Sunday, March 2, 2008

Leap Day

There’s no doubt that extra Friday in February threw me off. Leap Day. A full twenty-four hours, an eagerly anticipated bonus that arrives only once every four years. I had an early morning meeting, but the rest of the day was mine. Such a gift of time should be honored, I told myself. It was beautiful on our Lowcountry island, the breeze off the ocean still a little chilly, but with bright sunshine. I sat on the front porch awhile and read, pausing every now and then to turn my face up to the warmth and the cloudless sky. My husband and I took a walk, marveling at how the azaleas had popped out seemingly overnight. That evening we lingered over dinner at one of our favorite hangouts by the beach.

Just before heading for bed, I flipped the page in my planner over to March and gasped. I had a book signing scheduled for 10:30 on Saturday morning! It had gone completely out of my head. I scrambled around getting all my authorly paraphernalia together—bookmarks, business cards, handouts, my favorite signing pen. With all that stuffed in my briefcase, I stood for a long time staring into my closet trying to figure out what to wear based on the fact I hadn’t done laundry for more than a week.

Luckily the venue was less than a half hour away, and the morning went off without a hitch.

Back home, I changed into comfortable clothes and sat down at the desk to study my appointment book. Other than Saturday’s signing, I have four more events scheduled this month. Two require overnight travel, including the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. That one is an eight-hour-plus trek from our home in Hilton Head, and we’ll probably take an extra day on each end. My husband doesn’t like to be behind the wheel on freeways anymore, so that makes me the designated driver for the whole trip.

In addition, as a newly elected member of the Board of Directors of Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry, I have my first official board meeting this month. I’m also on the committee for their annual fundraiser—two meetings on that, too. For some strange reason, a good many of my husband’s family decided to be born in March. Six birthdays are noted in red on my calendar. Some just require cards, but I always buy books for the kids, so shopping needs to happen—and quickly. Two blogs. My sales tax report to the State of South Carolina. Our personal income tax. The Sisters in Crime financials and report to the CPA.

And oh, yes. I need to write. The 2009 manuscript is due August 1, and I’m only about halfway finished with the first draft.

While I was there at the desk, I took a quick peek at April and quickly slapped the page back down. More meetings and events, including Malice Domestic in Washington, D.C. And the release of the newest Bay Tanner, The Mercy Oak, on April 29, so May will offer no respite. The winter doldrums are definitely over.

I know. You’re all thinking, Would she like some cheese with that whine?

When I was trying to find an agent and/or publisher for my first book, I dreamed of dashing from signing to signing, event to event. I envisioned my days filled with writing, planning, speaking, attending conferences, interacting with fellow authors. Now that I’m almost ten years into it, a little of the bloom is off that particular rose. I know that many of my sister bloggers on this site have fulltime careers and young families, and I honestly don’t know how you manage. Maybe it’s youth. Or perhaps I’ve become one of those ladies whom fellow author Patricia Sprinkle calls “Women Who Do Too Much.”

There was a reminder in today’s church bulletin that Daylight Savings Time begins next weekend. They’ve changed it so many times I can’t remember where it originally fell when I was a kid, but I do know it wasn’t this early. So if a simple stroke of the Congressional pen can give us an extra hour’s daylight, why can’t they manage an additional day more often than once every four years?

I don’t know about you, but I could use about one a month. Starting in March.

Kathy Wall grew up in a small town in northern Ohio. She and her husband Norman have lived on Hilton Head Island since 1994. Her 8th Bay Tanner mystery, The Mercy Oak, will be released April 29 by St. Martin’s Press

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