Friday, July 22, 2011

The 'Noes' have it

I said no.

I actually, truly said no to a request to be in on the start of an exciting new project. It is something in which I used to have a great deal of interest.

Notice that I said "used to have." I spent a dozen years involved with an outdoor drama that I helped write, sewed costumes for, collected props, acted as general manager, sold ads in the program and acted as gofer. One year I helped with the sound. I loved it. Well, most of the time.

Okay, let's be honest. It was probably the most stressful time of my life.

But that was 10 years ago. Since then, I've developed new interests. My project right now is to finish my work in progress. This has been a good week. I have been writing like a crazy woman, scenes and dialogue tumbling from my head to my fingertips and onto the keyboard. No writer's block, no "where do I go from here." I have only to wrap up the plot line and I will be finished.

And ready to re-write until I polish it as much as I can before asking someone else to take a look.

And, my Plotz co-writer is wondering when I am going to start pulling my weight with the sequel. Soon, I tell him, soon.

To add to my plate, a publisher told me if I took her suggestions and made some changes to a book I'd submitted, she'd take another look. No generic rejection this, but helpful and concrete advice.

So, no to the enticing invitation to get a community theater group up and running. Ten years ago, I'd have said yes and then wondered where my writing time went.

I have finally learned to say no.

I think I deserve a pat on the back. Or maybe I've finally learned what it means to be a writer. It's not something you do in your spare time.

If you are serious at your craft, there is no spare time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Even retirees need vacations

Some people think of retirement is a permanent vacation. Those are the people who haven't yet retired.

Retired people find themselves busier in retirement than they did while holding down a job. They are trying to do all the things they promised themselves they'd do when Social Security kicked in and they could quit their day jobs.

Retired people (and by now you know I am using the term with tongue firmly in cheek) need vacations, too. Our vacation coincides with our family reunion and we plan it a year in advance because planning takes the tactical abilities of a four-star general. Once we vote on a location (this year it was the mountains), one person is charged with finding a cabin with enough rooms for everyone who wants to share expenses, a nearby pool for the kids and a hot tub for the adults. This takes time and a lot of e-mailing back and forth as everyone shares his or her opinion on the view, the amenities and the size of the kitchen or great room. Usually, this person resigns before the reunion is over, declaring they will never do it again, and another unwary soul takes up the challenge.

Then, when we get there, bedrooms must be allotted, cars unpacked, and volunteers solicited to cook the communal meals.

You'd think we'd know how to do this after all these years. When we started holding the reunions, our kids were younger than their kids are now. But, as always, everything worked out. The kids commandeered the game room and the adults took to the rocking chairs on the deck like turtles on a log. We older folks visited, read, or just sat with a cup of coffee (mornings) or a glass of wine(evenings) and looked at the view. The younger crowd went rafting or hiking and played miniature golf. One afternoon my sister, our niece and my daughter-in-law and I visited some arts and crafts shops and treated ourselves to lunch out.

This year was doubly special for me. We welcomed a new member, our son's fiancee; and all three sons and their families were present. I think the last time this happened was at a wedding or a funeral; I can't remember. And I don't think it will happen again for many years. One lives in Georgia, one in California and one in Virginia. They all have jobs and responsibilities that make long-range planning difficult. Two just started new jobs and we were thankful they could get time off at all.

The days passed much too quickly. We packed our bags, said our goodbyes, and one by one returned to our homes and responsibilities.

And, we're already planning for next year. I don't know where it will be yet, or who all will be able to be with us, but I'm ready.

By then I am sure I will need not just a vacation, but the joyful reunion of family.