How’s that book coming along?
Are you still writing that book?
Will you ever finish writing that book?
That book…it’s not a book yet, it’s written, but it’s still a stack of paper that I printed in August, it has been marked up with multiple notations, yellow highlights, sticky post-it notes, stuff crossed out, circles with arrows, and occasionally a roadmap of changes scribbled on the verso of the particularly complicated pages—I’m still working on making it right. A little bit at a time—bite-sized time. I’m paring it down a little more, a word here or a sentence there—it’s a process, and because it’s a big book, it’s going to take time. When I feel overwhelmed by it, I walk away. One thing I’ve been doing (digitally of course) is picking out specific words like dialog tags to zero in on dialog—how many hundreds of times have I used “said” or “asked” is enough to make me dizzy, but it’s do-able as long as I remain patient. Then I look for laughter and smiles, grins and giggles, sighs and whispers, mumbles and mutters, grumbles and shrieks. It certainly slows down the process to give me another look at what I’ve done. I’ve also done searches on words as innocuous as “something” or “just” to examine the potential rewording or elimination—I’m amazed how many times I used the word “really”—fuckin’ really—I got rid of a lot of those. I’m a little disappointed that I’ve only lost two pages so far, but I’m only halfway through. I’m taking my time with it. I have to.
It’s been a long year. I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve done, haven’t done, and trying to set a goal or two (finish the book for one), but I know I will blow off anything restrictive, it’s a human thing to do, hell if anyone, even myself, will tell me what I can and can’t do. Humph! I know what I need to do. I pay my bills on time and I show up for work early and do my job. One thing I’m especially amazed with (and a little overwhelmed by) I started to make a stained glass window for my foyer—I’ve never made one before, so I’m learning as I go. I’ve started to paint again after a hiatus of a year almost two if I don’t count the 2015 Sketchbook Project, but I will because it was a beautiful sketchbook (2016’s is a work in progress, it’s going to be beautiful too.) I’ve photographed my acre of the world and posted a photo a day in my digital sketchbook on Tumblr, I might’ve missed one or two. It was nice to have one of my photos published in The Sun. I had the flu twice, the first time was Christmas a year ago, and then I had it again in April. I’ve done tons of reading, books and blogs. I’ve written some poe-ems and other interesting short things that aren’t poe-ems. I’ve enjoyed my discovery of Amanda Palmer and listening/collecting lots of new music—and I have a ukulele, which I plink away on aimlessly when I feel like it (I’m still learning.) I’ve been closely following the plight of the wild horses and burros out west, writing letters and signing petitions, trying to help fix the broken system. There are more wild horses in BLM holding facilities than in the wild, there’s not enough people who can adopt them, the round ups are inhumane; horses and burros are dying needlessly. It’s so fucked up I can scream my eyeballs out. I’m falling behind with my Goodreads updates and book thoughts, I’m just enjoying the books, I don’t want reading to become work. My creaky body is creaky, no more than before, I manage, some days are better than others—to be honest, it pisses me off that I’m feeling old when I still feel like I’m nine on the inside. But nine year olds don’t have hot flashes—I love it when I sleep through the night and not fling the blankets off…
My creative life is a bonus that I’m grateful for because without it I’d be empty. Creativity thrives on the highs and lows of emotional upheaval…stuff like joy, lust, angst, and grieving is a stew pot of “Gahhhhh, what the fuck!” if ever there was one to stir. Being the little creative spirit that I am, I wouldn’t be able to create anything if I didn’t open up those emotional spigots and let them flow. (Because I have to, if I didn’t, my little head would probably pop off my body.) I could never do any of it just going around “la-di-dah” picking daisies without a care in the world…tho’ a day in a sunny meadow picking daisies is a bonus, a vacation from the darkest dark and the brightest light, it’s necessary to get rest. Don’t throw a sunny day under the bus—sit back and absorb it—not everything has to be seen through a lens, on a screen, examined, or picked apart—sometimes it’s a good thing to experience life without the “apps” or an agenda. I spent time on my porch, lying on the floor, staring up at the blue sky while the blue stared back. It’s a balancing act to make art, manage to live life on the outside, and not lose your mind—sometimes it’s lonely. I often think I’ve got it in hand and then I don’t, oops. Shit happens. I consider the stuff I have gone through, how much I hated school when I was a kid, being picked on and misunderstood, and the horrors of being a teenager. When I got married and pregnant in my early twenties and nearly lost my baby—stress, bed rest, and the ICU, my tiny baby was the biggest one there, and had a better chance to make it. He turned out fine almost 30 years later. During our thirty years of marriage, my Fred and I bought two houses, our current one we’ve lived in for 20 years. Since living here, my Fred’s parents died, then my parents died, my sweet fat tabby was killed by a coyote, my dog(s) died of old age, I’ve had cats die of old age too. Someone who I considered to be my best friend turned out to be a back stabbing evil little bitch (if I see her ever again it’ll be too soon.) Our back porch blew off in a windstorm once (I hope it won’t happen again.) There are days when my work at the day job is overwhelming, and I feel old and irrelevant, marginalized. One of my books was published with the word “dairies” instead of “diaries” on page whatever (it’s fixed.) I miss my one dog named Max. My Fred could’ve been killed in a bizarre car accident in August, thankfully, he saw what was coming down the road, got out of the way, he walked away without a scratch, but our Jeep was fucked. Two weeks later, we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and picked up the new truck that replaced the old Jeep. Then there are the small things, I’ve had a cat puke on my laptop (not this one), another cat peed on my favorite boots, a cat (another little shit) broke an antique dish of my mother’s that will never be replaced (I’m an idiot for leaving it there.) If one more shithead drops off their unwanted cat at my house because we have a barn and they think it’s a good place to do it, I will chase them down and kick their ass. Speaking of ass—my mini-donkey stepped on my foot, bit my thumb, and cornered my grown son because he pissed her off (not on the same day) and (he’s lucky she didn’t kick him)—what the fuck, right? The list of a lifetime goes on and on and on and on, life happening, big things, little things, some things life changing, some not so much—lessons learned, take them as they come—and I’ll still take in the cat that some fucking jerk dropped off outside my house because I’m a nice lady and cats seem to know it…
Did I say “fuck” too many times? Oh well—you see, it’s life that fills the coffers for creative stuff later—one can’t experience all of that painting in a studio, or sitting at a desk in front of a computer, or diddling around with a stupid smartphone. So if it takes me twelve years or more to write a book it’s because I’m busy living life.