July 9, 2013

I almost didn’t write this post because I’m so, so tired! But blogging is about being in the messiness of the moment. So here’s the latest on my book, which is the door to the next dimension of a creative life. All this is happening just in time for my 57th birthday…

Last Tuesday, I packed my daughter off to camp, which gives me nearly three weeks to be completely alone in a quiet house. Finishing the latest draft of my manuscript is now serious, round-the-clock business. Don’t ask me what time it is because I work until I can’t give anymore, sleep for a few hours, and then write some more. Loving it!

My themes are now very clear. Over the past decade, I’ve shelved two completed fiction manuscripts. This current project, in its fourth rewrite, is non-fiction, a how-to guide: How I survived my control freak parents and found the path to true love, great sex and happiness. I had to get the word “sex” in there for marketing purposes, haha! Let’s see if it survives the rewrite.

Meanwhile, I’ve also just started a month of art workshops to prepare me for doing my own illustrations. Nude sketching is loosening me up to draw gesturally. Asian watercolor landscaping is fascinating because the hand involved is so different from either oil painting or even Western watercolor. Asian watercoloring is also an exercise in working in grayscale, which will give me depth in making black-and-white book illustrations. Then, at the end of July, I’ll spend a week of mornings learning to draw hands and feet, which involve so much articulated movement that they are the most challenging body parts for most artists.

As if this isn’t enough, the money pit otherwise known as my house keeps screaming for attention. Not exactly what I need when I’m unemployed and living off my savings. Still, the upside is that repairing the front porch and replacing the rotted backyard deck makes being home so much more inviting. I’m also proud of myself for making time to weed and mulch part of the garden.

But just when I thought I could sit in the rocking chair and take in the breeze — near disaster. Yesterday, my 12-year-old refrigerator died, soaking part of the wood kitchen floor. Thank goodness my plumber came over right away. He turned off the water pipe for the ice maker and advised me on how to buy a new fridge, which is on my shopping list for this afternoon.

Actually, I take the fridge situation as a positive sign from the universe that I’m truly ready for my next life. That fridge has always been way too big. I bought it right after my divorce, when I relocated to Hastings-on-Hudson, downsizing from a 6,000-square-foot house to a 2,500-square-foot house. But back then for the move, I bought a huge, new fridge that suited the old lifestyle — where I was coming from and not the unknown world ahead. Now that I know how to nourish myself, I’m ready for a smaller, cozier, more compact fridge.

With all this going on, staying in touch with friends and relaxing is more important than ever. While it’s tough carving out downtime in my crazy schedule, I did manage to hang out on July 4th, taking in an outdoor concert and fireworks at the beautiful Caramoor Center in Katonah, N.Y. To stay healthy, I’ve been getting to the gym. Another essential is keeping up with my yoga and stretching exercises to counter the nasty muscle knotting that comes with long hours at the computer. Thank God, too, for the dog…having Rosebud forces me outta the house for a daily walk (when it’s not raining).

If I sound a bit intense, part of the reason is my upcoming birthday. When I turn 57 later this month, I’d really like to have the manuscript rewrite done. I’m certain that completing this round of the book will get me to the other side of who I was always meant to be. It will also free me up to dive into creating the visuals that will go with each chapter. My hope is to finish this project over the summer and self-publish in the fall, just in time for the winter holiday gift-giving season.

Well, the big rebirth is definitely underway. I probably should be scared because I’ve never been a published author and illustrator. But you know what? All I feel right now is excitement. And that in itself is a great early birthday gift because it means I’m finally comfortable with myself.

So if you’d like to stay close while I work through this adventure from week to week, please subscribe to my blog! I’d love to have your company and your good energy. It will keep me going. xoxoxo