Single-mindedness, summer, and a new home

The view out of my new house, looking at my former home.

The view out of my new home, looking at my former house.

For the past 18 days I haven’t written anything besides to do lists. My life has been nothing but projects around my new house, and attempts to enjoy the remainder of summer. And I couldn’t be happier.

My hands are sore as I type this, cut and swollen from the enormity of black locust weeds I’ve cleared. My back and legs and arms are sore from dragging limbs, from cutting, from stooping and crouching. But it’s that good pain that comes from work that results in accomplishment.

What my hill looked like up close.

What my hill looked like up close.

How the black locust looked at the edge of the pool

How the black locust looked at the edge of the pool

Locust throns

Locust thorns

This is all a kind of a misnomer for me. I’m not handy. I don’t have a green thumb. Many people are shocked at the “manliness” I’ve exuded with this new house. People think of me more in my usual repose, reading, writing, telling stories.

But writing is hard work. It’s a grueling, sometimes nasty daily exercise that has prepared me for the pain I currently feel. I have this tendency to dive so deep into my work that nothing else matters. Nothing else is even visible. In the three weeks leading up to our closing, I did just this, all day long. I wrote for 4-6 hours and then the rest of the day as I packed, never once did I stop  thinking about the story. I forgot to eat, to shave, to remember to be human.

That skill set is not “manliness”. It’s not even OCD, as my wife affectionately tells me. It is single-mindedness. It is an ability to block it all out. To forget everything in search of one pursuit. It is a trait that can destroy, but it is also one that can produce phenomenal results.

Fortunately for me, I’m at the tail end of summer. I soon have to switch that focus off my home and back to work.  And that is wonderful. Because even though I don’t have a book coming out this year, I already have three events lined up for the fall, and one in the spring. I’ll also be busy with the next round of revision for LOOK PAST, and whatever I must do with my other novels and their various states.

But right now I’m thinking about my lawn, and how it needs to be mowed, and a drainage pipe I might install, and what the hill will look like in the winter, and sleigh riding. And so yes, I have a lot on my plate, and miles to go before I sleep.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Aftermath of my work

Aftermath of my work

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