Our Indian Dog Summer drags on. The mother’s health goes up and down and sideways. The old dog is limping, in between leaping bouts of leftover puppiness. Our teenage housemate is packing for college. Next weekend, I will regain my bedroom, but lose my daily helper. I balance myself on these life-true unpredictable give and takes, my daily bread, while spinning cloud-light stories and metaphors to keep sane, to keep from going nuts. Am I the nut or the bolt?
This morning we went to my one of my old “alma maters,” the Senior Center. Many people, at the front edge of elderhood, steer clear of the senior activity center, because they don’t want to be old, and although they don’t know what the place is like, surely it is not for them. I have been a member of the senior centers in our county for the past ten years, mostly because I worked at two of them in our county. I know, down to the floor-polishing schedules, what they are like. I took the biggest blanket in the house to the laundromat while she chatted with her pals. Greedy me, I also went to the library for more books.
I have started several blogs over the past week, but none got finished. I’m firmly planted in the middle of this ongoing home life. I have the rest of the day for mowing, planting bulbs, picking berries, sorting the garage so I can put our car in, since mornings are going to be frosty any day now. Nuts and bolts come into my mind, from a nostalgic corner of the garage. I am going to move the extra bed out there, to have a place to sleep when we have houseguests or to retreat to when I can’t handle another minute of my mother’s crime-drama TV shows, or worse. Jeopardy.
Amid the householding duties, I write the novel, several hours a day. At this point I spend more time organizing the stuff I’ve already written than coming up with fresh prose. I plagiarize and edit myself. Sometimes I say I have been writing this book for thirty years, but that’s only sort of true. I did get the inspiration for it in the late 70’s. But those thirty years had long gaps, and finished versions, and more time off. This time I have been at it a year and a half. The main story and main characters have not changed, but it is a new book. Many minor characters gone and a few new ones added, with major shifts to some who were staples. Changing names and places. I’ve been struggling with the plot details, especially for the second half. This week, I spent two fun-filled days finding clip art to represent the scene locations in the road trip plot and all of the characters. Having it all laid out, on paper, as images, in order!, is priceless. Finally, the nuts and bolts of this novel are all in one bucket.