Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Writing for Two....Anna Michaels

The authors on this blog have been asked to reveal what it’s like to live with a writer. Since my dogs don’t write and don’t speak in a language I can decipher (except for the wagging tail), I’ve decided to tell you what it’s like to write for two. 

Please bear in mind that I speak only for myself. 

Actually, I speak for Peggy Webb, too, since she and I are one and the same. Anna Michaels is the pen name I chose after my muse went wild and dragged me into uncharted territory.

For more than twenty years I enjoyed the simplicity of being one person who wrote romance and women’s fiction. As Peggy, I romped around with heroes of every type (alas, only the fictional kind), usually while flexing my comedic muscles. Though I have written dramatic romance women’s fiction, I generally didn’t silence my comic muse.  Early on, readers dubbed me the “Queen of Comedy,” and many years later, Romantic Times honored my contributions to romantic comedy with a Pioneer Award.

Meanwhile, my muse picked up a brass lamp and knocked somebody in the head.

Wait a minute!  I don’t write mystery.

Oh, but you will.

I compromised with my muse about the mystery thing by throwing in a basset hound who thinks he’s the reincarnated Elvis. That brought me back to familiar territory - comedy.  I discovered I could segue from romance to mystery with hardly a blink.  While I wrote, I listened to the same background music – blues – drank the same green tea chai and sat in the same chair, a little blue swivel thing I’d had since the early days of my career. I was still Peggy.

And then I dreamed Pony Jones.  You’ve heard me tell this story. You’ve probably seen my blog posts about her.  She’s my favorite narrator in The Tender Mercy of Roses.

Pony was unlike any character I’d ever created; her story was unlike any I’d ever told.  When I started putting her story on paper, the words flowed from a different creative stream. The story forced me to dig deeper that I ever had. 

Blues didn’t work for Pony. I had to listen to Native American flutes. And green tea chai got bumped in favor of Mayan chocolate made from scratch, just a touch of cinnamon and red pepper. Even my chair no longer fit. (We won’t talk about weight.) When I wrote Pony’s story I had to get a beautiful black leather office chair that makes me feel as if I’m cushioned in clouds.

Unexpectedly, I had become Someone Else.  Someone young and skinny, I thought. Someone tall and beautiful.  Her name would be Anna, a name that has been in my family for years in several variations, a warm, approachable woman I’d like to know.  And her last name would be Michaels, a name that put me smack in the middle of the alphabet and (I hope) in the center of bookshelves, a name that brings back memories so astonishing I smile everything I think of them.

Writing for two is not easy. I maintain two distinctive writing styles, meet two deadlines, keep up with two websites, two Facebook pages, two of everything!

But the lovely part is that I’ve given my muse wings. Nothing is impossible. If she dreams it, there are two people waiting to write it - Peggy Webb and Anna Michaels, who turned out not to be Somebody Else, after all.

Anna Michaels is having a wonderful time seeing long-time fans and meeting new ones as she travels Mississippi and neighboring states to sign copies of The Tender Mercy of Roses.  Anna will sign this Saturday, June 4th, at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. The book is available in hardcover from Simon & Schuster as well as e-format. She invites you to visit her at http://www.annamichaels.net/ and on her FACEBOOK fanpage.        

8 Things You Need to Know About Living With a Writer--by Elizabeth S. Craig

I feel a little sorry for non-writers who live with writers.
It’s got to be challenging, sometimes. And most likely no one warned them it was going to be. Writers should come with warning labels.
If you’re thinking about living with a writer, here are eight things you need to know:
1. Want to stick to your budget? Stay away from office supply stores. They’re irresistible to writers. You might think you’re going in there for printer ink, but then you’ll come out with Sharpies, Post-Its, notebooks in all sizes….just a heads-up. Leave your writing friend/spouse at home.

2. We may make many inconsistent statements about our manuscript. We love our book! We hate our book! Yes, it’s the same book. We might even say these things on the same afternoon. The love/hate thing just goes in cycles.

3. If you treasure your time sleeping, hopefully you’re a heavy sleeper. Writers are frequently either up really early in the morning or up really late at night. Sometimes we get ideas in the middle of the night and turn on lights to scribble them down before they disappear. We can be obnoxious to sleep with.

4. Moodiness is an occupational hazard for writers. Nuff said.

5. It’s possible that we might talk to ourselves if we’re working out a plot point or testing out a little dialogue. Please don’t schedule a mental health evaluation for us. It’s all perfectly normal (usually.)

