It's been a year. Yeah, I know. You don't have to remind me. I've been dealing with a lot of stuff. My mother moved in with us. My father couldn't deal with her and his radiation treatments last summer, so she's been with us ever since. So here we are. I won't bore you with any of the details of how I am. Let's just say, I finally had an extra hour this morning to dye my hair--since my mother moved in with us (I kid you not. And it actually turned out really well. Even my daughter said so.) I just wish I could get rid of my damn wrinkles as quick. Anyway. A lot of stuff happened to me in the last year. I lost all my animals. Yeah. Three dogs, and my mother's cat who had also moved in with us. I had to put two of the dogs down the day after Christmas.
What I Did
However, they say, triumph overcomes tragedy. On December 28, I started to write a book to process and deal with my grief over losing the furry side of my family. I had written a quick synopsis for it last summer, but had tucked it away. I had the main character stuck in my head, her voice so clear, I just started writing. Something I honestly haven't been able to do since last year.
I kept writing and writing. Until it was finished. I finished it on April first. I knew when I started, the goal was to just finish. In trying to move my mother in last summer and make her as comfortable as possible, I had to leave the rest of my house in the shambles it was because of the revovations I began last spring break thinking I had all summer to finish. I have three rooms to finish painting, including the trim. Floors are ripped up. Ladders are resting against walls in the kitchen. I use them as shelves because I also ripped half of the cabinets out of the kitchen. I had to finish something. A book seems like child's play now.
What I Learned
1. I'm glad I finished it. I think it came out really well. It's been a long time since I could write from the heart instead of an agenda. I'm glad I was selfish enough to take the time to do it.
2. I never really knew how much time there was in a day until I stopped driving my daughter to high school. Of course, my mother takes up some of that time now, but my afternoons are free and for the last several months I've been known to not even check what everyone wants for supper until after 6 pm. Because I was writing. It blows my mind.
3. I am a major over-writer. I ended the first draft at 104K. Then I said, well, let me trim that down some. I only made it to 102K before I said, ok. Then I did a third edit and got it down to 99K. Which, still a little wordy, so another round. I ended that session with 101K.
I like to explain things. What can I say? Over the next two days, I will attempt to give it one more pass.
4. I don't like formatting. Especially for paperback. I do everything myself. Covers, formatting, editing, proof, copy, line, cover copy. I call this the busy-ness of writing. Where everything has to line up. Like true, plumb, and square. Page numbers, headers, footers, hate them so much. But it's part and parcel of being a starving artist. I have to do everything myself until I become a multi-million dollar best-selling author and can hire someone tod o it for me.
5. I like staying home.
What I'm Doing Now
I'm getting ready to publish a new book.
WAITING FOR YOU IN WICKITOCKET.
e copies will be available on April 22.
Fifty-seven-year-old Margaret Thompson lives a life of quiet desperation. Her daughters are in college, her ex-husband has remarried, and her vision of the future is blurry and uncertain. Until a letter arrives in March, informing Margaret she has inherited her beloved late aunt’s beach house in Connecticut. Her home every summer when she was a child.
Pictures from the attorney tell the story of a vengeful cousin, but Margaret has no idea of the true damage until she arrives in June. Over thirty years of cherished memories are erased as soon as she opens the front door. If that wasn’t bad enough, Margaret hears her late aunt talking to her and wonders if she’s losing her mind.
With little money, and only a college kid for a construction crew, Margaret is determined to bring the house back to what she remembers. Hidden treasures, secret rooms, and ancestral stories bring Margaret’s other memories to the surface—memories she had hoped to keep buried.
New friends, new ideas about her future, and new revelations about what home really means, force Margaret to question everything she once held dear and fight for what she now wants.
Unfortunately, what she truly wants only exists in the secret place in her heart.