Time Is On My Side

It really isn’t, you know. Each and every day I become more and more aware of how precious time is, how quickly it can pass, and how finite it actually is. That makes the time I am forced to spend recharging my batteries or simply resting–something I need to do more and more of the more that goes by–into something I resent automatically and always have to remind myself that I am no longer not only forty but not even fifty and sixty is in the rearview mirror now, and don’t have the energy or stamina that I used to take for granted.

I’ve taken a lot for granted my entire life, in truth.

Yesterday was one of those work-at-home with tasks that are relatively mindless while doing chores that are also relatively mindless. This was a very tiring, up and down week (I always marvel at how whenever I should be having a good time and enjoying something, I inevitably end up having to deal with something unexpected and irritating. It does keep me grounded, I suppose, and my ego in check–those great reviews won’t pay for a new tire or change this one or heal your arm, will they? As though I actually need anything else to keep my ego in check. I am trying to actually develop more of an ego, and more of a selfish nature. Perhaps ego isn’t the right word? I don’t like it–for me the word has negative connotations–and I think confidence is a better fit and more accurate. I am working to increase my self-confidence, and my belief in my own value and the value of the work that I do.

I was talking to a friend recently about my future–what’s left of it, at any rate–and what I should be doing and focusing on. I’ve not made plans in years, or thought very far ahead much with my career; I think the lack of cogent plan with my writing career is fairly apparent from a quick glance at its history. I think after Katrina I made up my mind that making plans was a waste of energy and/or time, as one has no control over one’s future. Life is always going to be throwing spitballs and curveballs at you, no matter how good your stance or your grip on the bat and the technique of your swing, you’re going to miss more often than you hit one out of the park. It is very easy for me to get distracted and side-tracked–thank you, brain chemistry–anyway, and oft times I will be thinking quite enthusiastically about one idea when I get another and the first one is forgotten, lost in the mists and cobwebs of the farthest reaches of my imagination, only to be stumbled across years later with an oh yeah lightbulb going on over my head. But I am going to carve some time out this weekend to try to plan ahead a bit, or at least try to plan my writing year for 2023. I have so many things in progress already that need to be finished that it’s not even funny–which I should also make a list of; not the short stories (far too many of those unfinished to make a list–it was somewhere over eighty the last time I counted them) but the books and novellas and other things that I’ve made a start on that need finishing at some point.

I allowed myself to sleep in this morning until eight, and then over my coffee I finished reading Wanda M. Morris’ superlative Anywhere You Run, which was simply marvelous and superb and fantastic–it’s hard to believe she is only two books into her career; it will be interesting to see how she continues to grow and develop as a writer as she gets further into her career–and yes, there will be more about this book later. I feel marvelously rested this morning, and the coffee is doing a lovely job of waking me. I am going to do some futzing this morning–dishes, filing, cleaning a bit–before getting cleaned up and diving into my manuscript for the rest of the day. I really need to stop being so goddamned lazy and get on with it, you know? It simply isn’t going to write itself, and I am very hopeful that I can make some terrific progress on the book today. There’s not any college football today–the season is over except for bowl games and play-offs–and so there are no distractions to be had; no “Oh I’ll just turn on the television to check some scores” only to transition to “oh, it won’t hurt to watch the rest of this half” to “oh, well, tomorrow I can work on my writing.”

And the hilarious part of it is that I will always, always, feel enormously satisfied, pleased, and happy when I stop writing for the day. Every single time.

Oh! I also taped Susan Larson’s The Reading Life, which you can click here to listen to if you are so inclined.

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely Saturday. Constant Reader!

Someday at Christmas

Yesterday was so beautiful here that I grilled burgers outside, taking a pillow for my back to rest against as I took my Agatha Christie reread out with me and basked in the glory of the gorgeousness of the day. And it was gloriously beautiful outside yesterday; hard to believe it was December…but then, early December is often quite delightful here. I did not, alas, get everything done yesterday that I wanted to get done, but that’s also kind of par for the course. Sundays are always hard-to-get-anything-done days here in the Lost Apartment. It usually is a day for Paul and I to hang out together–he usually doesn’t work on Sundays (he went to the office, for example, Saturday and didn’t get home until around eight that evening)so I generally try to get everything finished in the time before he gets up (he also sleeps late on Sundays). I didn’t manage that yesterday, so of course there’s still things for me to get done left over from yesterday, but that’s okay. I had a lovely time hanging out with him yesterday and watching Gossip Girl–the original show is really quite addicting–with the occasional break, during which I read more of my Agatha Christie reread.

Christie’s later books are often seen as lesser than her earlier ones, primarily, I think, because the earlier ones were so groundbreaking. Trying to figure out who the killer is was always part of the fun of reading Christie (spoiler: it was often hard to figure out because it was all-too-frequently two people, working together), and one of the interesting things about revisiting this particular Christie–any Christie,really–is that over the years I’ve read a lot of criticism of Christie, primarily that her characters weren’t developed well and she was so focused on the puzzle aspect of her books that the writing wasn’t strong. I guess those critics read a different Christie than the ones I’ve read? There were several times yesterday–and I am not very far into the book–where I was struck by her insights and cleverness about human nature, behavior, and how clever and wise some of her sentences were. One, in particular, stood out: And now he was dead, buried, and nobody cared very much…a rather chilling, if honest, insight. There’s also the fact that the primary reason Miss Marple is so successful at ferreting out information and solving crime is because no one takes her seriously for the simple reason she is old; she often uses that condescending attitude of the young towards our elders (well not our, I certainly am old now) against them, even at times playing the part expected of her, prattling on and on to distract her targets from her real objective, and then they are a bit startled by just how sharp her mind is, to the point they blurt out information they didn’t intend to ever share with anyone. We never get into Marple’s mind; she sometimes will tell us what Jane is thinking, but we don’t see it from her perspective; when Christie writes in the third person, it’s from a remove. There are also other point-of-view characters, but just to give the reader a bit more insight into what else is going on around the murder and how that impacts others. It’s also–I’d quite forgotten–how often old women are referred to as “pussies”, or Marple as a “nice old pussy”; I am sure the word meant something different then than it does now; or maybe it’s another example of the difference between UK English and American English–like how fanny means something entirely different in England than it does here.