6. Many writers need a special reward to slog through to our daily word goal. It might be some amazing coffee, a bar of gourmet chocolate, or an incredible wine. Don’t raid our stash!

7. Daydreaming and writers go together. Unfortunately, our daydreaming might occasionally coincide with a moment when you’re trying to hold a conversation with us. We really don’t have a lot of control over when characters and plot ideas pop into our heads (and these ideas come all the time.)

8. We can’t be persuaded not to write. Yes, you’re right—our lives would be a lot less stressful if we weren’t unhappily getting rejections from agents, editors, or reviewers…we know that. But it’s sure as heck not going to make us feel better to stop writing altogether just to protect ourselves from these situations.

Do you live with a writer? Are you a writer? What other warnings can you think of for non-writers to be aware of?
imageComing June 7!
FINGER LICKIN' DEAD by Riley Adams/Elizabeth S. Craig
Delicious and Suspicious (Riley Adams) Finger Lickin’ Dead—June 7 (book 2 of the Memphis BBQ series!)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lest we forget

by Jenna Bennett

Happy Memorial Day!

It’s a holiday that started in the South, did you know that? Known back then as Decoration Day, the first commemoration was held in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1865, less than a month after the Civil War ended.

The site of the celebration, at the Washington Race Course, had been used as a temporary Confederate prison camp for captured Union soldiers, as well as a mass grave for those soldiers who died there. Immediately after the cessation of hostilities, freedmen – freed African slaves – exhumed the bodies from the mass grave and reinterred them in individual graves. They built a fence around the graveyard with an entry arch, and declared it a Union cemetery. On May 1, 1865, a crowd of thousands, mainly black residents, proceeded to the location for events that included sermons, singing, and a picnic, thereby creating the first Decoration Day celebration

The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves had become widespread in the North, as well. The first known observance of Decoration Day north of the Mason-Dixon line was in Waterloo, New York, a year later, on May 5, 1866.

In 1868, Decoration Day was made a national holiday, and was observed for the first time on May 30 of that year; a date chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle. There were events in 183 cemeteries in 27 states that year, and 336 the next. 

At first, Decoration Day was an opportunity for veterans, politicians and ministers to commemorate the glorious sacrifice of their own side as well as recall the atrocities of the enemy. But by the end of the 1870s, the rancor was gone and the speeches praised the soldiers of both sides. The town of Columbus, Mississippi was actually far ahead of the curve in this endeavor: as early as 1866, their celebration commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in the town cemetery.

On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Have a good day, and at 3 PM, please observe the National Moment of Remembrance, and “voluntarily and informally observe in your own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever you are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps."


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memoir 101

 -by Lauretta Hannon

Writing a memoir is a powerful, life-changing act, whether you ever publish it or not. This little missive presents advice and thoughts specific to writing your memoir.

-Write now. Worry later.
Your job is to get it on the page. You can address your fears and concerns later.

-Come out, come out wherever you are.
Find out what you’re hiding, “forgetting,” or not wanting to write about. Then write about it anyway. This will reveal important truths and insights. Grief, anger, sorrow, shame, and cruelty all make for compelling reading.

-It’s all about authenticity.
Be completely honest or find another hobby.  

-It must be deeper than a pie pan.
Dig deep or don’t fool with it. “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader,” says Robert Frost.

-Expect clarity, healing, and release.
“We write memoir not to remember, not to cling, but to honor and let go,” says Natalie Goldberg.

-No excuses. No whining. No pity parties.
Remember that you’re writing your memoir because you want to.

-The Final Gut-Check Question
The big question when it comes to memoir is this: do you have the courage to bring forth this work? If not, it is okay. If so, get ready to embark on a profound journey of the self.

Lauretta Hannon is the author of The Cracker Queen--A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life, named one of the Top 25 Books All Georgians Should Read. This article is taken from material covered in the Memoir Master Class offered through her Down Home Writing School. The school has finally found a real home with the June 25th opening of her new literary loft, THE HIVE. White lightnin' lemonade will be served, and you are invited! More info is available here: http://thecrackerqueen.com/the-hive.html.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Writer's Life For Me by Jackie K Cooper

Behind every great man there is an even greater woman, and behind every great writer there is an even greater supportive partner. Now I am not a great man or a great writer but I do believe the thoughts conveyed in those words. In order to have any success as a writer you have to first have someone who believes in you. At least that is the way it has always been with me.

