For several years now, I’ve considered October to be my creative new year, the time when I assess where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I hope to go. The past few months have definitely brought this kind of thought process to the fore.
In July, I turned 50. I’m proud of the many things that I’ve accomplished, but there’s a LOT I still hope to do. As a woman, it’s also a strange time physically, sort of like puberty in reverse! I feel older, wiser, and more able to clear the clutter from my life…at the same time aware of all that needs to happen to do the work I still want to do.
In August, my kids went back to in-person school in the midst of a resurgence of the pandemic in our especially hard-hit state. One kid is old enough to be vaccinated, but the other isn’t. Talk about the anxiety of mortality. Yet both schools have strict safety protocols, and my kids are reasonably self-preserving, so I’m managing my fears….
…until Hurricane Ida hit on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. We (2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 hamster) evacuated to a nice spot in Mississippi for a week, where we tried to relax and work and not check the news every 10 minutes. Oh, and celebrate my son’s 16th birthday (he was born 5 days after Katrina…a story for another time).
When we returned to New Orleans, our house & neighborhood had minimal damage, though our neighbors who stayed suffered through a week without power during extremely hot weather. The cleanup is ongoing, especially for parishes outside of New Orleans that were hit the hardest. They’ll need help for a long time, so here’s a list of local charities accepting donations.
Life is going back to normal, whatever that means. I’m renting a cute office (my husband works from home, where the walls are thin) which feels a little cart-before-the-horse…isn’t this what successful authors with several published books do? But it saves my sanity in several ways and helps out a neighbor, so I’ll presume that the horse will get in front of that cart eventually.
In the meantime, I’ve shelved a couple of not-working projects and am plugging away at a new one (sort of a Salem’s Lot in Wisconsin) with plans to resume another new one (Shirley Jackson in New Orleans) by the end of October. I’m hoping to resume hanging out with my writing friends, either in person or on Zoom, and get back to building community. Oh and also I hope to finally see one of these manuscripts out in the world.
And that’s where I am. My goal is to share more frequently here; I am more active on Instagram & Facebook if y’all want to see where my head’s at day to day (well, more like week to week) or to connect. In the meantime, happy October, and may the forthcoming year bring you all good things.