*Twiddles Thumbs*

I just finished my latest manuscript, YA Contemporary, and it’s with my crit group. So far, it seems to be passing the read test, which is grand because it’s a different book than what I usually write…

But now I’m left at odds and ends. I’ve got some research for kids’ book, edits for a middle-grade, another middle-grade that needs drafting. It’s a full plate of work on my desk, and that doesn’t even take into account the administration side of it…common sense says to take today to do so
mething less writerly before diving into a new story. To take a breath and step away, or else I’ll drag the tone/voice of the YA into whatever I’m doing…Decouple, just like the train cars…

BUT I have all this energy for *writing,* so now I don’t know what to do…I don’t want to twiddle my thumbs, but I also don’t want to waste my energy…which probably means I’m going to have to clean out my closet. Literally. That always seems to sort through the muddling in my brain, and shows me the path to take…

Wow, wow, and more wow

Lark Holds the Key & Across the Floor are starred selections with the CCBC Spring Edition, and Gatekeeper hit #3 on the YEG bestsellers. And to think of all the times—all the times—when I was one breath away from giving up because it seemed hopeless and useless, and that I was kidding myself. I am so grateful, so incredibly grateful to all those people who came into my life and encouraged me to keep going. These accolades are theirs, as much as they are mine.

And then I wonder…

…if I’m the only one that wants the cape from Dr. Strange, the carpet from Aladdin, and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, not for any reason other than I think they’d be super cool to hang out with…

When words hurt

“Who are you?”

The question comes from the other end of the phone line, uttered by my grandmother. Though we’ve been talking for a few minutes, this is the third time I have to remind her who I am.

“Oh, Tash. You’re living in New York?”

“No, Edmonton.” My aunt is in New York.
It’s not unusual for her to become confused, and my heart breaks every time I hear the fear in her voice. She can’t remember where she is, why she’s there. All she wants to do is go home, but that’s no longer an option, anymore.

The home is good to her, the nurses and staff love her, but it’s not the same. It’s not her house. And though one of her sisters is there, my grandmother doesn’t always remember who she is. For that, I am somewhat grateful. My great aunt has become unresponsive, and when my grandmother does remember her, she becomes upset because this is not the little sister she knew.

Whenever I talk with my grandmother, I’m left asking questions I cannot answer. Questions about what is the moral thing when a person’s body begins to outlive their mind (or vice-versa), what do we do when those we love are lost to the ravages of time and age, is there a part of her that understands I remember for her? That the love she had for me cannot be diminished or lost, no matter what is happening to her brain? Can she feel my love for her, even if she cannot remember my name or that I am her granddaughter?

I don’t know, and the sadness sometimes seeks to overwhelm.

These are the times I’m grateful I’m a writer, because every time I write a story, I’m reminded it was her love of books that helped to inspire mine because parts of her show up in my characters. I suppose then, that no matter what time or age might do, she can never be lost.

Ummm, what?

Reading a book on how to write (when at a loss, go back to the well, right?), & the author says to set goals, then gives an example, “Have a book traditionally published by 2018.”

And then I put the book down.

I’m sorry, that’s not a goal. A goal is something YOU can accomplish. YOU can choose *if* you finish the manuscript, and YOU can choose *when* you submit, YOU can even choose the people to whom you submit, BUT YOU CANNOT choose if your book gets published because that’s not in your decision, it’s someone else’s. At the point your goal hinges on someone else, it ceases to be a goal. If any of us had the ability to control someone else’s choices and actions, well, I’m just saying there would be a lot more chocolate on my plate when my husband cooks dinner.