Before I met my wife I did some dabbling in writing but that’s all it was – dabbling. It was only after I met her that I started submitting articles to newspapers, magazines, etc. She was the one who encouraged me to pursue my love of entertainment by writing reviews. Now does she love movies, books, plays, TV and other forms of entertainment like I do – no. But she loves me and she knows how much I love it all.

After I had been writing reviews for a while I began to spread out into the world of columns. I wrote an entertainment column, a TV column, a book column, and eventually a “personal column.” The “personal column” meant I wrote about my life. Now my wife is as private a person as you will ever meet. She opens up only to her very best friends. She certainly doesn’t enjoy having her life laid out in print, and a personal column does just that.

After the column phase ended I decided to turn some of my “journals” into books. That meant that my family life became fodder for my stories. Once again she was not thrilled with my career plans as they involved her. My oldest son JJ wasn’t either. Luckily my youngest son Sean ate it up. I at least had an ally.

I have written six books so far and all of them have primarily dealt with my family. How has my wife done with this? Well she hasn’t been happy all the time, but she hasn’t been upset about anything either. She has accepted the fact that I write. I have also told her I write about the things and people I love. So how could I leave her out?

The one thing she knows is I would never, ever write anything about her or anyone else in my family that was mean or malicious. I do write things that strike me as funny and that sometimes is borderline objectionable, but I don’t think I have ever crossed the line. At least she has never told me I have.

I will say this. She has total veto power over anything I write. If it was something that she said would hurt or humiliate her it would never see the light of day. There is a writing career and then there is a marriage and there is no comparison between the two.

I hope to have a long writing career ahead of me. I hope to have an even longer marriage.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A FAMILY SURVEY conducted by Julie L. Cannon

This has gotta be short and sweet as the hot breath of a novel deadline is on the back of my neck, and I’m also supposed to be gathering things together for a long weekend trip out of town. At first I thought I’d do a sort of ‘Show, don’t Tell’ kind of thing, and interview various family members with the question: “How do you feel about living with a creative person?” (Notice I didn’t use the term ‘Creative Lunatic.’) This was to be a strictly journalistic approach that would prove my belief that it’s, in one word, fabulous.

But that went by the wayside when I began by asking my 13-year-old, Sam, newly out of school for the summer, and he responded quickly, “Well, they kinda make up back-stories about everyone they see.”

I brightened, because to me that sounded like fun. I take great delight in making up folks’ backstories, and also playing the so-called What If? game as I go along through my daily life. It’s a great way to come up with plot ideas. “Well, don’t you like that?” I prompted Sam as he lolled in his underwear on the sofa adjacent to my writing desk.

“Not really,” Sam sighed. “It’s gets annoying.” Then he continued with this long diatribe on why the demands and temperament of a writer-in-residence are wearying and unfair. I will not record them here, because I know all too well that words have power and I would like to forget them.

It hurt to hear this coming from my baby! The child I bore in my old age, and have nurtured lovingly till now! That’s when I realized I would no longer conduct my survey. I knew my ego could not handle asking my analytical, rational left-brained husband this same question. He’s the business-type who gets furious about erratic (let’s face it, sometimes non-existent) writing paychecks, long, odd hours of work, and a frenzy of anxious marketing after each book is launched. The one family member I figured I could count on for a gratifying answer was my 20-year-old son, Gus, the middle-child, but he was still asleep at 3:00 P.M. and my eldest, Iris, was journeying home from a rock concert and had no time for questions.

Yes, it took me a while to lick my wounds, but now I’m back.

Wouldn’t you think writers would be the most well-adjusted people there are? I mean, we can purge our mental demons by killing off evil characters in our writing, right? And on the flip side, we get to  reward the good ones lavishly. Doesn’t that make for good, calm psyches?  Speaking of well-adjusted, we also get to live out our fantasies in the fictional world of our novels. In my current novel, TWANG, I’m fulfilling a life-long dream as a country music diva living in Nashville, Tennessee, belting out hits from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

Another plus for having a writer/wife/mom in the family - we usually work from home, which means the house is spotless and the ground beef for supper is thawing on the kitchen counter well before noon. Right?

Also, working from home means we’re there when our kids get off the schoolbus, heaping attention onto them in their formative years.  Isn’t that great?

