I’m willing to believe it’s really spring. I’m seeing green blades of grass and flower buds – even up here at our house. So today, I took the dogs on the little “back four” trail that Simon is laboriously turning into an actual walkable footpath. Through dint of hard labour (99 percent his), this place is becoming habitable.
I can see that there is work to be done – but mostly, I see what has been accomplished, especially indoors. The upstairs has been totally transformed and currently, the down-in-the-basement icky bathroom is becoming another really beautiful place.
At any rate, it was nice to be out in the warm sun this afternoon after almost two hours of writing – which brings me to my point.
My one thought before I moved – when Simon was already here and I was packing up my home on Vancouver Island – was that no matter how isolated I would be – no matter how alien this landscape – no matter how “trapped” I might feel – it would be an ideal place to write. After all, I reasoned, if I’m stuck here I won’t be distracted. I’ll just write.
Of course, that hasn’t come to pass quite the way I had imagined. First, because I connected with the local hiking community and have been out at least as much as I always was on the island – and probably even more so. Certainly the winter snowshoeing has been pretty epic. I have a whole new set of leg muscles!
I’ve made friends – one of whom is going to get me on skis next winter whether I like it or not – although I suspect I will like it a lot.
But the writing. It has been sporadic. I have hit places of inspiration and still have half a dozen stories out there with various magazines. Who knows how that will go in the end. No matter. I read over a few of those pieces earlier today and felt pretty darn good about them.
I finished my memoir while I was here and revised it twice. I’ve sent it out to dozens of agents – likely close to a hundred. I started at least five or six other manuscripts – trying to find something that would call to me. All those pages are tucked away in files.
And then yesterday a New York agent asked me to mail him fifty pages of my manuscript after reading my query letter. I know I shouldn’t get excited – likely he will not be impressed. If he is, he’ll ask for the whole thing. But – and here’s the important part – it serves as some sort of affirmation that I have not been wasting my time.
Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that I am a writer. I may not be Anita Shreve or Barbara Kingsolver – but I am me and I have a style that is my own. I tend to shrug off the acknowledgment and praise that I get. I suspect I always will. What is more important to me than any acknowledgment from other people is how I feel about myself. I admit that sometimes an outside nudge makes a difference. That New York agent gave me the elbow poke I needed.
So today I sent off the pages he asked for and I spent another couple of hours writing about twelve pages for the hiking book. I would be immensely surprised if one of two publishers I have in mind won’t pick it up. The idea is good and I know that the writing is fun, light and readable.
I am contributing to the local hiking club through my writing and that too feels good. Contribution is important – more important than I sometimes give it credit for.
On Monday, Simon begins working. I wonder if it will feel odd to be alone in the house all day. It’s been a very long time since we’ve not been together all day. Even if he’s working in the basement and I’m out walking the dogs, we still share almost every minute of the day. In a house this small with such an open plan, we’re pretty much in the same room all the time. There is something very comforting about that. At the same time, we are also at a stage in our relationship which I rather like – where we don’t have to be together to be together. We have become so closely linked.
But the writing. I feel that I am ready to spend more and more time with it. Overwhelmingly, my life is becoming a marriage of hiking, writing and loving. Oh sure, gardening, cleaning and laundry fit in there somewhere – but the real meaning of my life centres around those three things. Something is evolving – none of this is settled yet. Every now and then I have a premonition of something exciting about to happen. I feel that strongly now – more so every day. I’m going to trust the truth of it.