Being in the Catskills for a few days also means the house needs attention. I had some painting to do. Today, my “anti-critter” cage also needs mending after having been buried under snow and coming off the house.
Other bits and pieces needed doing as well. We’ve also had lots of early spring “visitors” the last few days. We call them “time wasters,” because when you see them you get caught up watching them and time just slips by:
Often I’m writing as the sun rises. I may have Classic FM playing softly in the background; or I may have nothing going at all and just revel in the silence. Whatever underscores it, for me there’s a special quality to early mornings before much of the rest of my own time zone awakens.
Now and then I joke on my Twitter account as I get going, moaning about it being, say, 4:47 am and what a ridiculous hour it is. Yet I find pre-dawn is also when my mind is usually at its “busiest.” I’ve never been sure why that is. Perhaps it’s simply waking up thinking…. and off we go.
On holidays, I feel much the same – about the mornings anyway:
After our “road trip” odyssey, we’re settled in here for the week in Fernandina Beach. My Dad had been to Florida only once before, back in 1985, to settle my late grandmother’s estate (after she had died in Hudson, near Tampa). Now here for our holiday, he is thoroughly enjoying himself – which was our goal after he nearly died of heart failure back in August.
One of my now bigger regrets – one never to be remedied – is when our friend Kam (the London-born and raised daughter of Sikh immigrants to the U.K., and who died suddenly at age 45 in February 2014) remarked a year or so before her death that she had wanted to visit India with us.
My Dad having now fully recovered from his heart failure back in August, and the implant surgery in December, we felt that after the tough, cold winter he and my Mum had spent in Pennsylvania, that they needed a holiday.
I hadn’t “planned” it this way, but as I began to write Passports, I found myself drawn to exploring those who don’t really have “intimate” sibling relationships. My younger main characters tend to be “only children,” have much older siblings, or are essentially estranged from them. In many ways, their friends come to serve as “replacement” brothers and sisters.
There’s one notable exception: the Khoury sisters. In their mid-late 20s, both Valérie and Juliette still live at home with their French mother and Lebanese-French father. Valérie is the older by about two years. Extremely close, they even holiday together without their parents.
Most weekends I don’t do much original writing. I try to confine it to the “work week.” Weekends I usually aim to take a break (aside from my journal here).
In recent weeks, though, I’ve felt I’ve been on something of “hot streak.” Yesterday, an idea for a small plot twist struck me too. Fearing I’d lose some of it in my head by Monday, I wanted to get it into the manuscript, so I spent some time working in the morning and it was time well spent.
Afterwards, I thought again about how the characters have come to mean a lot to me. True, we have all been grabbed by “people” we’ve gotten “to know” in novels. But how about when they are swirling around in your head uncountable hours each and every day for years because you are writing them and thus creating their very existences?
I’ve had various jobs over the years in academia and in business. I’ve never been especially “fragile.” I’ve always been confident about my skills and what I bring to the table.
But throw that out the window the instant you take up something creative, such as fiction writing. No matter what you’ve done before, what degrees you have, and what you may have accomplished in other life realms, suddenly you’re returned to about age 14. Others’ approval matters to you a lot more.