I cannot imagine writing a book now and referring to an old woman–any woman–as a pussy now. But you know how I know Christie is a good writer? Rereading this book was inspiring–I was getting ideas for new projects of my own and about the current project, which means reading Christie triggered my own imagination, and writers who trigger my own imagination are, at least in my eyes, the best writers.

Today I am up and the sun is rising as I drink my morning coffee. I don’t think I slept all that well last night; it was a bit warmer than usual, not warm enough for the air conditioner to be necessary but I did need a fan. I don’t know if the whirring of the fan was why my sleep wasn’t deep–it wasn’t restless, just light–but I also don’t feel terribly tired this morning; we’ll see how that lasts through the day. I have errands to run after work today, so no gym this evening–saving that for tomorrow–so when I get home tonight I’ll do the dishes and try to get the kitchen/office finished (something else I’d intended to get done yesterday and didn’t) and work on the book some more. I also have a lot of emails to answer between clients this morning; I did make the to-do list (perhaps not as detailed as it should be) and have already started striking things from it. But progress is progress, after all, and one should never really beat oneself up over not making enough progress. Celebrate the wins, however small, rather than treat them as defeats.

LSU is going to a bowl game this year–next, really, not sure why it’s so late on the schedule–playing Kansas State, which is a sort of split loyalty thing…not as much as one might think. LSU is my team, and while I won’t be happy should they lose the game, at the same time that loss won’t be terribly disappointing or upsetting. It’s weird, I guess the new head coach won’t be coaching the game–there’s an interim head coach–but it’s also on a weird day of the week; a Tuesday after New Year’s, which is, as I said, very strange. But that’s okay, I suppose. Not sure how many of the bowl games I am actually going to watch this year–the National Championship game is, after all, on a Monday night, and since LSU isn’t going to be in it, I am not staying up late that night since I have to get up the next morning; it was an entirely different thing LSU was playing it it that lovely season two years ago–but I might have the games on in the background while I am doing something else.

Who knows? But Happy Monday and I am heading into the spice mines. Catch you tomorrow!

Coming Up

Happy New Year!

I chose to take a break from the Internet yesterday; no checking social media, no checking email, no hassling with anything on-line at all. Sometimes I think we forget how much the Internet has taken over our lives in the last ten years or so–at least, since the smart phone changed everything along with social media. It was, quite frankly, lovely to just relax and pay no attention to the rest of the world. I worked on the WIP for a good while yesterday, and thought about the fixes Scotty needs; I watched the LSU game (GEAUX TIGERS!) and some of the later bowl games as well. We’ve finally started watching Killing Eve, which we are loving (we might always be late to the party, but we always are most enthusiastic once we arrive). I wonder–has anyone read the books the show is based on? I might have to add them to the TBR pile.

Which, of course, is enormous.

I am hoping to finish my reread of The Shining this week; it’s a short work week, of course, because of the long holiday weekend, and I am working my usual half-day on Friday. We then work two full weeks before yet another three day holiday weekend for Martin Luther King Day, and of course, Carnival begins on Sunday with the arrival of Twelfth Night. I am going to have to take vacation time for the parades, because I can’t get to and from work with my car on parade days, so for the first time in years I can actually enjoy the parades without being exhausted from everything entailed with getting to and from work and passing out condoms in the Quarter. Plus, it will be a lovely little break as well, as well as not having to plan my days thoroughly to make sure I can get all the errands in around street closures and so forth.

Which is an enormous relief, quite frankly. I’m getting too old for all that stuff.

It’s also amazing how much email can pile up in your inbox when you take a day off to unplug. I think I might have to make that a Saturday or Sunday thing every week, to be honest. It was most lovely.

I also managed to re-initialize my old back-up hard drive that ceased working during the Great Data Disaster of 2018. Much as I hated seeing all that data and work lost, most of it had been reconstructed by now anyway and so whatever is gone may as well be gone forever; there was no guarantee the Apple Store would have been able to retrieve any of the data and I think that the loss wasn’t really that big of a deal. I no longer feel discombobulated by the loss of data, and I think I’ve finally reached the place where I can focus and get back into everything that needs to get done without worries or feeling disconnected from everything. It’s kind of lovely, really; I’ve felt so out of it ever since the Great Data Disaster of 2018 that I wasn’t certain I was ever going to get to a place where I would feel organized again.

And with me, organization (and being on top of things) is vitally important otherwise I won’t ever get anything done.

And it’s a new year, the one in which I turn fifty-eight. Huzzah! I am still feeling like I can achieve all my goals this year; I just have to stay focused and practice self-care.

And now, back to the spice mines.