Sunday, May 1, 2016

Moving From Place to Place - Mar Preston

The Brits say “up sticks and moved house.” I like the way it makes moving sound—active and positive. For several months now that’s what I’ve been  to stay active and positive.

I am moving away from Pine Mountain Club after 17 years, a village in the central California mountains, where I’ve been very happy. But the mountains—probably the mountains anywhere—are cold and the arthritis is getting me down.  It’s hard to type with cold, crabbed, blue fingers.

I know I could be happy somewhere else, preferably somewhere warmer. Many places beckon, Ecuador, Florida, Ontario, San Diego. I know I can’t go back to Santa Monica where I was happy for a generation and was the inspiration of my five  Dave Mason mysteries.

Ventura beckons.  It’s commuting distance from Pine Mountain Club, coastal California, and warm enough in the winter. I can keep a hand in with all the arty events that I love so much in Pine Mountain.

Many times lately I’ve had the image of picking up this  house and decanting all my belongings into cardboard boxes and driving off the mountains down the hill to Ventura on the coast. But anyone who has ever moved, and  that’s all of us, knows the reality is quite different.

The prep work starts with shelves high up in closets going through old boxes of papers and photographs, each of which contains an emotional bomb. A copy of the review of my first novel No Dice.

Old play programs, ticket stubs, clippings?  Keep or throw out? Fondling a broken figurine given to me by someone whom I loved dearly? How could I throw that out? I made terrible decisions and reduced many boxes into a few.

 I’ve devoted  little bandwidth to worshiping my Domestic Goddess. And it showed. However, people will clean for you, if you pay them? Great, huh?

The downstairs of this house is so chilly, and heating so expensive, I’ve spent little time downstairs. The upstairs where I live was a little better.

I try to change a light bulb and the neighborhood blacks out. But you can hire fix it guys too and I found a great one. Better even, his wife is a set designer, and loved the challenge of rearranging my house. I obviously have no taste and less imagination because what she created astonished me.

And Mel Weinstein, a photographer of renown, did a photo shoot that made every room appear lofty, cavernous, and vast. Well, it is a big house, but it is not Versailles.

The rest is up to me. I have to keep this house uncluttered and clean--not my natural bent. Buyers can visit any time, any day. The cat boxes must be attended, my old dog’s pee pads disposed of instantly. I must nourish and maintain the flowers I’ve planted.

In these last few months my ambition to finish my sixth mystery has dimmed. I'm deciding on a title between Pounce and The Most Dangerous of Species. Ventura may fire up the ambition once again.

Writing gritty police procedurals will be the most important thing in my life. I hope. I've missed it.


Linda Thorne said...

I started off in Arizona and moved to Colorado where I met my husband who was from Ohio. We met and married in Denver, Colorado, but a better job for him took us to the Mississippi Gulf Coast where I have set my debut novel. We treated the move like a vacation. We lived in Mississippi for eight years. From there he got an offer he couldn't refuse in the Central Valley of California. and we stayed in that area for five years. We now live in the greater Nashville area of Tennessee. Sometimes vacations are skipped or too short. Moving to areas all over the country is a real adventure to me. Your book sounds good.

Morgan Mandel said...

I would like to be somewhere where the weather is ideal for me, which is in the 60s and 70s. I can't handle too hot or too cold.

That said, Illinois, which is far from perfect temperature and tax-wise, is my home and I couldn't bear the thought of moving somewhere else.

However, I do enjoy my Wisconsin vacations, but wouldn't want to live there permanently. My location is ideal as far as all the amenities I enjoy, yet it's not overcrowded.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Ventura is one of my favorite places in the world. It has appeared off and on in my Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries.