Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Ordinary Days

Millie "helping" me fold laundry
There are large snowflakes falling around my office -- I say "around" because my second-floor work space has three windows so I have lots of light and lots of views of the trees and the sky -- and Debussy is playing on the stereo -- that's the music I write to. It had just started snowing when I sat down and turned on the music, and the smaller flakes were falling in perfect harmony with "Claire du Lune", the CD's opening piece.

These are the ordinary days of winter, when the cold keeps us inside, when the dark holds us at home, when storms prevent us from driving out into the wider world. These are the ordinary days of winter when there isn't much to write about -- unless you want a daily update on how many eggs the chickens laid, or what Mother is making for supper.
I love the winter months. I love snow days. This is the time of year when I feel like a writer, when I feel like I'm actually doing the work of a writer. This is the time of year when I don't leave the house much, and doing laundry is about as exciting as it gets.
I often forget to do it so it's rather an event in my life.
Which is good. I like a life in which doing laundry is normal. I like a life in which doing laundry means forgetting about it in the washing machine because I'm busy writing. I like a life in which doing laundry means I'm home, and everyone is home with me, safe and sound.

Last winter, I wrote a novel. It took three months of writing every day. This winter, I don't have that kind of project, chose not to have that kind of project, and I miss it -- the intensity, the focus, the purpose of each day.

January has been a funny month, not funny ha-ha but funny weird, funny off-balance, funny not funny: It's been a long month of waiting. Only this week have I had any calls to substitute teach, and only this week did I finally hear back about my novel submission, and this week, a dear family friend died after a sudden illness.
Actually, all of that happened yesterday, so today is an "in my pajamas while it snows" day.

So a quick note about the novel: The editor says "Not yet." It's too long and I need to cut at least 20,000 words from it, maybe even 30,000 before she'll reconsider it. I know that sounds daunting (some of you can't imagine even writing 30,000 words in the first place, right?!) but I have parameters now for the novel I wrote as it came to me, without considering its genre or the acceptable word count; I just let it flow. It's going to be hard work but worthwhile and necessary, and what needs to be done. It's the intensity, focus and purpose I'm searching for as the snow falls outside my windows and the notes of Debussy float inside my room.

I'll write about the death of our friend another day.

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