Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Time To Lighten Up: Step 1

"It's opener there, in the wide open air." --Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go.

My nest is soon to be empty. Thing One left this past summer, got married, had baby, LEFT. Thing Two is moving out of state in a few months, having just turned 18. I get the feeling she isn't coming back for more than a visit. She's the independent sort, kinda like me.

I loved motherhood, really, really loved it. I dug in deep, committed, put many dreams on hold and never regretted it. I realize that I will always be a mother--but I am feeling the end of the need to "parent."

The Nest is very big. 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 dens. In scientific terms, it is GINORMOUS. It isn't horribly full of stuff, thank goodness. Still, downsizing is going to require some black-belt minimizing.

This probably ought to scare me, but I can't wait to be free of THINGS. I decided to start at the front door and work my way clockwise.

Step 1: the Nest's coat closet--a cavernous space that not only holds coats and winter gear from the last 5 years of growth and fashion mistakes, plus all the luggage, but also holds all the lovely camping equipment that I bought with the best of intentions and have yet to use. I do camp, but oddly not in the past two years that I have owned the stuff.

The call went out--take it or lose it. A few coats were claimed by Thing One and Thing Two. The rest abandoned, like the Nest. The coats were easy. If I didn't love it and use it, it went into the donation bag. The luggage, which I bought with the Wasband more than ten years ago, is now outdated due to new airline baggage restrictions. It all goes.

I have 3 sleeping bags. Doubt creeps in...what if someone needs to borrow one? What if I have a visitor and we want to go camping? What if I get really cold one night? (which, since my own bag is rated for -20, is a little silly). What if the Zombie Apocalypse comes and I'm not prepared??

It's a raging wave of the "just in cases."

I take a deep breath. I shove Worst-Case-Scenario-Mom back into her cage and lock her in. I remind myself that REI rents everything. (And also, since I can't do parkour or even run a mile, I won't make it past the first week of the Zombie Apocalypse anyway.) Then I think...if REI rents everything, then do I need to keep ANY of the brand-spanking new camping gear that I purchased? I could waltz into REI and rent the whole pile of stuff anytime I like, then give it back and never have to store it! Why store anything? Why own anything? Why not sleep on a mat and eat rice?

Reason intrudes, thankfully. I think the minimalist urge can be a compulsion, and I make it a practice never to give in to compulsions if I can help it. So, I'm keeping one of everything I need to go camping, including my smallish family tent. I'm not a backpacker, so the weight of the tent doesn't matter, and it'll be nice if I go camping with a friend. I promise myself that if I do not camp in the next 12 months, I will relinquish it all and denounce the "I am a camper" self-delusion.

Now the camping gear-for-one is put neatly away in 2 smallish easily-lifted bins that can be loaded into my car for spontaneous escapes. The coats are down to 3: fall, winter & rain. (I rethink "rain" because I live in the desert, toss it, then retrieve it because it packs well for travel.) 1 good pair of gloves. 2 warm scarves (1 colorful, 1 neutral). Snow boots. 1 (formerly 2) telescoping fishing pole. My bike helmet (the bike is also on 12 month probation) and my picnic basket for concerts in the park. The cavern is nearly empty.

I could camp in the coat closet now...

Friday, February 17, 2012

I have to finish this book!! On the upside, it's adorable. I love this story. I've been dying to write it for YEARS. On the downside, it's already a month late!

Send wide-awake vibes my way--I'll sleep when it's done!

Hope everyone had a smashing Valentine's!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am lucky.

I am lucky to be a writer.
I am lucky to have readers.
I am lucky to be gifted with words and to be paid for it.
I am lucky to see my books in print.
I am lucky to have an agent who cares.
I am lucky to have an editor I like.
I am lucky to be allowed to sit in my pjs at home and make a living.
And no matter what happens in this crazy, upside-down industry, whether it recovers or sinks slowly into the past, I am lucky to be part of it.

So I kind of wish people would stop b*tching and get back to telling stories.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Good-bye 2011. You (mostly) won't be missed.

I have to say that last year was one of the most crazy-making years of my life. So many things happened, and didn't happen, and blew up, and melted down...If I were to take that stress level test they had in Psych 101, I think I would score off the charts.

Today, one of the worst things that happened is coming to a happier resolve. My dear friend and co-writer, Susan Donovan, goes (almost) home after more than 6 weeks in the hospital. In the first few days of December, Susan was struck down by a serious form of strep that sent her into toxic shock. This is a condition with only a 22% survival rate!

Susan has suffered grave illness and near-fatal conditions from this for weeks. Her health has been permanently altered and she now must deal with those issues--yet I am full of joy. We came close to losing her uncountable times. Today, Susan is finally going to be able to return to her hometown in Maryland, although she has to stay in a rehab facility for a while.

As writers, Susan and I are going to have to rework our plans to write together--not cancelled, just postponed! The follow-up novel to A COURTESAN'S GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR MAN is being put on hold for now, until Susan is well enough to write A MISTRESS'S GUIDE TO HAVING IT ALL with me.

For those of you who are Susan Donovan fans, don't worry--Susan's naughty, razor-sharp humor is quite intact! Her body might be down for a while, but her mind is still in the game! I can't wait to work with her again soon. In the meantime, I'm just going to be her friend and give up a little sack-dance now that she's on her way to recovery!

To a better and healthier 2012 for us all!