Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Give Peace a Chance.

Did anyone else have a difficult April? Don't worry, it's almost over. Already I can feel the tension easing as May approaches.

My writing, or at least my desire to write, is coming back. I'm putting in a few hours every day, revising in the mornings, and rewriting in the afternoons. I've never worked on a manuscript so hard, not ever before. I always imagined I had, but nah! Not even close. The thing is, with publishing being all in a tizz, and multi-published writers being in a tizz, and agents and editors being in a tizz, it's hard to know which way to turn. I do know editors are strapped for time, a lot of agents are closing up shop, the tried and true are getting the contracts, and for a nobody like me to break in I must have a story that is not only amazing, but a manuscript that has been closely edited. There's no such thing as learning on the job anymore. The stakes are high. The pressure to perform could blow the top off your head.

Many friends think it's too hard to even try to get published. There are naysayers everywhere. There are a gazillion blogs that speak about the negative side of the publishing industry, that promote the e-publishing industry, that throw around statistics about the death of the print book. It's wearing on the nerves to say the least. I came to the conclusion a couple of weeks ago that there is way too much chatter in my life, and very little of it is of a positive nature. I decided to "go quiet". Have you ever done that?

I now visit only a handful of blogs, those I trust implicitly, and I don't comment or engage unless the subject is important to me. I don't tweet, I don't facebook, I watch less TV, and instead choose more movies that suit my mood. Or I read. Or I lose myself in my own creativity, and write my own stories. I get out into nature. I swim, or take long walks with my dog. Even my choice in music is instrumental only.

In getting quiet, I've discovered that writing is a big part of me, of my life, but being published or not, doesn't define me. I'm not giving up writing. If I never get published that's all right. I can live with that, just me, my nimble fingers, my crazy mind, a computer, and some peace and quiet.

Give peace a try. You never know what you'll discover about you.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Back from Australia

I took a trip to the land downunder, to visit with family. My adult children joined me, and they had a great time. They hadn't seen some of their relatives in over ten years. Of course, I'd been back every two years, but college and work always prevented the three of us from travelling together.

It was a good trip, although tough on my nerves at times. Sharing a house again with my children had its moments, but only because we all have different agendas all the time. I hate being the decision maker, because I know someone is going to be cheesed off. : ) Plus, I don't do well with large crowds. It's something to do with absorbing other people's energy, and getting overwhelmed. In recent years, I've lived alone. It seems the older I get the more I require my peace and quiet. But that too could be a writer thing, you know, living in your head, making up stories, inventing characters and making them do what you want them to do. Writers can be weird.

The trip was short, but sweet. Mom is looking good, and still very active. All of the sibs showed up, and they looked wonderful. Many had a grown-up child or two with them, and some of those had children of their own. My children basked in the glory of extended family. Their USA family is tiny. I enjoyed meeting the youngsters I'd never met, touching base with those who had grown like weeds since last trip, and holding the two babies born this year.

We did a lot of talking. A ton of talking, laughing, drinking, and eating...and more talking. There was a luncheon, a Bar-B-Que, a dinner out, a picnic lunch, and a pizza night, and all attended by more numbers than I cared to count. How I didn't gain any weight with all the chowing down is beyond my comprehension. We stayed for the most part in the Hunter Valley, and the weather was gorgeous. My brother and his wife and family came down from Townsville, and he said they'd had constant rain since last October. Their home is on a bit of a hill so they didn't get flood damage, but I think they were totally soaking up the sun. We visited the vineyards, stayed in a villa on a golf course, played tennis, walked at sunrise, rented a car and managed to drive successfully on the other side of the road, visited a zoo where my guys could feed the kangaroos and pet the koalas, and we even managed a day and night in Sydney.

When I arrived home it was to be greeted by a burst hot water pipe, a huge clean up and repair job, then the pressure of turning off the main water line had popped two valves on the sprinkler system (which was getting a bit ancient)so that required another water clean up and new installation. Then the home owners association said I needed to derust parts of my wrought iron fencing. (Due to excessive watering of the green belt behind my house where the HOA landscapers turn the sprinklers onto the fence.) But am I complaining. : ) Not yet, but I will next week.

So, there I was with dollars growing wings and flying out the windows, a huge case of jetlag, and my sandpaper strips in hand and grumpily sanding the rust spots. Tomorrow, I do the rustoleum treatment. Then I paint. This is not a small fence, by the way. It will probably take the better part of next week.

So, even though I had a less than stellar welcome home, I refuse to let it get to me. I'm going to be like my kids and bask in the family love as I sand the wrought iron. And I'll sing. Really, really, loud. And off key. Or maybe I'll brainstorm a new story. Yeah, that's the ticket.