I don’t mind telling you that I’m just a bit tired. Last week we spent our days walking on the beach, sitting on the Healing Porch, eating wonderfully creative food that should be known among the gourmand elite. All-in-all, it was a tough week. Sunshine every day, temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s, sun and sand and surf. It was truly grand.
Yesterday we had snow. Not much, and not bad, and today it blew away with warming temperatures and sunny skies, but still. And that means we are being warned, not warmed. The prediction is for a hard, cold winter. Well, yes. We do live on a mountainside, we do experience cold and snow and the charm of woodsmoke and hearty stews and toasty fireplaces. We have an old bed warmer, a long-handled copper pan that we can fill with hot coals from the fireplace and then circulate under the covers for a few minutes before climbing into bed of a cold winter’s night, but in reality, we seldom use the fireplace, we burn our wood outdoors in a special furnace that sits some 70 feet from the house itself, and we maintain a comfortable living space that serves us well.
The impact of returning home was somewhat lessened by the greeting we received from the dogs (who had spent the week at a country inn), and by the opportunity to see (and hold and kiss) the newest member of the family, born while we were away. He’s a grand looking little fellow, full of cuteness and huggableness (being a writer means you can make up words) and, of course, infinite promise. There is more warmth in that than in a year of sun and surf.
So now it’s back to work. I spent part of every day away, working on stories that I have not yet published. I’m thinking a collection (they are mostly short, novella-length or less) might be the next publishing venture, or a novel I have written three times and can’t find the version that truly satisfies me. I’ll tell you about it if I decide to rewrite it one more time, to get it right, and send it out into the world. But it takes time.
I don’t know about you, but I have always found vacations interrupt my working rhythm as much as they help me feel ready to take on whatever comes next. Finding the right balance is always a trick to be mastered (some never do), and for a writer it is perhaps just a bit harder than for others. The thing is, you see, when you write, you are putting yourself into a peculiar and uncomfortable position. You are proposing that complete strangers look at your innermost thoughts and deepest feelings and interpret for themselves who you are. You are asking people you don’t know and will never meet, to comment on your abilities, you skills, your art. Those are the things that make up the person the writer is, and by presenting oneself, even through a fictional story, you are literally (literarily) offering yourself up for a slicing and dicing that makes what the gourmet chef does to a carrot look like first grade finger painting.
Is it any wonder that a week of talking, laughing, listening and holding yourself in a static mode is something a writer approaches with mixed feelings?
As I write this I am also thinking about tomorrow, about election day. I will spend the day, starting about five AM, with two of my neighbors, running our local precinct. Of the 100 or so registered voters we serve, we hope all will turn out, but about 65% usually do. Still higher than many places. I hope you will take the time to go and, with thoughtful consideration, vote your conscience and beliefs. If we all do that, we can take a giant step toward protecting the life to which the founding fathers pledged their lives, their honor and their sacred fortunes.
Staying home should not be an option.