2014 was a year of great upheaval in my life, death, family divorce, illnesses and hospitalizations, as well as a health challenge of my own, requiring a lengthy period of downtime. It happens to all of us. Things come in clusters. And this was a year for my family’s life to be in chaos–and of course because I love them, I showed up.
Here’s the weird thing: somehow, I still managed to write almost 250,000 finished words. That’s a lot, at least for me. Two novels, a novella, and a non-fiction book.
Right? That’s a lot.
I was honestly quite surprised when I tallied the numbers—it all felt hectic and unfocused–rushing here and there, trying to find information for a sick parent, a bereavement flight; trying to find time to just listen to the wounded ones on the phone. Because while work matters, people matter more. Showing up is everything.
I have little memory of doing those pages. What I do remember is going to England in cold, wet January and reading a lot on the planes and in the evenings when we were tired from packing my mother-in-law’s estate all day. I remember worrying about my beloved. I also remember reading five full, long novels on that trip. I didn’t write a word.
In the spring, I finished my Master Class book, but I don’t really remember writing that, either. I do remember driving back and forth to a city 50 miles away to help care for my mother after a fall landed her in the hospital for nearly a month. [pullquote]Not-writing, the reading and gardening and quiet hours flying or resting made it possible for me to write a lot [/pullquote] I remember redecorating a bedroom so she could be on the main floor, and clearing the fridge of food that had gone bad because I was afraid my dad might inadvertently eat the wrong thing. I had to stay overnight a few times and I didn’t do any writing, although I had my notebook with me. I read a lot, probably another few novels. [Read more…]