by Shannon Baker
Chaos. *cue Maxwell Smart music* The next two weeks, more like three, will be so far from routine it’ll be like 21 days of Mondays. We’re getting an 8 week old puppy and moving to Tucson from Nebraska. Stopping long enough to inhale—something like 24 hours—then bopping up to Flagstaff so we can clean up a rental house to sell it. Then I fly out of Flagstaff up to Denver to do a presentation at the University of Colorado (I KNOW!!) drive my car to Tucson and we’re starting the good life.
The great news is that this marks the end of gainful employment for our household. Long days of leisure await us as we lounge by the pool, sipping mai tais and strumming on ukuleles. Ask any retired person and they’ll tell you all about their endless free time.
Right now, I’m dreaming of those big moving vans with strapping men who come and load boxes and furniture. You hand them your new address and a check and like magic, it all appears in your new home and you never had to get out of your negligee and kitten-heeled slippers. That’s not the way we do it. We have a pickup and a trailer and my whining, complaining, ever more feebleness dragging, hauling, and sometimes crying.
In the middle of all this, I’m struggling to tame my current manuscript and expecting my first editorial letter from a new editor on the novel I turned in a couple of months ago.
I’m packing boxes, stopping to read a chapter in one of four puppy books, driving toward completing draft 2 –which is the one where I take all the mess from a blind gallop to the finish line in the first draft and pat it into a real story with all those things like character motivation and rising tension, and where I throw out all the really great scenes that don’t add to the story but were probably some unconscious emotional therapy and are rich in subtlety and moral philosophy and read like poetry or the work of a literary master. (I can say that because no one will ever read them and you’ll have to take my word for their beauty.) Let’s see, where was I before I took that punctuational detour?
You might get an idea of my monkey brain. As my husband so eloquently puts it, I’m like a fart in a skillet. Forget about bitchy resting face, my current look, as I’m shoving my happy lamp into a box (why would I need a happy lamp in Tucson but now I’m to the point where everything goes into a box because it’s easier than the cull) is more like a prune swallowing battery acid because I’m working out the book while applying strapping tape.
Deep breath. It will all get done. It always does.
The good news is that when we get down to Tucson and settle ourselves, we’re opening up our doors. We’ll be offering writers retreats. This five bedroom house sits on the edge of the desert with nothing but sage and cactus for miles out our back door. Sunsets are staged every evening over Kitt Peak with perfect viewing from our back deck and are paired perfectly with a glass of wine or cocktail of your choice. It’s quiet and sunny, with a pool and spa surrounded by a tall and very private fence. You and your writers group or buddy or solo can come down and immerse yourself in your words. In Tucson. Where mid-winter temps require a light jacket.
I promise by then, I’ll be exuding nothing but serene, creative, happy vibes—you know, like usual for me.
Contact me if getting away from snow and cold and going deep into your writing sounds good. Summers are pretty great on the desert, too. The nights cool off and, did I mention the pool? Come on, you know you want to!