This has been a strange year for me. I’ve been home since January.
I realize that’s the norm for most people, but in today’s book-touting business, it’s almost unheard of for a writer to remain at home for five months. Solid. I don’t know when writing switched over from being an ivory tower occupation to being a traveling salesman’s occupation, but now the writer that doesn’t hit the road is a writer whose sales don’t mount, at least in the normal run of things.
The reason for my unusual stint on the homefront is simple. Our only remaining high schooler will graduate next month. I missed some things in previous years with our older children – not too many events, because I wasn’t much in demand. But with my increasingly hectic schedule of the past three years, I’d already lost out on things I wished I’d shared with our daughter, and I decided to dig in for her last semester at home.
Despite some tempting opportunities, I’ve remained here. And I really have enjoyed seeing her every activity. She’s a champion softball player, and I haven’t missed a single game. We’re headed to the state playoffs this weekend. I’ve been to every banquet. I was there for her prom preparation.
Though I’m glad I’ve been able to do this, I discovered (to my surprise) that I’ve missed traveling. I never imagined I’d see myself typing these words. Air travel is such a gigantic pain these days, and touring is stressful even when the conditions are ideal – good weather, a first-class seat, escorts at every destination.
It isn’t the movement of traveling that I’ve been missing, I discovered; it’s the contact with readers. I really enjoy meeting people who’ve read my books. That may be an ego thing. Maybe I’m so insecure I don’t believe people have read my work unless I actually meet those people. Or maybe I need the boost you get when someone tells you they admire what you’ve done. But I think it’s talking to all the literate, lively readers that still scatter the American landscape. I think it’s entering all the bookstores and seeing that there are customers on every aisle. That’s the draw.
But I wouldn’t have planned our daughter’s last semester any other way. For the first Mother’s Day in four years . . . I’ll be home.