Well, I made a pact with myself to tell the truth in today’s blog. I’m home, yes, but not really. I’m living in two, perhaps three, concurrent worlds. More often than not supper plans are made after 6 P.M. and amidst much consternation. Cobwebs dangle, dust gathers, and roaches remain in the spot where they perished days ago.  When Tom or Sam or Gus or Iris calls my name, I often holler “Just a minute!” because my characters have their own agendas. You may be wondering where the third concurrent world comes from. Well, I teach a memoir-writing class (for one of those ‘other income-streams’ writers need) and when that’s happening, I’m in my students’ creative worlds as well as my own. Of course, there’s the real world, too, the one most folks live and breathe in. It’s hard for me, I admit, but there are times when I do strive to be in the moment. To live in the temporal world. I try to shut out the voices of fiction and connect. In fact, this weekend my beloved and I are leaving the boys here in Watkinsville, Georgia, and going off on an all-expenses paid trip to Nashville, Tennessee, courtesy of my writing career.

While I’m meeting my new editor, Tom will be off looking for car-shows. While I’m touring the Grand Ole Opry, he’ll be hunting pulled-pork barbecue. But together we’re going to hear a concert featuring Vince Gill and Josh Turner. Yes, I’ll have my spiral-bound notebook and my Bic pen along with me, furiously scribbling down things under headings that read; Hear, See, Smell, Taste, Touch, and trying to record bits of conversation I overhear, but still . . .         

While I realize the question posed at the beginning of this blog has not exactly been answered, please know that I also realize it’s not always a picnic to live with a creative soul, and I feel absolutely blessed to be surrounded by people who have both feet securely planted in this world, and yet who support and encourage me in my crazy passion for story-telling.

Learn more about Julie and her books at her website.

Being Relearned...by Denise Hildreth Jones

     Our prompt this month was to write a blog based on our spouses having to live with "creative lunatics." Not that hard since I fall into both the creative and lunatic category. In fact, when I just sat my husband down and asked him what his thoughts were on the topic he simply asked, "Do all creative people have an inability to remember where their keys are?"
(I am secretly hoping that is a creative issue and not an age issue...)

The interesting fact is my husband and I just celebrated our one year anniversary. I was married for thirteen years before him. Thirteen years that I had hoped would turn into thirty and then sixty. Turns out it was only thirteen. And at the age of 38 I found myself without children and single...again. It was an interesting season for me. Actually, it was a beautiful season for me, and a season of rediscovering my heart. That season birthed two books in me. One was "Flying Solo." A book I never wanted to write and one I wish people didn't feel the need to read. But yet, found it healing for both me and readers. It is the actual journals from the first year after my divorce, beginning on the actual day I went to court to hear the judge declare my marriage over.

The other book  I wrote was my first fiction novel following my divorce. After a divorce you wonder if you'll ever write again. It's like a death. You wonder if there will ever be anything that moves in the soul of you for the rest of your life. Thankfully, something did. And it was "Hurricanes in Paradise" which was a novel based on four single women who are single at different stages and for different reasons, divorce, widowhood and never married.

So when I met my precious future husband I wasn't expecting him...Nor the package he came with. Five beautiful children. I remember telling my counselor one day who was walking me through the healing of my divorce and telling him, "I don't want to be relearned."

He said, "When you meet that right person you're going to love being relearned."
"But what if he doesn't want to read my books."
He said, "The man who falls in love with you will want to read your books."

And he has and he does. In fact, he is currently reading "Flying solo". Which for him, reading about the heartbreak of another man in my life has been an interesting journey for us to travel together. He dog ears pages and comes home and asks me questions, and in the process he is learning me.

I asked him, while we were sitting on the porch a few minutes ago, (because I completely forgot this was due...) if he had anything to say. He said, "When I read one of your stories I encounter a piece of you that I don't usually encounter. It's like there is this compartment in your brain that your books give me access too."

Then he added, "And I'm glad you have a outlet for all that creativity in your brain, because I'm thinking it keeps you from using it on the house. i.e., moving the furniture around every week."

While, I don't do that, I do spend a great deal of time in the closet. (Well, not quite as much as I did the first six months.) I told him after we got married, "If I'm in the closet leave me. I'll be out eventually." For a woman who spent almost 40 years without children in her own little world of makeup characters, to encounter such real characters all the time can send you to the closet. I was speaking one day and shared that story and a lady told me I should make my closet a bunker with food and a porta-potty!

Thankfully, I've been given a wonderful man who handles my mood swings, deadlines and even endures reading my books. As we have begun life together I have found the life we live creeping into my new stories. And this richness of the life I am now privileged to live creeping into my heart. Who could want for more...

