Sunday, September 30, 2007

Writing Life

Like it or not, a person is defined by their labels. Even the self-chosen labels, feminist, wife, lover, mother, sister, daughter, friend, student, co-worker, boss, employ--define us. We are never just a person. One of the big important labels is our job, paid or not. Though paid carries a lot more weight in this material world. We are, to a large extent, what we do.

Along with the death of a spouse comes the loss of a whole slew of labels. I find myself in virgin territory with unparalleled freedom and acute loss of identity. The writer label is still too new and self-imposed to feel important or all defining. For the past four years, writing has been my avocation, and my escape.

I still write everyday, working at my craft like a deaf woodcutter. Waiting for others to hear of my efforts, thus affirming their reality. This is the strange limbo of the sold, but still unpublished writer, clinging to the encouraging words of kindly editor who said nice things about my story. And best of all the magic phrase--I want to offer you a contract for this work.

When I began writing, it was with the goal of developing a second career. After working through a retirement planning exercise, it was obvious that I needed a job, not for income, though extra money is pleasant, but because work was such a huge factor to my sense of self.

At the time my husband received a terminal diagnosis, and through all of procedures, treatments, consultations, and decisions that followed, my role of caretaker and the impact of the inevitable loss of that vital, demanding job was never considered. Even with hindsight, I would make the same choices again.

I believe life is a journey as opposed to a destination. Right now, I’m crawling around after a train wreck, trying to find my luggage, which is a huge problem because I don’t know what it looks like or even if I have any, but if I can find some with my name on it, I'll gather it up, and then move ahead on foot.

Throughout this upheaval, I keep writing, trusting it will keep me moving in the right direction.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Writing Life

As a result of attempting to learn French, polish Dangerous Book two, keep the juvenile delinquent dog from dismantling the house and garden, and keep the hoodlum cat out of the prison system (he's an unrepentant and unlicensed killer) my little brain is frazzled. Worse, none of these worthy goals has been accomplished. Of course, having the attention span of flea isn't helping.

On the plus side, I have plenty of do.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


As someone who is perpetually trying to improve her shape I could relate to this man's misadventures . . .


This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine.

Dear Diary,

For my fortieth birthday this year, my wife (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since playing football 20 yrs ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. Called the club and made my reservation with a personal trainer named Vanessa, who identified herself as a 24 yr old aerobics instructor and Model for athletic clothing and swimwear. My wife seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.

MONDAY: Started my day at 6:00am. Tough to get out of bed, but it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Vanessa waiting for me. She was something of a Greek goddess with blonde hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!!!! Vanessa gave me a tour and showed me the machines. She took my pulse after 5 minutes on the treadmill. She was alarmed that my pulse was so fast, but I attributed it to standing next to her in her Lycra aerobics outfit. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring, Vanessa was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although
my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!

TUESDAY: I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out of the door. Vanessa made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air, and then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Vanessa's rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!! It's a whole new life for me.

WEDNESDAY: The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying on the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Vanessa was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for early in
the morning and when she scolds, she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurts when I got on the treadmill, so Vanessa put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Vanessa told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other shit too.

THURSDAY: Vanessa was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late; it took me that long to tie my shoes. Vanessa took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the men's room. She sent Lars to find me, then, as punishment, put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.

FRIDAY: I hate that bitch Vanessa more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic little cheerleader. If there were a part of my body I could
move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it. Vanessa wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the F*C**NG Barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

SATURDAY: Vanessa left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her made me want to smash the machine with my planner. However, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.

SUNDAY: I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year, my wife (the bitch), will choose a gift for me that is fun -- like a root canal or a vasectomy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Travel adventures

Bon Jour,

I'm learning French, because I'm going to France next February. This allows me to acquire at least a minimal polite vocabulary, modern luggage and some ideas about what I want to see and do while there.

Frankly, my heart quells at the idea of going so far from my snug little home, but if not now when? How often does life offer travel chances? This will be a frugal adventure, but that may well be the best kind. Lots to do between now and then.

A plus tard! (see you later)

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Left to my own devices, I find I'm distressingly like the juvenile delinquent little dog--vain, shallow, and quite scattered. Yesterday, I spent several hours perusing perfume blogs. Just contemplating all the lovely extravagant fragrance options. And lamenting the lack of availability of Vol de Nuit in this country. A trip to Paris is sounding more appealing everyday. What a pity I don't speak french, lessons might be entertaining. Even extravagant highly unlikely dreams enchant me in my current distractable state. I thought I was a much more industrious type--a real worker bee, this may take some serious adjusting.

My deplorable tendency toward fussiness remains, but seems to be anchored on the mundane aspects of housekeeping and an obsession with pristine edges and moldings. No one even looks at these things. I suppose it could be worse, I might take up endless comma deleting and replacing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Writing life

This morning I'm sending off an electronic submission for book two in my dangerous series. Then in a few weeks when time allows perception to return, the steely-eyed internal editor will get her turn with Urban Encounter. And after that it's time to start a new story--the second of the Pirate novellas.

Each of these series has at least one more installment--but those belong to next year. At least, so far as submitting them anywhere goes. :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Writing life

Lots of obsessive cleaning, therapy gardening, walks with the little dog, and general puttering--this is how I've been spending me days. But Fiona is talking, since the story is all from her point of view--she is the one I need to listen to.
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