I had a plan for this blog. I was going to tell you about my horrible last few weeks and how I only managed to make my writing quota out of sheer determination. I was going to tell a few funny anecdotes to make it sound less like a whine. It would have a been a good blog. I might write it sometime.
But as I was sitting down to write it today, an email came through on one of my lists. One of those, "In case you were wondering why we haven't heard from so-and-so lately" emails. The writer in question isn't someone I know--different genre--but she's about my age, a prolific writer, active in professional associations, an avid gardener. And recently diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. She's already bedridden.
I know a little more about than ALS than I used to--maybe more than the average person--because some folks close to me recently lost a loved on to it. It's insidious. You gradually lose control of all of your muscles. Everything we all take for granted gradually slips away. Walking. Writing. Typing. Sitting up. Talking. Eating. Breathing.
The one thing you don't lose is your mind.
Okay, so maybe my last two weeks haven't been so bad. Things were crazy; my schedule went to hell; stuff fell by the wayside. That's life. I had to struggle to get my quota done. But I got it done. The family schedule was crazy. So I spent a lot of time with my nephews. The house is a mess. So I'll clean it eventually.
I wish it didn't take someone else's misfortune to jar me out of my feeling of being put upon by life and make me realize that on the whole, life hasn't been that bad lately.
In fact, it's been pretty good, if a bit busy. The workmen finished the renovation work on my house last week, and several very particular friends think the place looks quite nice. Booklist gave my upcoming book (Some Like It Hawk) a good review. I got to see one of my nephews break a board in Tae Kwon Do. I helped the other one through his first day with braces. I went one for three at bat in the sandlot game to celebrate the end of their baseball season (and since one of the two outs was a pop fly, and I was batting with a stickball, I far exceeded my own expectations). I'm on schedule with my draft. My roses are blooming like crazy, along with petunias, heliotrope, and lavender. And what do you know? The squirrels didn't dig up all the calla lilies. My editor sent me a cool nonfiction book he'd published--Beautiful Chickens, full of studio portraits of poultry--because he was savvy enough to realize I'd enjoy it--and it actually turned out to be useful for a couple of scenes I wrote this week. And he approved my new title, which in case I haven't mentioned it is The Hen of the Baskervilles. The family is planning a quiet dinner Sunday or Monday to help Mom celebrate her 90th birthday. I remembered to get some snacks for tomorrow's critique group meeting. I should stop and appreciate stuff like this more often.
The person who shared the dire news about our fellow writer ended her email by encouraging all of us to "use the good dishes . . . what are you waiting for?"
Advice I'm going to take to heart. Not sure how. Not just by literally serving tomorrow's fruits and cheeses on beautiful plates that require hand washing--though that's a thought. And sending a few donations to good causes is another thought--I will probably add the ALS Foundation, in honor of that fellow writer. But after that, I need to do some pondering. What else would enrich my life in some small or even big way if I went ahead and did it instead of putting it off till that less busy, more practical and convenient time that may never come?
Anyone else have any suggestions on how we can all spend a little more time using the good dishes?