I didn’t send out any polite warning, no be patient message. I didn’t know it was going to happen that weeks, or rather, months, would go by without a whisper from the ghosts of the Corn.
Six months ago life changed. Significantly. For the better, but change is change. Change is hard, y’all. I spent three months convincing myself and others it was the right change at the right time, before I even had any proof I was anywhere close to right about that.
I was, but hindsight is sun and blue sky
to the clouds and fog of prediction.
At first, I tried to keep up with the before ways of life while I adjusted to the now ways of life and prepared for the future ways of life. It was exhausting. December rolled in without snow or a chill and I figured it was as good a time as any to step back, get organized, maybe take a nap or two, and come back in the new year with a new resolve.
But as way leads on to way, I was having trouble finding my way back. (Ten points to the first person who gets that reference.) It lasted a few weeks. It was more work than pleasure.
I’m a good writer and I don’t want to lose the skills the years (and years) (and years) of practice have polished. I’m not writing, and that bothers me. Each week that passes without producing a story, I feel it. I know it. It haunts me. But only slightly. I still sleep at night.
I may not be writing much right now, and I may not know exactly when the regularity will return to my routine, but I am reading, and that’s important to writing. I’ve read 26 books this year. I finally got around to trying out Kindle Unlimited. It’s like going to an open bar at a wedding. For the price of a gift, there is no end to the spirits.
All this reading is good for my writing (that I’m not doing). It’s good for my soul. It’s taking the time that I used to spend writing.
I want to write, and I know that want will someday bring me back. I’ll dust off the keyboard, give it a few kisses, and bang out some stories resembling the scraped knees I had when I first returned to bike riding six months ago.
Just like riding a bike is a misnomer.
It takes some tumbles to get it right again.
I have projects and ideas. They are floating around in my head and on scraps of paper. I have that novel I wrote a few years ago. I’m pretty sure there’s been enough time and distance that I could effectively sand it from rough to draft. There’s The Florist. He’s kind of a pushy guy and keeps reminding me he’s chosen me to tell his story. I’m glad he’s fiction or I might be six feet under a bed of roses at this point. I have how many one-hundred word stories? How fun would it be to take those one-hundred and make them one-thousand and have a collection of short stories.
I’m not writing, only thinking about it, but I am reading. Studying writing. Like my life depends on it. Nick Spalding’s Bricking It made me laugh til tears ran down my cheeks. I cried like my best friend had died at the end of Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. I’ve discovered Margery Allingham and her clever Mr. Campion. So many good books. And a few not-so-good books.
It’s not the books that have taken me away, though. I’m putting an emphasis there, but it’s the background. Working from home is demanding. People seem to think I’m doing nothing, so I get piled with everything. More than once I’ve yelled at the walls around me, “I AM ONLY ONE PERSON!” I was able to express this frustration to the powers-that-be. Not that that has diminished the demand. But at least now I do feel I can say, I have this, this, and this, plus that, that, and that, oh and the other thing…so what goes first?
And then there’s the priority. Making breakfast, packing lunches, checking homework, getting to extracurricular on time, making dinner, and all the other ordinary, everyday parenting to-dos so many people seem to take in stride that has left me looking like I stuck my finger in an electrical outlet. It’s no wonder I’ve let writing go. Some days I don’t even get dressed, and that never used to happen. I go grocery shopping in the clothes I worked out in because when faced with the choice of having enough food in the house for two bottomless eating machines or looking good shopping for said food, I mentally apologize to everyone in the grocery store and I hurriedly throw apples, milk, and mac & cheese into my cart so I’m home in time to throw the bags in the fridge and get to school in time for pick-up. Add in the legal mumbo-jumbo, negotiations, and long outstanding timesharing agreement to make the everyday parenting to-dos divorce-court-official, plus monthly, week-long business travel for shits and grins, and you see why as way leads on to way, I’m having trouble finding my way back.
So, please excuse my absence. It’s temporary. I’ve promised myself that. I’ll get this new life figured out eventually. And once that eventually happens, I’ll re-open the flood gates and let the stories roar.
So tell me… Have you ever taken a break? Is change hard, or is it just me? How’s your life going?
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