Philly and Denise Hildreth Jones make their home in Franklin, Tn with her five bonus children. They like bike rides, little league games, family dinners and Sweet CeCe's icecream. And every now and then she finds the time to write a few books.
Her latest novel, "The First Gardner" will be in stores August 1st.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Life is Never Dull by Patricia Sprinkle

The title of today's blog is a frequent quote of my husband's when people ask him what it's like to be married to a writer--particularly one who for twenty years regularly killed people for fun and profit.

Maybe Bob is thinking of the days when he was leading "creative divorce" seminars and left books with titles like Growing Through Divorce on the coffee table. I countered with How To Murder your Husband and Undetectable Poisons.

Or maybe he is remembering the time I took our three-year-old on a search through Chicago streets, saying, "I've just got to find a place for another body." Barnabas pointed to a blue dumpster. "Dat would be good." He was absolutely right--it appeared in Murder at Markham.

Or maybe Bob is recalling the afternoon our younger son overheard me on the phone talking to my brother-in-law, who at that point was in the Army Corps of Engineers. "Who was that?" David asked. When I told him, he asked, "And what was he telling you?" "How to blow up a boat." David shrugged. "And we do need to know that, don't we, Mother?"

There is the story told by one of my husband's former parishioners, a woman married to a doctor who had given me instructions on how to poison somebody in an alcoholic beverage. I couldn't remember whether he said I'd need one pill or two, so I called early before he left for the hospital. The parishioner later told the story: "The phone waked us and I heard John say, 'Oh, hi. Well, one might do it, but if you really want to kill her, give her two.'" I did, in Deadly Secrets on the St. Johns.

Or maybe Bob is remembering how, when we'd moved out of town and I came back to Atlanta to research Death of a Dunwoody Matron, I asked the friend who had been best man in our wedding to accompany me when I had to visit a strip club one morning to interview the house mother.

Or maybe Bob is just reflecting on the fact that a writer's life is never predictable. Once I am in the zone of a story, I live in two worlds: the world where he is and another world inhabited by people he cannot see who move around spaces he does not inhabit. One of his memorable quotes is, "Writing is not a profession, it is an obsession." It consumes not only the writer but the family.

For instance, there was the "family camping vacation" we took out west one summer, when the family not only had to entertain themselves while I did book events in every city we passed through, but while we camped in Bryce Canyon, Utah, I had to rise at pre-dawn to do a live radio show for comuters in Indianapolis via a pay phone on the campsite store porch.

Or there was the Sunday I was on my way to church and realized that my sleuth's husband was packing the wrong clothes to take on a fishing trip in Did You Declare the Corpse? I was so horrified that I had made such an error and so engrossed in figuring out what Joe Riddley would take instead that I never noticed the man ahead of me had stopped for a left turn. Bob wasn't exactly persuaded that "I was working out a plot" was a valid reason for rear-ending another vehicle.

He's been a good sport these past forty years, though. He has patiently put up with late dinners and frequent suggestions, "Why don't we just eat out?" He has kept small children and grandchildren while I traveled, and helped me work out numerous plot tangles (His usual suggestion is "Why don't you put in a car chase?" which is probably why I have too many of them.) And along the way he has gotten some perks: he's eaten in elegant homes for literary dinners, stayed in beach hotels and mountain cabins while I spoke at conferences, and has enjoyed delightful conversations with a lot of writers who visited our home.

So far he hasn't thought this life was crazy--he just thinks it's "never dull." Don't anybody enlighten him, please!

Patricia Sprinkle's latest book is Friday's Daughter,  a novel that answers the question, "What does a woman do when her dreams disappear?"  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Who You Callin' A Lunatic?

by Cathy Pickens

Creativity takes many forms. And creative people craft their own forms of lunacy--or, as we prefer to think of it in the South, their own eccentricities. “Eccentricity” may manifest itself in crazy clothes or crazy habits or a certain free-wheeling style. Or it may be an intense focus, or a crabbiness when interrupted, or an absent-mindedness, or any number of other quirks. But writers haven't cornered the market on imposing lunacy on those they love.

I know creative cooks who have favorite stained, bedraggled totes they religiously carry to the farmers' market. They buy stacks of kitchen gadgets, debate the best technique for making a roux, and immerse themselves in countless cookery books. Of course, those who live with these obsessed ones do enjoy a valuable side-benefit: delicious meals. Probably on a regular basis. Except for the warm, inviting smells wafting from their kitchens, not so very different from writers, are they?

