Forge Ahead Unfettered

After 3 days with no posts you’re probable wondering where I am.

I am in New Mexico. Tucumcari, to be exact. Fascinating as that must be for you, the story behind it is a lesson in how balance and moving forward go hand in hand.

We knew when we moved in a year ago that the house we rented was for sale. After 3 years on the market (in a seriously “buyer’s” market) we weren’t concerned, especially as seasoned nomads.

Last Wednesday we got the message that the house sold and the new owners wanted to move in April 1st. While the landlord is only required to give 28 days notice ours made a special effort and gave us 35.

The challenge was that we were leaving on this Arizona/California trip 5 days later, and won’t be back until after the final date. We’ve made firm commitments to give my presentation Taking the Pain and Mystery Out of Becoming an Author and couldn’t postpone the trip without damaging my self-respect.

We spent one day packing.

We spent one day moving my books and vinyl records to a friend’s music room. We had help.

We spent one day moving everything else into a storage unit. In minus 7 degrees and 15mph winds. We had help, trust me.

We took time over the weekend for our volunteer work and spiritual activities.

We took one short day to pack what was left for our trip. By Saturday we had moved into the house of the music-room friend mentioned earlier. They had accepted a short notice deal on a cruise just before we got notice on our house and would be gone so they offered their home as an alternative to sleeping on the floor at our house because I put everything in storage including the bed. Oops.

Everyone kept asking “Where will you live when you get back?” When I’d say “We’re dealing with getting out. We’ll deal with getting back when that’s done” one of them said “Why not rent my lake house? My tenants just gave notice.”

We’ll be coming back to a gorgeous house on the lake. More room. Views from every room. A kitchen I love. Fireplace. Wood floors. Few neighbors. Landlord who’s a good friend and cares about the house.

Sometimes all you have to do is keep your eyes open, pay attention. (Ask me about the real definition of luck.)

I’m not writing 4,000 words a day during all this. After 10 days of hitting that goal I stopped abruptly to get life sorted.

For one brief instant I felt badly about “breaking my habit.”

Then I got over it.

I will get back to a robust writing schedule as soon as we’re settled on Phoenix. I’ll get both my books and both my blogs back on track. And I’ll have a boatload of new ideas to ferment into writing fuel.

Oh, and while she was reading my research on story structure to me, Best Beloved realized why she’d never been able to finish the romance novel she started when she was 15. And now knows exactly what it will take to finish it.

By the time this is all over and done with, we’ll be in fine shape, far ahead in many respects, and better than one might expect in all others.

Habits are vital in your writing as well as in the rest of your life. They’re anchors when life is disrupted.

But when a sudden storm hits, cut the anchors loose and you’ll live to sail another day.

12 thoughts on “Forge Ahead Unfettered

  1. Fabulous post Joel! That’s the kind of drama you want in fiction, not in real life, and the kind of synchronicity that’s wonderful in life and rarely works in fiction. I love your last three sentences – so true. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    1. My younger brother is a brilliant (but won’t do anything with it) artist. One trick he told me decades ago is that if you want clouds to look right in a painting, you can NOT make them look like real clouds.

      Real clouds ALWAYS look fake, to amazing to believe. Paint that, he said, and no one will ever believe it.

    1. Previous trips covered Tehachapi and Tonopah, so I think we’re set.

      Since we have a Maine lobster dinner awaiting us when we make it out that way, you’ll see us in your neighborhood in the next year, methinks.

      Maybe we can busk up some lunch money. We’ll call ourselves The Two Old Slide Guys.

  2. Welcome to New Mexico.
    By the way, watch that last sentence. We lived on a boat for ten years and I wouldn’t pass that along as good advice under most circumstances. Typically it’s “put out another anchor and live to sail another day.”
    Of course that makes for a lousy metaphor.

    1. True enough. I was thinking do the kind of ocean storm where your only hope of survival is to run with it until it blows itself out. But that still works better as metaphor than nautical advice.

      Where are you in NM? We’re on to AZ now but we pass through the southwest once or twice a year. Always up for a cup of something hot or a pint of something cold if you’re in our path.

    1. Just finishing our first weekend, knocking out Monday’s exhausting workload (about 90 minutes for me) and then we’re off to dinner with Best Beloved’s uncle and aunt, then to my music buddy’s in the opposite corner of the valley. (Phoenix takes almost 2 hours to cross. I still haven’t gotten our friends from this side together with our friends from that side.)

      It’ll be nice to have a guest room in the new house. And being on the lake, we may be able to skip the two weeks we’d normally need A/C and go year round without it, which is a dream situation for me.

  3. Wow, this new home situation is so very cool, I just can’t stand it, Joel and Sue Lynn. Just got back from Seattle and this post was 11 days ago, so we’ll be seeing you soon! Can’t wait.

    Drive safely. Do good work.

    p.s. You know how this one gets about philosophical issues…but the idea that “habits are vital” is very much a trap. I personally would not tell anyone that’s how to live (for the sake of “sidestepping danger when life is disrupted”) — life itself is disruption incarnate. So there…

    1. For myself, having my habits disrupted temporarily is far less painful than the aimless wandering of my life when I don’t have those habits. I’ve tried both, and this works best for me.

      From our conversations, though, I suspect we’re closer on this subject than the words here might indicate.

      I suggest further discussion in person. Say, tomorrow?

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