The State of The Writer

Yes, I know. By now I was supposed to have the fairytale book out so you could order hard copies for Christmas. It’s proofread, and I need to typeset it, but we’ve been dealing with house in Colorado and issues related to.

Let it rest as proven (trust me) that it’s going to take a couple of months to go back up for sale, until then there’s a couple of things that were screwed up and we’d like fixed. So we’ve been trying to get that set up and since husband is working crazy hours, it’s been me. With the normal issues of setting things up by phone when you’re mostly deaf and have an accent.

I think I have a solution worked out, and we won’t need to worry about it from Sunday on. Well, till time comes to talk to agents and select between two recommended by neighbors we like (and who have a vested interest in our selling well.)

So, what am I hoping to do? Well, not to jinx myself as I did two years ago, but I’m hoping to finish books and start putting them out at speed. And this time I do have a plan not just a deadline. Which is kind of the difference between wanting to get across the river and having a boat.

To wit, I’ve arranged for someone to do the parts I can contract out and don’t enjoy. (The covers I enjoy, by and large. But not copyediting/entering stuff, etc.)

Meanwhile, younger son will be doing “Boxes from Sarah’s Garage” and also selling a bunch of things on ebay which we were about to toss or donate. I.e. he’s been rescuing stuff from our hands all this time, including games and tech from the nineties, which apparently people pay for. Who knew? Yes, he’s also looking for work, but in the meantime, he’ll be making some money. Right now he’s setting up his work and filing space, so he can work.

So, the holidays will be weird. Not that I was ever super mom, or super housewife. (Which made it hilarious when someone in Portugal asks what I do, and before I can answer my mom screams that I’m a housewife, leading me to mumble under my breath “I’d be the world’s worst.”)

For some reason, I usually ended up with a novel due the 20th of December and one the 15th of January, so putting up the Christmas tree on the 24th was a thing, and I usually didn’t bother with other “decor.”

But this year will be sad, since we’re still mostly surrounded by boxes, and unpacking has priority over putting up any decoration. I might put up the 4 foot tree, if I find it in time, but honestly I doubt it. My plan is to unpack the areas we’re most intensively living in — kitchen, dining, offices and bedrooms — by the end of the year, and letting the rest go hang.

I have located my toile fabric, so Sunday will be devoted to making and hanging up curtains, before the cold comes. Again, so next week I should be able to work.

It’s funny — probably — that I just want to do my job and keep getting sidetracked and prevented. But the joke has worn thin.

So, wish me luck. It might be a sad set of holidays — but I have the family and we are okay, so…. — but hopefully it ushers in a better and more productive.

Oh, yeah, Another Rhodes is on sale all this week for 99c. There will be a book on sale every week for the rest of the year. This is this week’s.

64 thoughts on “The State of The Writer

  1. Things may not be moving as perfectly as you’d like, but at least they’re getting there. That’s more than I’ve been able to say on my end for a while. As long as you keep moving forward, you will eventually get to where you want to be.

  2. State of the Writer? But you haven’t told us what State your new home is in? [Very Big Crazy Grin]

    Take Care Sarah, no matter what State you are in. 😀

    1. Pretty sure that’s State of Confusion. Possibly Bewilderment. But pretty sure it’s Confusion. Could also be Shock, now I think of it. Was definitely Shock the day she put the GFM up.

      1. I’m having my mail forwarded to the state of Denial. Or trying to. I keep getting things addressed to me at Confused State.

      1. “Once I rose above the noise and confusion
        Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion”

        –Kansas, “Carry On Wayward Son”

  3. Keep on keeping on!
    Sometimes that’s the best we can hope for.
    In almost fifty years of marriage, my parents have moved more than forty times, (many of them simply upgrading to a better location locally).
    When buying, they would always renovate, slowly.
    Inevitably, the house would be exactly how they wanted it, and they would have to move, (job change, usually).
    Mom started making the upgrades more in depth; probably in an effort to stay in the house longer.
    But, if I’m honest, I’m not sure she would know what to do with herself if she didn’t have projects to work on. It’s such a part of who she is now.
    My point is, never stop improving. Whether it’s your home, your job or yourself. You don’t know what the future holds, but staying busy, (or better yet, productive), will go farther for your sanity and sense of well being than anything else.

  4. Hang on Patriot.

    Things are very tough right now. Lots of loss and grief mixed with hope that keeps bubbling up despite things.

    You are more than what faces you, and we’re not going anywhere.

    Also, Other Rhodes is my favorite of everything you’ve written (that I’ve read).

    1. Other Rhodes is, I think, the first book I’ve actually reviewed on Amazon.

      And I’ve been using it since the 2000’s. Yes, it’s that good. And I do want to see the rest of the stories too 🙂

      1. I also await additional in the Rhodes series. Not being familiar with Nero Wolfe (hey I’m not a big mystery reader) I didn’t get those references, but it felt like Sam Spade mixed with a dash of Poirot tossed into a far future. And of course the denouement is getting ALL the suspects together in the room to solve the mystery as is traditional.