Or what about avid and creative gardeners, with their tools and garden hats and seed catalogues and cuttings? Again, those who live with them enjoy collateral benefits: a lovely yard full of vegetables or flowers. Similar eccentric manifestations to those of writers, without the lovely yards.

Creative folks can be devoted to innumerable passions, including writing. But, despite my attempt to draw connections between writers and other creative people, I find myself wondering why anyone would live with a writer. What benefits can those who co-exist with writers expect? Not good or regular meals, I fear. Or lovely gardens. Or, in the throes of deadlines, not even clean clothes. Or much else that's useful, really.

So just who would live with a mystery writer, I wonder? My husband knew I wrote mysteries when we married, though my first book hadn't yet been published. He couldn't have fully appreciated the craving for solitude, or the crabby growls when work was interrupted, or the mewling self-pity when things weren't going well. But marriage brings all sorts of surprises, doesn't it?

Thinking about this topic, though, I find myself wondering what man in his right mind overlooks the stacks of books on poisons and on women murderers? Who lives happily with bookcases full of historical crime accounts? Who follows his wife around to book events or on research trips or to endless dinners with other writers and actually enjoys most of it?

Now that I contemplate it, who, I ask you, is the unhinged one?

Of course, he has his passions for things inconceivable to me, crossword puzzles and Oklahoma football only two of them. Maybe that's what has kept things so happy for the last twelve years--allowing each other to be eccentric, each in our own way, even when he might wish for more cookbooks and fewer tomes on poison

Monday, May 16, 2011

Perfectly Sane

I adore the topic this month, “Living with a Creative Lunatic,” primarily because I consider myself completely sane.
Photo: The Camera's Eye

Really, I am.

If you’re looking for a Gin sloshing, screaming-banshee- kind of a gal you might want to move on along. I’m a grab-the-moment-to-write kind of gal. The kind of writer who always has a pen and a slip of paper tucked safely inside her pocket (just in case a moment of inspiration sneaks up). Oh that I were a Gin slosher, I might get a bit more work done.

I have children…which leaves me little “uninterrupted” time to create. Just yesterday morning, a child of the feline variety (His Highness the Smoomchie Poo), showed his undying love for me by carrying a –mildly stunned- chipmunk to the front door. What ensued was a battle to remove the still breathing creature from His Highness while blocking entrance of both who were trying to gain entrance into my house. I truly don’t have time to rescue wild creatures, but could have never lived with myself if I had done nothing to prevent a senseless death. However, the rescue mission consumed the time I had "blocked off" to write.

Not including this post, which by the way is late (my apologies), deadlines loom ahead. I’ve missed the first self-imposed deadline, which will result in the build-up of pressure, anxiety, and stress as the “real” drop-dead-line approaches. Time compresses with each passing day. Soon I’ll be tucking the beloved husband into bed, waiting for the sound of snoring, then gently tippie-toeing down the hall to write until who knows what ridiculously late hour.

Oh that I could scream like the aforementioned banshee, effectively releasing everything I’ve kept bottled up. I won’t. My family will sit down to a home-cooked meal every single night; they’ll partially put away the dishes, leave their clothes who knows where, and then wonder why they can’t find clean underwear five minutes before the bus arrives.

I’ll try not to be concerned that my right eye has begun to twitch a little. The pollen count is high this spring.
Still I remain completely sane.

No worries. My protagonist is barely speaking to me anyway. She knows I can’t devote vast quantities of time to our relationship right now. Besides, when we last spoke I had followed her into a place she really didn’t want to go in the first place and then had the nerve to record the moment for prosperity. I wouldn’t speak to me either.

The opposites attract thing works for me. My husband-God-love-him, is an engineer. Do I need to say anymore? If I read an excerpt of my writing and he gives a slight nod, then I’ve accomplished something great. He doesn’t read my work. It isn’t that he doesn’t care about my writing; he just doesn’t “get what I’m trying to say.” That’s ok, sometimes I don’t either. I’m too busy keeping one eye trained on the front door. Summer’s coming and His Highness might think that a snake might make the perfect gift.
My goal today was to present a post that would prove that I am not a lunatic. Unfortunately, I must abrubtly bring this to a close. My daughter just called. It appears that the lunch I prepared for her filled with nutritious wholesome snacks (including sliced strawberries with a hint of turbinado sugar) remains on the kitchen counter. So, it’s off to school for me.

Still, I remain...completely sane.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of In The Garden With Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. She blogs about her (sane) adventures in his garden at blogthefarm.wordpress.com.