Archive for July, 2012

The conundrum of the spinning plates

I don’t know if any of you are old enough to remember the Gong Show (or even game shows in general. They used to fill that gap between sitcoms that reality TV shows fill now). It was a goofy talent show where contestants would perform a wacky talent (or so they thought) on stage and three celebrity judges would watch for a specific period of time, until one judge would be so disinterested he/she would get up and bang the gong behind him/her, showing his/her disapproval of the performance. It was kind of like American Idol with more comedy and a smaller budget (I remember judges would wrestle with each other to keep one from hitting the gong).

One of the acts that seemed to make a repeated appearance (at least in my fuzzy memory) was the act with the spinning plates. There would always be several dinner platters placed carefully on the ends of varying lengths of wooden dowels and spun. The object was to get as many plates spinning at the same time and remain that way for as long as possible. I remember that act rarely went well.

The thing is, one or two plates spinning perfectly is a challenge, but probably doable. The chaos ensues when you animate more plates at the same time than you are mentally or physically capable of maintaining. It’s really hard to keep your eye on all of them, and each plate acts differently on each length of dowel. Once you lose your concentration, they all start falling over. Eventually you may just say, “Piss on it!” and angrily sweep up the broken china in your disgust, knowing full well you’ll be stepping on the hidden glass shards for weeks to come, each time a bitter reminder of your failure.

My point is my life feels like a never-ending sight-gag of me trying to spin all these stupid plates, and just when I think I got it down, another plate appears. I really wish someone would just hit the damn gong already!

No rest for the wicked…

Or so saying goes, I have a lot going on right now.

The fire that needs to be put out at the moment is at our little lake cabin. Our tenants vacated the place and left many colored walls behind. With the weather being hotter than Hades lately, primer doesn’t want to dry very quickly. Every day I’m not working at a paying job, I’m out there painting.

That was the job I did yesterday. The previous night, as sometimes happens, my brain wouldn’t shut off. I finally fell asleep around 2am. The next morning I woke up at 7:30. Exhausted, I resorted to my old college trick. I stopped at the store and picked up a two liter bottle of Diet Mountain Dew (in college it was full strength, but I have old teeth and an old metabolism now, so diet it is). During the course of the day, I drank half of it, but I worked steadily until 6:30. Once home, the husband and I indulged in microwave lasagna and old SciFi TV shows until he went back to the office down the street to work and I went upstairs to my home office.

I’m in the process of once again re-editing my first two books while I wait for my last of five editors to send me her manuscript of the Third. I did that until about 11:30. That’s probably when the caffeine and artificial sweetener finally wore off enough to let the exhaustion kick back in. I went to bed.

I didn’t’ sleep. The minute I hit the pillow I began thinking about Book 4. My mind wandered around the first 10 pages of the plot that I have written and went, “You need to put this in next.” I was exhausted, mind you. My procrastination really wanted me to just go to sleep and add it in later, except that I knew I wouldn’t remember it right later.

So, up I got again and went back to work. I wrote for another hour until the husband finally came home. “Why are you still up?” he asked, equally tired.

“I had to write in the fourth book,” I told him through my toothpaste.

“Oh,” he said, “That’s good.”

We both slept fairly well last night. So it was a productive day. I’ll worry about the cancer from the diet pop later.



I have to say, to all of you who actually get to go somewhere and enjoy summer, I am sooo jealous.

Unfortunately, due to budget constraints (buy more books, dammit!) and over-scheduling, I have to bow out of two-count ’em-two weekend getaways this summer.

The first was my husband’s family reunion in South Dakota. I really wanted to go to that because my Third Book takes place in that area.

The second was the “girly trip” that I take with my mom, sister, mom’s friend and other female aunts and cousins that migrate in and out every year. This year we were going to the South Shore of Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands.

Vacation is just not practical right now, and even if I could get the time off from my two jobs, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself anyway because I’d be too worried about money and the stuff that wouldn’t be getting done.

Instead, I wander around my tiny new garden every morning and ooh and ahh at every single new blossom that decides the grace me with its presence. I grab a book and give myself twenty minutes of peace before bed. I sneak in a bike ride down the trail near the house, peddling as fast as I can to outrun the deer flies.

I’ll do my best to glean whatever joy I can in between necessary chores. Even as busy as I am, the fleeting urgency of the nice weather is not lost on me. I know all too soon, another winter approaches.

I hope the rest of you take some while you can too. Heck, take some extra time for me. Take my books with you on your next well-earned vacation. Perhaps, as you sit on the beach or in some quaint cafe, you can read my books, and I can live vicariously through you. However, if you’re going to flirt with the swarthy towel boy/waiter, make sure he’s cute.