  5. I wish you were close by (and I am making the assumption that you aren’t, and I don’t know whether that’s founded or not). I’ve got a cute little 3′ tall mostly-decorated and lit tree in its box in the garage I’d be happy to hand over. (I have a 7.5′ monstrosity taking up a large portion of my library.) And I’d FEED y’all. Because that’s what I DO.

  6. Don’t worry about the outer trappings of the holidays. Just take care of you and yours. Sending prayers and cosmic hugs.

  7. Any Christmas that sees our families alive and in a safe place is a good Christmas. Decor is optional.

    There are a lot of families who are grieving this year (as is true every year) and you are in a better place than last year so things are looking up! And at least we aren’t all celebrating in The Happy Fun Camps as seemed to be likely this time last year.

    We can’t be so hard on ourselves because we aren’t doing things the way other people think they should be done. There is no perfect way to do Christmas, but however you do Christmas is perfect for you!

    This year I may do no interior decorating at all. I did put lights up outside because the weather was nice and I had a day off and the neighbor kids always want to see our Christmas train. But we will have no children or grandchildren visiting this year and we can’t make the trek to them either so, it’s not worth the effort for just Grandpa and I.

    Okay, maybe one small tree and the nativity set. That’s all we need.

    And maybe the kid’s stockings on the mantle. One tree, a nativity set, stockings, but that’s it.

    And the advent wreath that’s already up. But probably nothing else.

    1. $SPOUSE noted that we normally spend Black Friday getting the decorations up. Hasn’t happened, partly due to medical issues (primary issue is under control, but my clotting time went from marginal too high to significantly under time. We’ll see what it looks like Friday, along with progress checks on the main complaint.

      I hate getting something where the medical pros say “That doesn’t normally happen for people like you…” #Head-desk

      1. This is the problem with them going to AI. They miss the zebras. It took them 10 years to find the cancer in my small intestine. It was only when they operated to remove a pill camera that got stuck for a year, that they found it. I hate algoreithems.

        This cancer is “never” found in the small intestine. So they didn’t run the test that would have found it, since its not the “usual”. They should expect us odds, to be odd. I just appreciate that it seems to be the laziest cancer in the world.

      2. I totally get that. Earlier this year, went into the hospital with severe shortness of breath. ER fixed the immediate problem – my lungs were filling up with fluid. Diuretic fixed that. Next question is why? My cardiologist looked at me and my test results and said “I’m going to bring a couple of my colleagues in on this. Okkk… Having four Fellows of the American College of Cardiology standing around your hospital bed going “hhmmmm.” is not a confidence building event. All good now, Blessed be the Name.

      3. Diagnosing people is hard. Every major medical issue I’ve had in my life I’ve diagnosed myself and told the doctor. Doctors have a strong tendency to disregard what the patient says. I understand how that happens — I fixed typewriters back in my misspent youth, and the customers were just wrong so often. So you fall into bad habits. But they should try harder.

        Also human symptoms tend to be on the vague side and usually can be caused by multiple root problems. I really look forward to the tricorder that can scan your body and diagnose 🙂

        1. I had a guess as to what the main problem was, though test results indicate that there are two intertwining conditions. (When synergism gets ugly…) The main focus is on the more serious one, and we’ll have to figure out what can be done to prevent a recurrence. (No details forthcoming–we’re well in the TMI range, but the key factor is that it isn’t truly horrible, just rather annoying. Sigh.)

  8. > I might put up the 4 foot tree, if I find it in time, but honestly I doubt it.

    Take a sheet of paper, draw a tree on it, and tape it in a suitable spot.

    1. Yeah, that’s the kind of thing we’ve been doing for a number of years now. Tinsel in a tree shape, Or Christmas cards in a tree shape taped to the wall. We have cats, and I get really tired of either cleaning up glass each morning (we quit buying those!) or locating where the plastic ones have been batted to…or picking the whole tree back up where it has been pulled down. Not to mention lack of space to put one, anyway. Maybe I’ll decorate the hanging plant in the corner this year with some lights. It’s a vine that follows the string up to make a triangle at the roof.

      1. Oh dear. This reminds me… I’m getting two eleven week old kittens in eleven days… Our previous cats totally ignored the tree. But kittens. Oh well. None of them are really valuable.

          1. We put the tree in the corner then screwed a couple of eyelets on either side of the tree 🌲 and tied off with monofilament fishing line. Nice and sturdy.

        1. Kat the now-6 month old border collie isn’t yet allowed free run of the house. We have the kitchen and laundry room set with puppy gates (and chairs to reinforce–she learned to crash into the gate when she got annoyed with confinement), and as long as she can see us, she’s OK with that. OTOH, if we’re both out of sight, it’s TEOTAWKI. She doesn’t really have an indoor voice, either…

          When we watch TV, I put her on the 6′ puppy leash (hasn’t been chewed through yet, not for lack of trying), but we plan to try free-ish run *after* the tree comes down. (Non-puppysafe rooms will be blocked off.) We figure an inquisitive, hyperactive border collie pup (that’s a redundancy for the ages) would destroy the tree and anything on it in seconds.

