21 April 2010

Leaves and Patience

This is our first Spring in this new house, and there are lots of things to notice ... rabbits hanging out in the yard, ground squirrels running away at our approach, birds building nests on the outdoor fans (leaving their messes on the patio), quail partners chasing each other across the streets and yards, wildflowers, and new pads and flowers on the succulents. Even our mandarin tree, which in two years hasn't yielded anything, has blossoms. Then, we get to our mesquite trees.

This neighborhood goes back a long time - some mesquite trees' main trunk are as tall as some of the the two-story houses. Nearly every house has at least one mesquite, even different kinds of mesquites. Some with thorns and yellow pollen puffs, some crooked and knarly, others straight and tall. But all of them have at least little green buds of leaves sprouting, if not full leaves. Even the "green space" trees between houses shows signs of green.

Our mesquite trees -- nothing.

I silently worried that ours were dead. They don't look diseased, there aren't ant or termite infestations (anymore). Everything seemed ok in the fall and winter when the leaves fell off the tree. I'd check up close, looking for the little buds that would give me a sign that everything was fine. I'd check every few days, only to find no leaves.

Until today.

Finally buds! The smaller trees even have leaves that seem to have sprouted overnight. I breathed a sigh of relief.

I'm taking this experience as a reminder to let things happen in their own good time. For those that know me and my incredible lack of patience, I hope you didn't laugh too hard when you read that last sentence.

And this reminder comes at just the right time. Lately, I've been frustrated because my writing progress has been slow, like slower than a snail's pace slow. On a great day, I can get two to three hours of writing activity, more often it's closer to an hour a day. There are little reminders at how much progress there is still to make: it is week 21 in my online writing course and I'm just starting week 11; my goal of having both stories ready for the query process by the end of the year. It often seems like I'll never finish my revisions until the kids get into college, which is about nine years away.

Things are going WAY too slow for me, but unless I completely ignore my primary motherly and household duties, this is the pace at which this writing gig is going to happen.

So, despite the agonizingly slow progress, I'll get my butt in my chair and write - even if it's only for 15 minutes. And try to remember that, one day, my own writing will bloom and take off too.

14 April 2010

What I'm Afraid to Write

My first novel is about a young woman losing everything she holds dear ... technology, her career, her family - her father and brother.

A dear friend of mine and her family recently came face to face with one of my biggest fears - the loss of one of their young children. My heart tore apart every time I read one of her updates. I'd cry for all that my friend's family had to endure. I'd cry hoping with all my heart that I never have to deal with that. And I'd cry just imagining what would happen if one of my children left this world before me. I can only imagine how difficult it  is to deal with losing a child.

A few days later, another family friend had her son and daughter-in-law taken from them in a violent act, leaving two young girls orphans. Now the family must assume responsibility for these two little ones, little ones who are left wondering why did their parents have to die.

Beyond making me see and appreciate my own family in a new way, these events also influence my writing.

Back when I started my first novel, I purposefully chose to make my character a young woman with relatively little emotional ties to her own world. Not that losing parents and siblings is an easy thing to do, but I can't imagine anything worse than losing a child. It wasn't something I wanted to confront back then or now. Too much emotion and fear to really look at what I would do if I lost one of my children. Tears come to my eyes now as I type these thoughts.

But maybe one day, I'll write the story from my main character's mother's POV ... another woman that lost everything, her life as she knew it, her husband and her two children. Or maybe from the perspective of a family left behind to figure out how to continue living without a piece of them.

Not that I'm "qualified" to write these stories given that I've never suffered this devastating loss. But these losses my friends have endured has me thinking about it anyways.

03 April 2010

Happy Easter

Wishing you all a joyous and chocolate filled Easter.

(BTW, I know things have been slow and sparse here. I'm in rewriting an outline and managing the household. I'll make some time soon to post here. I promise.)