Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Ice Ages

Time passes so quickly that it alarms me sometimes. How did I get anything done at all in my former life when I worked for other people? The truth is that I didn’t, or at least I was only able to do whatever was absolutely necessary to live.

Now my work is writing, and work at it I do, and yet it still feels to me that I’m always short of time. Days bleed into one another, and weeks, and months, and a year passes without my quite being aware of how it happened. It seems that I’m constantly busy, and yet I feel like I make little progress.

Yet when I remember the monumental events in my past that changed my life forever, or set me on a new path, I realize that most of them happened quickly, sometimes in an instant. I think of that when I’m frustrated, when it comes to me that I have less and less time in front of me to fool around with and wonder if it’s just going to be like this for the rest of my life. In the words of that immortal philosopher, Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

I’m normally not much bothered by things, and I think I have a naturally sunny disposition. But every life goes through periods that must be endured, and the past few years have been my personal Ice Age. My husband’s health problems have been no secret. We have endured and he keeps coming through, and I’ve been able to return to my own pursuits. But it seems that something has changed. I go through the days with a sense of unreality. I want to hold myself at a distance. My mind wanders. I’ve frozen over.

Everyone gets to go through these periods, if they live long enough, and this is not my first rodeo, as we say in Oklahoma. It’s the universal life experience, to lose loved ones, to go through extended times of stress and fear. In the past, no matter how unendurable a situation seemed at the time, I lived through it whether I felt like it or not, and the fog eventually lifted. I expect that will happen again. You just have to hunker down and wait for spring.

With that in mind, I’ve finally begun working on the tenth Alafair Tucker novel, though at this point the manuscript consists of several pages that meander about like the mighty Ganges. But I keep plugging along. I need a few more good weeks of writing to make significant progress, yet next month is shaping up to be very busy with the launch of book nine, The Return of the Raven Mocker. So I’m working hard to get as much done as I can before things get crazy. It’s interesting to see how a new book shapes up. No matter what you plan, things show up in your writing that never occurred to you when you started out. Funny. You dig deep for your characters, and bring up a lot of stuff that was way down inside yourself.


Aline Templeton said...

I hope spring comes soon for you Doris. After a year of family bereavements, I do feel for you.

Charlotte Hinger said...

Donis--yes, sometimes life feels like it's on hold. I'm very self-protective and sometimes involuntary numbness is a necessary by-product.