Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Birthdays and Finished-Book Blues

Baby F turned two today. It wasn’t such a big deal in his life, really. The cake and presents will happen on Sunday—if I can get the cake made. The idea of working with fondant awes me a little. Okay, it scares me. Today, though, passed as a normal day for my little brown boy, out playing in the sun.

Baby M is no longer a baby. She’s five, has the attitude of a 13-year-old, and is at the Benton-Franklin Fair with her maternal grandparents. In less than two weeks, she and I embark on her kindergarten year of our home-schooling saga.

My newborn, Baby S, is already five months old. Not crawling yet, but rocking on her hands and knees and, as I type, trying desperately to figure out how to get her little mitts on my laptop.

I, on the other hand, just finished Superior Storm by Tom Hilpert. It’s the second of his books I’ve read, and I enjoyed both immensely. They aren’t great literature (no offense Pastor Hilpert; few books are!) but they were immensely entertaining and they resonated with me in a way a newfound author hasn’t in a long while. I think I may end up liking Jonah Borden as much as I love Joe Grey. Hey, that’s saying a lot. After all, how many crime-solving Lutheran pastors measure up to crime-solving talking cats?

At the same time, I’m feeling a little blue. Part of that is the standard depression any reader goes through when finishing a great book and not finding another waiting. Part of it has to do with my own stalled status. Soon, I promise myself, when all my kids start sleeping through the night, 5 a.m. will look more appealing. For now, I tell myself to be patient and practice my craft in newsprint.

That’s just a little something to send out into the universe tonight. For those who like mysteries with a touch of gospel, check out Hilpert’s Superior Mysteries.

For those who like baby pictures, check out Baby S. (Okay, yes, I’m a shameless mommy who loves to show off her kids).

And happy writing.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Writing at a Moving Target

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Life is a moving target.” If nothing else, it’s been made pretty famous by a store of a certain name. I wish, though, that it wasn’t moving so fast. I wish it would stop, especially when it comes to my writing.

For a brief time, I thought I had a handle on this whole writing lifestyle. Then my oldest daughter was born five years ago today and she threw my life on its head.

I eventually found a new, though slightly more difficult rhythm. (I’m not a morning person, so those 5 a.m. writing sessions were a real bear.) After a matter of a few months, a combination of morning sickness and other ill health again threw things off-kilter. I can’t say I’ll never recover, but I haven’t yet.

I also can’t say I haven’t written anything. As editor of a weekly paper, I routinely write interviews and other features. As a writer, though, my heart and soul have always belonged to fiction. I haven’t touched that since months before the birth of my 21-month-old son. That’s too long.

I wouldn’t trade my children for anything, not even Stephen King’s career. Now, as I write this post, though, I try to block out the movie my five-year-old is watching (The Sword in the Stone if anyone’s interested)…and my toddler’s insistent (try throwing an empty bowl at my head) request for a fifth Cutie…and my two-month-old’s increasingly strident cries. I try to focus and wonder when the target will quit moving. Then I have to face the fact that it never will.

The target will never stop moving. Life will never be perfect. The kids will grow up and something else will happen to take my attention. So, if I want to be a writer, I have to become a sharpshooter and try to hit that target no matter how fast it’s moving or how much it zigzags. I just have to figure out how.

How do you write when your life is a moving target?

Some of the things that keep my life a moving target.