I was going to write a long post on The Life of Regency Dogs, which is an interesting topic and I will get to it some other time, but I’m feeling strung out and stunned and exhilarated all at the same time and thought I’d indulge myself in doing a more personal post.
I’ve just finished the copyedits of Beauty Like the Night, which will be out August 1 and is available for pre-order. I sent in the copyedits on Tuesday morning very, very early. Oh Dark Hundred as we call it.
What this means in the Great Journey of Publishing is that I have let BLTN go. I’ve pried my fingers off the story. I will try not to think about how it fails and succeeds and what readers are going to say about it. I have, metaphorically, handed BLTN its lunchbox and waved goodbye and I watch it catch the schoolbus.
I am a woman, if not at leisure, at least a woman between projects.
What does such a woman do when she can pick and choose among all the duties and delights of life. All the practical necessary stuff I’ve put off must now be done. Those many nonproductive things that give me joy are now possible.
So. What were the first ten things this free and unconstrained woman chose to do?
1) Wash the dishes
I had acquired an embarrassingly extensive and varied collection in the sink while I sprinted toward the deadline on those copyedits. Being the minimalist cabin-dweller in the hills that I am, all this dishwashing must be done by hand and that takes time.
Things were getting grotty.
2) Fix the ceiling.
I am in the middle of the long project entitled “The Roof Leaks”. We may consider it performance art.
Last week came a small team of vigorous men to fix the outside of the roof. This involved walking around up there in danger of their lives and removing all the shingles and also a bunch of plasticky stuff that was supposed to keep out the rain but had ultimately failed in its purpose.
At various points in those days I talked with the chief of the nice men who were tossing shingles down — Whee! — and nodded knowledgeably while he described shingles, the materials one lays under the shingles which has a name I forget, the history of roof material choice in the Appalachian Mountains in the 20th and 21st centuries, and the pitch of the roof, which is apparently suboptimal but not as bad as the local recreational development four mountains south of me.
Anyhow, this has been a continuing Saga of the Roof. Now that new shingles are on I cordially receive the man who fixes the damage to the inside of the house. He comes not as whole battalions but as a single spy (That’s kinda a Shakespeare quote to dress the posting up a bit) and he is going to do the work in sections. I am not entirely sure why.
I did not see him do the first section of the work because I was either asleep or out, but it is very pretty.
Interaction with my ceiling-repair-person was item two on the list of ‘What Do You Do When You’re Not Writing?’ which is something folks ask you on interviews and therefore obviously a question of burning interest to the reader.
At that point I had been awake 24 hours and I was getting punchy. I grabbed a leisurely 2 hours of sleep. I did not sleep longer because fixing ceilings is noisy and that was going on in the next room. Thus we compromise with the dictates of reality.
4) Drive to the Big City
The big city near me — it’s not terribly big. About 40,000 — is an hour away. It was a wholly pleasant drive and I delighted in it. Takes about an hour. Beautiful day.
5) Have lunch at a restaurant
There's an Indian place with a big generous buffet and the most weird and wonderful people come there. The clothing choices of the customers make me look quite ordinary. They all seem to have just got back from Nepal or Peru.
Over muttar panir I started Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch which, for a pleasant change, has nothing to do with Romance genre or European history.
After lunch I went to Whole Foods, just to get coffee. My Indian restaurant, much though I love them and excellent as their chai is, cannot make coffee worth a damn. I forgive them for this, but I still go buy my coffee elsewhere because life is too short to drink bad coffee.
I picked up two boxes of tea at Whole Foods because I was almost out. The long, exhausting copyedits were accompanied by a cup of (usually cold) tea at my elbow, faithful companion.
8) Impulsively mini shop
As I drove home I noticed one of the local church rummage shops was having a ‘buy a bagful’ sale, so I went in and bought a red cotton dress with pockets and two lovely medium-sized baskets and talked to the several must-be-100-year-old ladies who run the place and give useful life advice to everybody who comes in.
This was a bit scary. My last haircutter ran off to a new life in some little town or other that is not local. So I went to a place beside one of the coffeeshops I frequent.
The haircut is either innovative or bizarre. I'm still deciding.
(I’m using library as a verb.) I libraried. I found two general histories of early C18 France, which I will need for the next story. Probably. I also picked up the latest Jayne Ann Krentz to give me a happy hour.
So that’s the first ten things I do when the shackles are thrown off and I go wild.
What about you? What ten indulgences or necessities would sweep you up if you had a complete vacation from work, kids, school, or robbing banks or whatever it is you mostly do?