we wrote Wicked Allure and some of the things we had to adapt to while writing it. She recalled, with every book we've written, published or not, we've had to adjust to accomodate...something.
Sunday, my mom cooked dinner for the first time since she broke her ankle. Monday, she made iced tea.
And, Monday, she picked up pen and paper (she writes her part of our stories long-hand), and wrote 2 pages for the first time since January 16th.
Life is filled with choices. We chose to adapt to circumstances to get back to writing.