          1. I brought the tree and Christmas decorations up, and we agreed to keep it simple. Decorated tree (hard-to-break ornaments in case Kat gets loose & frisky), but that’s it.

            This is a tough Christmas season. If Mom makes it, this is most likely her last Christmas. She’d be 99 in April, outliving all relatives of her generation, including my father and stepdad. So, between that and the happy fun time of lowered expectations courtesy Let’s Go Brandon and his merry band of incompetents, the stress and erggh level is peaking. (OTOH, if it’s a Romanian Christmas, well, I’d see it as a nice present.)

    2. We used to make Readers Digest Xmas trees… fold top and bottom corners of each page in pleasing proportions, and voila, almost-instant Xmas tree. If you want really fancy, add gold spray paint and red glitter.

      Our most memorable tree… we had decorations (all older than dirt, er, I mean vintage and classic), but couldn’t afford a nice tree, and were still looking when the tree lots closed for the season… one near us abandoned the last scruffy trees rather than bothering with a dumpster. We scrounged the best tree and a bunch of loose branches, wired it together, and wound up with a beautiful tree.

  9. Suggestions, not prescriptions, from a very bad holiday season for my family. We were still hurting from losing what would have been our second child in early October, I was still recovering from the chicken pox that our daughter had brought home (a temp job, to boot, with virtually no benefits).

    1) If you have a creche scene, at least set that up. The true reason for the day is a comfort; everything else is an accessory.

    2) However you play music, play Christmas songs as much as possible.

    3) We didn’t do it, they weren’t available – but if you don’t have a fireplace, at least put one of the Tube of You videos of one up on the TV.

    4) Remind yourself every day that climbing the hill is more work than sliding down – but is better than being in the slough. Done it before! Will do it again!

    5) Also remind yourself that you have, literally, a “cast of thousands” thinking of you every day. We’re still funding your GoPrayMe account.

    Now… Off with me to dig the house lights out of the storage that should have been cleaned at least three years ago. The boy is back from his TDY sometime tomorrow, and I’ll have him to spot me when I get up on the ladder.

      1. Darn it, Ian, for reasons known only to God, I just listened to this and cried through the whole thing. Presumably, I needed to. So thanks, not sarcastically.

  10. OT FYI: My long walls of text here are actually a bit of an improvement in organization, conciseness, and making a point compared to my natural way of speaking.

    At times this really embarrasses me.

    Hope everyone is well, etc.

  11. Moving is like a bomb going off in your life, even when it goes fairly well. We moved 22 months ago, and there are still some boxes unpacked. For that matter, when we moved there were boxes unpacked from the previous move 19 years before that.

    Be kind and compassionate to yourself! That’s something I have to constantly work on. I’m always beating myself up for not being perfect. Sigh.

  12. Bah! Hum Bug! Sad has no business hanging around. Your old house will sell, your new home will get unpacked. With or without a tree, take joy in life and family this Christmas!

  13. We’re moving 2 weeks from today and will close on our new house 3 days before Christmas. I feel your pain. Despite this craziness in my life I feel compelled to write a blog post, and if interested I will send it your way. I wrote for Analog SF and Fact in the late nineties and early 2000s, but then I got Lyme disease and my writing career crashed and burned. I’ve done a lot of recovery work and mostly finished a novel. Hope to get it out in the world soon, followed by many more.

      1. Hi Sarah,

        Status update the slippers I’m knitting for you. I have finished knitting one slipper and am about 2/3 of the way done with the second before sewing them up, and shipping them out.

  14. So, the holidays will be weird. Given what you’ve revealed about your personal life over the last few months, that sounds likely.

    But this year will be sad … I’ll bet it won’t be.

    Meanwhile, here’s Monteverdi’s Magnificat!

  15. Are you still writing the Barbarella comic? #5 hasn’t made it to Amazon (though #6 is available for preorder). I sent an email query to the publisher a few days ago, but no response.

  16. All that does sound crazy but at least it sounds like you’re getting a few things in order. Good luck with it all and as mentioned elsewhere let me know how younger son’s sales efforts go and how he goes about doing it since the vast majority of the profitable clutter I need to sell is vintage video games. Not that I haven’t picked up a few leads and a bit of advice already but I figure the more possibilities the better since it’s going to be a big part of making my own move work smoothly. The kitties wish you good luck too of course!

  17. Well, I guess I will just have to nominate the fairy tale book for the reading group when it comes out,

  18. The truest, most real Christmas my Calmer Half ever spent, was hiding in the already burned-out ruins of a tire factory with a bunch of refugees while communist thugs burned their homes and church down.

    Singing Silent Night.

    No matter the tree of the lack thereof, you can still celebrate.

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