It's been a long time between blogposts... and a long time since I sat down and really had time to fall into a manuscript. When I say fall--I mean that's how it feels when writing is going well; I am immersed. I am Sunk In. I've fallen through the cracks into another world--one of my own making, and I inhabit the characters and wander around in the setting. It's wonderful! But falling into a manuscript doesn't always happen. Real life gets in the way of fiction sometimes, despite how good I've become over the years at compartmentalizing my life, always making time for my writing--in between teaching at Mills College, grading papers, planning courses, parenting our kids, caring for our dogs and cats, dealing with home repairs and maintenance and general housekeeping! Writing has a special time slot, and it is usually sacrosanct. As a college professor I am also fortunate to have summers off from teaching, and for three decades now those summers have been prime writing time-even when my kids were tiny. When the spring semester ends, my writerly juices really start flowing, and I wake up each day eager to sit down and FALL IN.
But when my mom was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer this past summer, all the time I'd planned to spend on writing was taken up with doctor visits and scans and operations and procedures--and learning how to be a caregiver. My mom has moved out of her cozy home across town and moved into our guest room (actually my husband's painting room/office; now his easels and canvases share space in the play room with our teenage son's x-box and music), and it's good. We are so happy she can live with us for the duration of her treatments. The treatments seem to be working, but treating cancer is a difficult and long haul. My fictional plots fried up. My time was not my own. I discovered audiobooks in a big way! And I'm honored to be able to care for my mom, and grateful to my husband and kids for helping so much. This feels like a special season in our lives--a season in which writing does not play a part. And it's okay.
But now, in the new year, I'm feeling the pricking at my thumbs which means I need to write again. I sat down for three hours on New Year's Day, opened my laptop, and read through my file of manuscripts in progress. I was astonished at some of them. I didn't remember writing them! There were a few great beginnings--yet I had no idea how they were supposed to end of what my plan had been. I found the gears in my brain starting to move, felt the cogs engaging. Strands of story started to weave together and I feel eager now to get back to work!
The new year is a great time for new starts, to begin again. I am hoping to find the time to return to a real writing schedule. I need it! Thank goodness my mom's cancer treatments are going well-- and since they have become routine, I'm feeling I can carve a space for myself again.
I know you will wish me luck--just as I wish all of you who are making New Year's resolutions or New Year's Plans the very best successes.