Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Back to the Grindstone

by Janis Patterson 

For those of you who don’t know, my mammoth 22 novel republishing blitz ended on October 25. Thank Goodness! Re-releasing a book every other Wednesday for most of a year was exhausting. I managed to keep going through about half of November, but was so wrung out that with the holiday season coming up my wonderful husband put his foot down and told me I was taking the rest of the year off. 

His dictum was a blessing - and a curse. I did sneak in some writing, something which I had neglected shamefully during the constant work of the blitz, but also managed a strange and rare pleasure - rest. After far too many frozen dinners, take-out and restaurant meals I rediscovered the joys of the kitchen. And the first part of December we went to Germany for a tour of Bavarian Christmas markets, one of our favorite trips.

Until Lufthansa got involved. I am still at war with that *^$#@^ airline. Our luggage had been checked through to Stuttgart, but along the way we were informed that the last leg of our trip had been cancelled, meaning we stopped in Frankfurt Airport (itself one of the Seven Circles of Hell) but our bags went on to Stuttgart - except they didn’t. I got my bag back - I snatched it from the hands of a thief, no less - but The Husband’s never appeared, meaning we had to spend the first day of the tour buying him new clothes and other essentials - an expense we had not anticipated.

Over a week after we got home Lufthansa called, saying his bag had been found, but we couldn’t have it because we hadn’t filled out a certain lost-bag form that none of the half-dozen Lufthansa employees we talked to ever told us we should fill out. When we found this out, we of course tried to fill out the form only to find that it would not accept the dates of our flights. Lufthansa still has the bag, they know it is ours, but they refuse to send it to us because we have not filled out a form that their lost-bag system refuses to accept. Wonder how much Lufthansa makes from the sale of ‘unclaimed’ luggage? After all, it is ‘found money.’ Just be very careful if you ever are cursed to fly Lufthansa or its cohort United. And it’s not just us - I was surprised to find their customer service satisfaction rating is in the cellar.

So after my December ‘vacation’ I have to get back to writing... and it’s hard, harder than I expected. I have gotten to like sleeping late in the morning, and being able to do things during the day besides staring at a screen. And I do have ‘encouragement’ in the form of deadlines - my blogs, my newsletter, two novella contracts (which are due alarmingly soon) to say nothing of the books I want to write on my own, two of which are so tantalizingly close to completion. But still it is so hard to sit down at the one-eyed monster of my computer, open a file and create something from nothing but imagination - and caffeine. Never forget the caffeine!

I have written professionally for most of my life (I was first paid for writing when I was nine years old) and on the whole loved it. Writing is part of my being, as much a part of me as the color of my eyes or the shape of my chin. I cannot imagine living the rest of my life without writing... just the next few weeks. Leisure is so insidiously addictive. 

But, like cranky old wells, one sometimes has to prime the pump to break the vacuum and make the water flow, and that is what this ill-tempered screed has appeared to do. The act of writing this blog, of seeing my fingers move over the keys and the black squiggles of letters and words appear on the screen, is both soothing and invigorating. I might even open up one of my novella files and see if the feeling continues.

Or I might just go take a nap.