Thursday, January 4, 2018

Memo to the Guy in Charge of the Muses

To Whom it May Concern:

If you're in charge of the Muses, I wish to make a complaint. The one you sent me is a pain in the A. For the past twenty years now, I've been trying to develop Chasing the Wind as a series--books, TV, whatever sells first (assuming either one succeeds--these days, you couldn't get odds in Vegas). From the time the idea was conceived, back in April 1998, I knew it was not going to be a single title. Okay, maybe not from the beginning, but close to it. I went through rewrites, revisions, changing plotlines, characters, relationships. I added material, subtracted material. I came up with sequels. I considered dropping it entirely. I switched from third person point of view to multiple first person POV.

When Collin and I finally published the first version in 2008, I had removed a lot of material that was supposed to be the sequel. Still trying to finish that. Or maybe not. At any rate, my muse has been of no help whatsoever. In fact, she's almost never around, let alone doing her job. Whatever she's being paid, it's too much. Muses are not paid to watch soap operas all day. Or are they?

New Year's Eve--or maybe I should say New Year's morning--was the last straw. I missed the ball drop, having fallen asleep--upright, I was so exhausted--so I went to bed. Shortly after one a.m., my muse finally arrived, and in a talkative mood. She kept pestering me until I got out my phone and started making notes--for a twenty-five part series incorporating (but not starting with) Chasing the Wind. I was not amused. What time zone does she think this is, anyway?

Oh, sure, I'm happy to have the thing finally plotted, and in such detail, but do you have any idea what this means? Does she? I can't just unpublish the original novel to restructure the whole thing. Or maybe I can, but I don't want to. I got some pretty darn good reviews on that one. Do you know how difficult it is to get people to write reviews, even short ones, even when they love the book? I think I could hold them at gunpoint and still get nothing. Anyway, I'm no spring chicken. I might not even live long enough to write all of those books. Couldn't Ms. Muse have given me all of this twenty years ago, before my brain decided to retire? It would have been helpful.

All of this inspiration, and nowhere to go. By the way, I'm still trying to catch up on that lost sleep.

Sincerely yours, 
Disgruntled Author



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Year's Resolutions: Keeping It Simple

Before I start, I want to dedicate today's post to my blogger friend Ivy. She's been an inspiration, even if this project has taken way too long. Ivy, I bought these at Dollar Tree last week and immediately thought of you....

Ivy's a big Wonder Woman fan!

I'm not one to make New Year's Resolutions. I used to give it a shot, but since I never stuck to them, it seemed a big waste of time. But now, I think I just might  manage to finish what I've started. Some months ago, inspired by Ivy, I decided to declutter. I long for the simple life, and decluttering seems the best way to start. I went through my clothes and donated a lot of stuff. Every year, except for 2016, our church has had a yard sale, and I've given them stuff for those sales. Collin has scanned all of our paper documents into the computer so there was no need for paper files. Anything I didn't use was given away or thrown away. Our movies, music and books are almost all digitized now.

And still, things started piling up again.

In the past year, we've spent more time than either of us would have liked in doctors' offices and hospitals. I had a couple of CT scans, x-rays, a brain MRI, a Doppler carotid ultrasound and a trip to the emergency room for an infected finger. I discovered I had a very minor stroke--"pinpoint" was the word my doctor used. Still, it's had an impact.

Collin, on the other hand, has a problem that has yet to be identified. A few months ago, he started having trouble walking. He lost feeling from the waist down. At one point, I had to hold him up. He's fine now, but still needs to be evaluated for a potential neuromuscular disorder. That's scheduled for a couple of weeks ago.

So as I said, things were piling up. I had boxes of stuff I'd planned to donate to the church sale that didn't happen, bags of recycling I couldn't get to the recycling facility. We could barely get into our storeroom. And there was stuff that really needed to go to the dumpsters. We had boxes in the dining room, and things got worse when the time came to set up our Christmas tree. (Yes, we have an artificial tree--we've had the same one for twenty-three years now.) We bought a new plastic container for the tree because the box it came in was falling apart. Problem: the new container is much bigger than the old box, so it won't fit on the shelf where we've kept it as long as we've lived here. We need a new storage spot--but where? The storeroom looks like an episode of Hoarders.

Our storeroom. It was worse.
 A LOT worse.

The wake-up call, for me, came when we were out with a friend just before Christmas. I was telling her my Odd Couple story about issues I'd had with a former roommate--and she was genuinely surprised to hear that I was the Felix in that story! When we got home, I took a look around and decided things had to change. 

It couldn't happen overnight. It was going to require some reorganizing. So Collin and I spent New Year's Eve sorting, bagging, boxing and reorganizing. I estimate another week's work to get everything done, but we're getting there.

Anybody else make any resolutions for 2018 beyond just getting through it?