Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fall Fever

Some people get spring fever. My dictionary defines this condition as "a listless, lazy, or restless feeling commonly associated with the beginning of spring."

I don't feel that way in the spring. Spring is for cleaning out closets and washing windows. Spring is for planting flowers.

I get that lazy, restless feeling in the fall.

I want to do something, but I don't know quite what. i start a book and put it down. I begin a letter, but I don't know what to day. I watch a TV show and switch channels halfway through, not caring how it ends.

I  admit that my writing has suffered. Plots swirl in my mind, but they don't make it to my fingers.  I daydream of making the NY Times best-seller list, but I can't force myself to Tweet and Blog and do all the other things I should be doing to promote my books. 

Maybe it's the weather: warm, with just a hint of chill in the air. Or the leaves turning scarlet, gold and purple, changing the landscape, telling me that summer is over and winter is on its way. 

This might well be the last nice day. Enjoy it. There will be time for work when it is cold and sleeting and the outdoors doesn't beckon. 

Maybe I'll go for a walk. 

Maybe I'll take a nap.

To paraphrase Mark Twain: "It's fall fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it  you want--oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A picture is worth an afternoon

I'm in between projects right now and taking a break. In a week or so, I will most likely be immersed in another book. But for the present, I am so not at my keyboard.

The other day I printed out a photo from my son's wedding (the wedding was beautiful, thank you, as was the bride). I needed a frame and began sorting through the hodge-podge that had accumulated on the bottom shelf of our bookcase.

I found plenty of frames, some with pictures in them and some empty. As it turned out, none were exactly what I wanted, but that's another story. What I did was spend a few hours sorting through the pictures and putting them in various albums. I have one (or two) for each grandchild, and several labeled simply "Family."

There were wedding albums, the small 4x6 ones that you used to get when the drug store developed a roll of film. (Remember rolls of film?) I smiled at the young couples looking so confidently at the future.

There were pictures of family members who are no longer with us. Those pictures also made me smile as I recalled their presence in my life.

I added the grandchildren's photos to their respective albums, noting how they had grown from gap-toothed first graders to teenagers. Yes, it has been awhile since I did more than look at the pictures and add them to the pile on the shelf.

I re-framed a few, finding the perfect frame for a picture of Mom standing among her prize peonies. And I selected some that had been face-down for years and gave them their deserved place on the now-cleared shelf.

But what to do with several years' worth of Christmas photo cards? I hate to throw them away, and they don't fit neatly in the sleeves of an album. Still, those happy smiling families are too precious to toss. I guess I am a sentimental fool, but I kept them.

I ended up with more than an organized bookcase. I had a lovely afternoon filled with memories.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why I write

Why do you write?

I hear this question a lot, and so do many other writers. If not addressed to me personally, it comes up in forums, blogs, Tweets and other means of communication.

I don't think the question is so much as why I write, but why I create. Writing is the medium; I could as easily (if I had the talent) express myself in music or art.

I believe everyone is born with a creative gene or impulse or trait--whatever you want to call it. Sadly, that creativity is mostly squashed by the time we reach puberty. But that's a rant for another day.

Some of us persevere, much to the amazement and puzzlement of our friends and relations. Unless we achieve the success of a J.K. Rowling, our efforts seem meaningless. Why put so much time and energy into a project that at most becomes an expensive hobby?

My reply is that I don't believe anyone, even Ms. Rowling, starts out with the idea that they will make millions of dollars and retire early. If it happens, it is a side benefit received gratefully and humbly. We start out because that story, that vision, that haunting thread of melody, must be freed.

Why do I write?

I answered the question once by  saying, "To get the story out of my head."

I guess that's as good an answer as any.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Moving On

It is official. I have successfully converted my novel, "Angels Unaware," for CreateSpace and Kindle.

It is a leap of faith to self-publish a story that has been "out there" for two years, but with the demise of Draumr Publishing, I had the choice of undergoing the submission process again, which would make it unavailable until such time as I was accepted by a new publisher and the new book was ready (which could take up to to two years or more), or to get it back on the lists as soon as possible.

My oldest son, who is an accomplished desktop publisher, did my new cover. I think it is beautiful!

Now all I have to do is replace the old cover on my web site, Facebook, and anywhere else it is shown. I'm not sure what is going on with Amazon, as it is showing both covers, but I assume the old one will disappear in time.

Or not. The old cover of "I'd Rather Go to California" is still up with the notation that the book is no longer available. I don't know why they don't just delete it.

Now to do the same with "The Lunch Club." I'm about halfway through formatting it. I have an idea for the new cover, but with this rain, the picture I have in mind will have to wait for a sunnier day.

I'm sitting here drinking a cup of vanilla chai tea as I contemplate all that still needs to be done before I can move on to a new project.

Whew. maybe I'll just take a break and read awhile!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A universe at my feet

I don't have to go far to find wildlife. It's on my deck.

I went out to sit and enjoy my morning coffee and the newspaper the other day and saw a skink on my deck chair. These little lizards live around the house and one has taken up abode in the chairs stacked against the brick wall.

I chose another chair, only to find a tiny, green frog on the armrest. He clung to his perch with splayed toes and never moved as I slowly opened it. What he did do was change from bright green to a grayish-olive as he shut his eyes to a slit. I think he hoped I'd think he was dead, but the quick rise and fall of his belly betrayed him.

I turned my back and he disappeared.

These creatures are in addition to the family of sparrows that line up on the deck rail each morning and evening, awaiting their turn at the feeder; and the humming birds that dart around our heads, fearless and demanding. We have witnessed many a  "dog fight" from these tiny aerialists.

It reminded me that our yard is host to hundreds, if not thousands of tiny lives, going about their business as unaware of me as I am of them. I know they are there when I stop to listen, especially in the late afternoon or at night. The chorus of chirps, tweets, whirrs, chuffs, croaks, and whistles fills the air.

They don't know they are minute inhabitants of a world that is spinning around at tremendous speed while careening through an ever-expanding universe. And in that universe, I am as minute a figure as the denizens of my back yard.

It makes me both humble and exhilarated.

Humble at my small place in the world, and exhilarated to be a part of it.