May is madness...
In her blog on Wicked Wednesday, Linda commented on the crazy life of a writer. I had to smile, because it all sounded so familiar. I too have a looming book deadline, May 31, for my latest Inspector Green novel. I am down to the wire on final rewites before sending it off into the publisher’s hands. I too had to interrupt that process to deal with the proofs of another book and to answer the long, convoluted marketing questionnaire sent by the Inspector Green publisher. And with a publisher’s party, a Scene of the Crime board meeting and the Bloody Words Mystery Conference all coming up within the week, I have two trips to Toronto, a panel to prepare for, a manuscript to critique and numerous wardrobe choices to make. Yikes. For a writer who spends most of her days in T-shirts and jeans, finding two clean banquet outfits that fit is enough to boggle the mind!
Meanwhile, in between the rewriting, blogging, Facebooking, emailing and what-not, there are the demands of daily life. An elderly mother who requires a lot more emotional and physical support than she used to, grown children who thankfully still turn to me for advice and support. A house in dire need of a spring cleaning, a yard being overtaken by weeds, a cottage in the midst of do-it-myself renos, and dogs that insist on walks and games of fetch every time I stand up. Not to mention a six-year old computer that requires much prayer and cajoling as it wheezes its way towards its grave.
Oh yes, I’m also supposed to be hosting fifteen people for dinner on Saturday night. Or maybe not. I hope I know that before I head off to Toronto this morning, as I will have to find time to shop.
Sometimes I meet people from my previous (very busy) professional life, who ask me how I like retirement. They remark, with a wistful tone, that it must be wonderful not to have to rush out in the morning, fight the traffic, juggle appointments, deal with pressures, conflicts and deadlines, and all that stuff I left behind. I reply that yes, I love easing into my day by lingering over coffee in my pyjamas, and my blood pressure thanks me for not climbing onto the Queensway every morning. And it’s true that a writer’s pressures are mostly self-imposed. But life has a way of tangling you up in it, and once you embark on a path, it quickly gets cluttered up with expectations. I’m not complaining. It’s a wonderful life, but I do find myself muttering, just like the old days, ‘Once I get through the next two weeks, it will get easier’. It may, but if the past is any predictor of the future, not likely.
Besides, if it did, I would probably get bored and go looking for trouble.
Barbara Fradkin is a child psychologist with a fascination for how we turn bad. In addition to her darkly haunting short stories in the Ladies Killing Circle anthologies, she writes the gritty, Ottawa-based Inspector Green novels which havewon back to back Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Novel from Crime Writers of Canada. The eighth in the series, Beautiful Lie the Dead, explores love in all its complications. And, her Rapid Read from Orca, The Fall Guy, was launched last May.