February 12, 2022
It’s been a difficult week, more on that later. But first, I’m off for a much needed change of scenery, and I’ve chosen an old favorite: Lake Quinault Lodge. I may go on to the beach . . . or not. Probably not.
Driving west through dense fog—latte in the cup holder—there are occasional bursts of clear blue sky, then back into the murk. Not unlike these past two years. It was in another murky time, during mother care, that the historic lodge was my go-to place one winter. It’s two hours from home and a complete change of scene, and air space. I went several times the days Mama’s occasional caregiver was on duty. I sat at the table by the window and wrote. And breathed.
I travel out U.S. Rte 12—the only numbered highway that spans Washington from east to west—through small towns, past Christmas tree farms, then turn north up Rte. 101 through timber lands: “Rayonier. Clearcut 1910,” before my parents were born. Memories of driving the route with them and my sisters in the green ’56 Chevy station wagon, headed for Ruby Beach, fill me every time I drive here.
It’s 33º when I arrive, and no fire in the massive fireplace. But it’s warm inside, the sun is shining, the sky is blue. I sit at my old table and start this post in my notebook, then do a creative thing to post on Valentine’s Day.
Notes from Three of Earth Farm
This has arguably been the hardest week of the past two years—at least since Pandemic School ended, unbelievably almost a year ago. As more people I know and love have Covid breakthrough cases, it becomes more evident we will all get it eventually. I was possibly exposed last weekend, and had some possible symptoms, but I tested negative. I had a challenging Airbnb guest. I’m in tax hell making the decision to pay a CPA to amend four years of returns, so I can give the government some money. (To be sure, I would rather give it to this administration than the one when I owed it.) And I have, finally, decided I need to get off the fence and find help with this property. So far, no leads. Ca-ching, ca-ching.
Speaking of the property, occasional sunny days means I have to start the annual clean-up. Another reason I left home on this sunny day. I dread it. But, speaking of fences, Friday was also beautiful and I cleaned up the wreckage of my garden fence, blown over in a winter wind storm. I’m glad it’s done, and I’m no closer to deciding what to do about my garden, that will now include rebuilding the deer and rabbit fence—along with new boxes—if I decide to keep trying to grow things.
Path to Publication
Heading toward book publication is the only thing I really want to do, other than adventures. In this, the tenth anniversary year of my return to the Pacific NW and the 70th anniversary of my birth, I want to do something outstanding. I’m still thinking on what that might look like on the adventure side of things. Being a published author is pretty outstanding though, and also an adventure.
Last week there was a Zoom meeting of my She Writes Press cohort group—those whose pub dates are this fall—and looking at their faces on the screen it was impossible not to note that nearly all of them are in their 60s and 70s, and beyond. I really love that, women are doing big things, creative things, courageous things in the final third of our lives. And truly, SWP—a hybrid publisher that began the same year I moved across the country and began writing my memoir about life with Mama—makes it possible. It’s nearly impossible for a first-time author to get a traditional publisher, and equally difficult to get a self-published book into the hands of readers. SWP is a life force moving the voices of the crones into the world.
The book written, I am upwardly spiraling my creative energy into ways to promote it before it comes out—in my introvert element—and preparing myself for the necessity of stepping out of my comfort zone into extroversion in the fall. I don’t need to tell you I prefer the current phase.
Some things to watch for:
- My brand new website! An invitation to subscribe is coming soon. (Don’t worry, this one isn’t going away.)
- A book trailer (March, I hope).
- A Kickstarter campaign—hybrid publishing is expensive. (April)
And I keep coming up with new ideas when I see what others are doing. For now, if you don’t already follow my writer Facebook page, you can do so here and catch up on the Path to Publication (like my cover!); and my first “Deleted Scene,” published today; and my Valentine’s project, created in the lodge, tomorrow.
It feels like so long we’ve been slogging through this murky life, so different from that which we’ve known—and it started three years before Covid-19 hit us. We are all stressed and irritable, for a variety of reasons. My own stress stems from the acting out by the people who are angry that it’s not over, the same people who are the reason it’s not over. (Here is a great post by Karen Maezen Miller, a Buddhist priest, on that subject: “How Free is Your Free?“) In our weariness, we discount (or overlook) how far we have come and how much we have learned.
As I hike through the rain forest, I flash back two years when I was late winter hiking on the few trails that were even open, hiking in a mask, irritated and stressed by those not following the protocols for safety. Now we are vaccinated, now we know we are pretty safe outdoors anyway, now I don’t wear a mask unless I meet someone who is. So much more is better now, thanks to the tireless work of scientists, entrepreneurs, creatives, and computer phenoms . . . and the many of us who are not actively working to make life worse. I hope we can remember to take a breath, be kind to ourselves, let go of tension whenever we can, and exhale kindness.
And walk in the rain forest.