We hardly got an inch of snow this winter, to the despair of everyone under ten, but I still feel like I’ve been completely snowed in and stuck for the last couple of months. Work, holidays, more work, a relay-type flu that we’ve passed around from family member to family member for months now, even more work … So many things that needed doing and no energy at all to do them with. And the darkness and the gray that is winter here when there is no snow to reflect what little daylight there is … So very draining.
And no writing. Not for weeks, or even months, and every day that goes by without writing takes me further and further away from my stories and my characters and the feelings and moods and insights that I try to transfer to the reader. I start doubting myself as a writer, my characters as sufficiently interesting, my insights as lacking in profundity (if that’s even a word).
And then, one morning, I noticed that it’s not dark outside when we head off to start the day. And at night I find myself not staggering to bed as soon as the kids are tucked in. Instead, I stay up a while longer in the evenings, finish a movie or read a couple of chapters more. And I realize that I’m not exhausted anymore. Tired, sure. Tired to the bone. But not completely and utterly exhausted. And what a difference that makes!
The next day, I find some time, just a few moments, to open up Scrivener and the novel that I should have finished a long time ago and I step straight into the hallway of Lynxx’s apartment and there they are, Lynxx and Susan, just where I left them sometime last year. Lynxx is standing there with his phone to his ear and Susan is in the doorway to the living room and she is furious (“How could you just leave us here? You’ve been gone forever!”) and Lynxx doesn’t say anything, he just looks really strained by the fact that there is a raging pregnant woman in his apartment and he looks pleadingly at me, as if to say “please, could you just get her out of here?”
And I apologize profusely and I tell Susan that I’m really sorry, but life sometimes gets in the way of art and that I’ve got something for her, a really fun plot twist that came to me in the shower the other day and which means that I get to write a chapter in grandpa Arvid’s POV, and she calms down a little and looks a bit intrigued and Lynxx tells his dad that he’ll have to call him back because something’s come up and I want to give poor Lynxx a hug but realize that he would hate it, so I just whisper to him that it’s all going to be ok but I’m afraid that I can’t get rid of that woman for you, she’s the woman you’re going to marry, the woman you’re going to love more than anyone else in the world except perhaps for one other person that you haven’t met yet.
And if he looks a bit panicked and as if he might have to throw up, well, that’s just the way it is with love. Sometimes it just hits you, right in the gut. And it doesn’t really matter what you want. The heart makes all the big decisions and the rest of us is just stuck with the choices that the heart has made.
Speaking of Stuck, I’m putting my Valentine’s Day short story Stuck With You on sale (as in, totally free) for February 14, so if you haven’t already got a copy, that’s a good day to get it. I’ll try to post a reminder on Facebook or something, but I might be stuck in a snowdrift or the second coming of the flu-from-hell, so you might want to make a note of it, yourself.