A Writer’s Life
I live in the Valley of the Sun, west of Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a great place to write. In winter I can go about life without worrying about surviving the weather. In the summer the merciless heat keeps me imprisoned in my cool home with fingers on the keyboard. No glamour here.
In my neighborhood the loudest sounds are the morning church bells a mile down the way and the coyotes pursuing their evening meal of golf course rabbits.
My office is small, dark, lined with shelves crammed with books, folders and papers. When the desk light over my computer is on, it is like a spotlight on the stage of my theater of writing. A TV sits atop a bookshelf and the screen is dusty. My dog Lulu LeBlanc, a Poodle-Wheaton terrier rescue, eases the aloneness of writing by sleeping next to my chair while I work, emitting the occasional dog dream grunt to startle me back from the world on the computer screen into the physical world where I remember it was lunchtime three hours ago, and reminds me it is time for her to take me for my walk. My keyboard holds crumbs of many a morning toast and the residue of coffee spills. The phone message machine has four messages on it from yesterday that I will answer as soon as I have finished the last few sentences of the chapter I’m writing. My calendar has a few social appointments, penned in with a bold red ink marker, with family and friends who I love and don’t want to alienate by foregoing everything to meet a writing deadline.
I avoid cabin fever by taking my laptop to my favorite coffeehouse, having an espresso, and reviving my social skills. An hour’s stop at a chain book store to peruse the latest books can turn into a pleasant and inspirational half-day of exploring. What keeps my eye on the prize is critiquing the works in progress of fellow writers in my writers group and enjoying the lively monthly meetings where critiques are discussed with noisy conviction and writers’ egos are soothed with healthy doses of humor.
There are the hours I spend on what many writers consider the harder aspect of writing, the business end: contacting agents, publishers, promoting my writing. And the occasional delight of book readings, meeting my readers and experiencing face-to-face the enjoyment my work brings to others—and realizing how fortunate I am to be able to give this gift.
Young writers ask where do I get my ideas? I wrote between classes in school, between diaper changings, between the kids’ ballet lessons and piano lessons, after dinner dishes, and before getting the kids off to school, in a hospital bed post-surgery, on a cruise ship sailing the China coast, in the old-growth redwood forest sitting on a rock by a fern-lined stream, visiting with a dying friend—I get my ideas, motivation and inspiration from opening my eyes to life.
©2015 All rights Reserved