I apologize for leaving this untouched for so long. Life has been crazy at my end. In August, I unexpectedly became a surrogate mom to a six year old boy named Thomas. He is very cute and even busier than he is cute. If you are a writer, you already know that little boys and writing mix like oil and water. Imagine me in the middle of a scene, off in a world of my own, when a little voice says, “Can I have something to eat?” Or, the far more jolting scenario is when I hear no sound at all. It has been a long while since I was responsible for a little boy. My brain is accustomed to silence. I’ll be typing away, happy as can be, when all of a sudden my brain shrieks, “Silence? Silence!” My laptop goes flying. I leap from my chair. I race through the house. And, as you’ve already guessed, I find no child. We are staying on a farm, which has horses, cows, chickens, a pond, ATVs, pitchforks, and all manner of other dangerous things. Have you ever combed five acres, plus several large outbuildings, for a little boy who is moving at a fast clip in the same direction that you are? This means, in short, that you can race in circles until you’re so exhausted that you nearly collapse. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t find said child after making one complete circle, I should go the other direction. This tactic can be slightly dangerous if the child is on a bike, pretending he is racing on a track. One must move quickly to avoid a collision.
In addition to unexpectedly inheriting a child to watch, I lost my long-time house manager. I have since hired someone to replace her, but the replacement had to give notice at her other job, so I was left without any help for a few weeks. Ah, well, it was good for me. It got me outside, racing about to do chores, and I learned how to run my vacuum cleaner. On the down side, my writing career nearly came to an abrupt halt. It tried to write, but finding the time–or the peaceful quiet that writing requires–was a challenge. I’m pleased to report that the replacement is proving to be amazing!
I’m also happy to report that my chickens, who began dying for no apparent reason, have been repeatedly treated for the lice that were killing them, and they are now healthy, happy, and laying more eggs than we can eat. My dogs are doing well in the farm environment, doing none of the things I feared they might, like chase the horses and cows, or get killed on the highway that borders the front of the acreage. My cats are enjoying life here as well, adapting to highway noise, whinnying, mooing, and crowing. My canary has nearly finished his molt. And arrangements are being made for the six-year-old so that I won’t be babysitting for long stretches of time. This will enable me to write–and it will undoubtedly save his life. Grin. The moral of that story is, “Do not leave a child with a woman who spends much of her time lost in a make-believe world.” Hello, sometimes I can’t remember what month it is in the real world, and when I’m writing historical fiction, I may not know what year it is. When I emerge from the 19th century, I’m often not even sure who the President of the United States is.
Well, my friends, my book in progress is calling my name. I hope this finds all of you happy, healthy, and rich in all the things that matter.