Happy Spring! Today I wore my light jacket and I DIDN’T EVEN BRING MITTENS TO WORK. Spring! (Still a little ice on the river but spring!)
But in case you are nostalgic for the pink sugar shock of Valentine’s Day, I offer Speculative Valentine Drabbles 2015, available via Amazon for only $0.99. What the heck is a drabble, you ask? A drabble is a (roughly) 100-word story; these are of the speculative variety (so anything including horror, sci fi, fantasy, etc.). AND the collection includes my story, “The Imp and the Fairy.”
I have been in a weird spot in the past month or so with my writing. I’ve lost my drive. The first few weeks of the year were excellent. I had to do lists and weekly intentions and was knocking writing stuff off left and right. Then I hit a wall.
A few things happened.
- Spring semester started. Suddenly my full time job was once again my full time job. I have time here and there to write, but nothing sustained.
- We passed a school bond referendum in my town. I’m thrilled. My kids – and all the kids in the district – will have excellent (and much needed) facilities. The final few weeks of the campaign were, um, intense. I spent a lot of time refuting erroneous information & mobilizing voters. It was an amazing experience – and one that I’m still digesting (to spit out in a future blog post, no doubt) – but one that also took a lot of energy.
- I received my editorial assessment on Some Flew North from the amazing Rebecca Heymann of Rebecca Faith Editorial. It was terrifying to open the letter but I’m glad I did. I also can’t describe how cool it is to Skype with a stranger-turned-collaborator about the intricacies of a world that exists inside my head, nailing down vital details and shaping a newer, better story. But….making it better will require more time than anticipated.
Remember my unresolutions from the start of the year? I wrote about the practices and mindsets I need to support my writing life. I’ve slipped a bit, but I’m not sure why.
Of course I was hoping that the reasons would become apparent as I wrote this post. I can see some themes: I’ve been distracted (or I’ve let myself become distracted – this is probably more correct) and I’m feeling time stress. Usually time time stress pushes me to write, but this time it isn’t.
Eh, could be the weather, could be spring semester, could be the phases of the moon or the fact that my kids wear me out. I’m struggling with impatience – spring fever, maybe – wanting the world to be other than it is. (This, of course, is the cause of suffering, according to the Buddhists.)
For the moment, I am relieved to have identified the fact that I’ve lost some motivation. Now if I can only find the motivation to explore my lack of motivation…
February is always my darkest month. Winter is eternal and spring is nowhere near to being in the air. As I shuffle through the door, tracking slush and grit everywhere, I look longingly at my front porch and sigh. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to pop outside in shorts and bare feet, a
gin and tonic lemonade in hand, to spend a lazy day lounging on wicker furniture as I write.
So I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, is what I’m trying to say. (I also have TONS of issues with the commercial and normative aspects of the holiday, too. Mainly the weather, though.) Ironically, the holiday has proven to be an inspiration for some of my work, as I write about love and loss. (I’m also a total romantic.) Troubled Joy was just published today by Ealain. (And look for another story out tomorrow – more on that soon.)
Troubled Joy is a companion piece to Game Changer, which was published a few weeks ago (not online). So, if you didn’t get a chance to read Game Changer, you can see a different take on a similar situation in Troubled Joy. It’s another one of my adultery stories, which makes my husband both laugh and roll his eyes at the same time.
Troubled Joy ponders some of the same questions as Game Changer – the temptations of alternate paths and partners, the choices we make, and our responsibilities for living into those choices. It also borrows two characters – Nick and Joy – from one of my unpublished NaNoWriMo novel. I enjoyed taking them out of their previous context and seeing them wrestle with these questions, even if they didn’t have as much fun with it. Enjoy!
Many years ago I saw the movie Waitress in the theater with some friends. When we left, one of my friends said she just couldn’t get behind the love story because it involved adultery.
“What did you think?” she asked me.
I reflected on the degree to which I was rooting for the two adulterous leads to find happily ever after. “You know, I’m fine with adultery, as long as it’s a plot point,” I replied.
My new story, Game Changer, which was just published by East Coast Literary Review,* explores some of the temptations of adultery, especially the lure of alternate paths. What happens when you’re in a committed relationship but you share a spark with someone else? What does it mean if you’re considering risking everything on a glimmer of an uncertain possibility?
The temptations of alternate paths aren’t limited to romantic partners, of course. Game Changer grows out of some experiences on sabbatical, when I thought long and hard about alternate career & life paths. On many days I fantasized about jumping ship and writing full time…even though I had no stream of steady income. I made a choice (for now) to maintain the path I’d selected years ago, one that provides stability for those depending on me and my income, and one that does its best to support my writing life.
Perhaps it all comes down to choice, even when we’re swept up in the emotional highs of new loves – romantic or otherwise. Those highs can be amazing. They can also be devastating. If we’re receptive, they can lead us to ask new questions or down new avenues of discernment. But in my experience they need to be balanced by responsibilities and cold, hard reason.
This is the intersection where my protagonist stands. I’m not sure what she chooses. All I know for certain is that this blog post is longer than the story itself (it’s a 250 flash piece). For whatever that’s worth.
*East Coast Literary Review is published quarterly; click here for ordering information.