Thursday, January 08, 2009

Back in the Groove

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the holidays. There was some really good stuff (lots of family) and some not-so-good stuff (some of them never lift a finger, but anticipate food and drink worthy of royalty). I wouldn’t trade the good stuff to avoid the bad, though. Still, because I wasn’t getting enough sleep, writing, blogging, email, and even phone calls got postponed. Hell, let me be honest—they flew by me like space dust. But I have a hunch I’m not alone. As Donis said, it was mighty quiet out there in cyber space.

Which brings me to something I’ve been pondering for a while. All this connectedness is great; I love the fact I can contact my readers, my friends, my colleagues, and my publisher in minutes. But doesn’t it amp up the stress level in our busy lives? Email requires a couple of hours of work time each day. I see people in my neighborhood walking their dogs while talking on their cell phones. Joggers are plugged into iPod shuffles, oblivious to birdsong, the soughing of wind in the trees, and approaching traffic. These electronic wonders bring mixed blessings.

Monday, my older son went back to college, my younger one went back to high school, and emotion flooded me. I miss the lively activity of having my children nearby. Like the simultaneous buzzing of the house phone and my mobile (which one to get first?), they keep me engaged—and distracted.

Tuesday morning, my thoughts were still too fragmented to find the thread in my ongoing novel, so I went for a long bike ride. There’s a path around Kapiolani Park that leads through an arboreal tunnel, and the stately old monkeypod and shower trees were filled with birds. One or two of them were pouring their joy to the leafy canopies that filtered jewels of sunlight to the dappled earth. It brought me peace and grounding. The characters in my novel reemerged, along with their crises. I needed to escape from the jangling technology of my work to return to the heart of it.

On another topic, be sure to come back Sunday to read guest blogger Susan McBride's post. Susan is the award-winning author of the Debutante Dropout Mystery series. Too Pretty to Die, the fifth and last novel in this series, has been nominated for a Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Amateur Sleuth novel of 2008. I could go on and on here, but it would be better for you to read Susan's own story.

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