by Jackie King
I’ve been a huge Anglophile most of my life. Early in life I fell in love with that country upon discovering Agatha Christie’s delightful mysteries. One of the phrases she often used, and I particularly liked was, “ I’m at sixes and sevens...”
There was never any reason to look up this bit of colloquial vocabulary, because whenever Dame Agatha used the phrase I always knew exactly what the character meant: A state of confusion and disorder.
I’m in such a state of flux right now. Or, may I say, “I’m all sixes and sevens.”
My third Grace Cassidy mystery THE CORPSE AND THE GEEZER BRIGADE, is in the hands of my beta readers. My emotions are raging:
Relief: Yay! I finally have a draft good enough to go out in public all by itself.
Anxiety: What if these avid readers hate my story; are confused by the plot; bored by the dialogue?
Hope: That my novel will amuse and entertain. And also, (perhaps) earn a few royalties to help pay my always rising rent.
Any sensible person would take this time to relax and celebrate. And I’m doing some of that (along with much hand-wringing.) I’m also interviewing other possible characters who traipse through my mind and make smart-aleck remarks. One is an older woman (like me), living in a retirement center with other oldies, except they will be stumbling over a few bodies now and then.
Of course she will have middle-aged children and young-adult grandchildren. One of them will probably be police officer. I may make one a firefighter. This is the part of writing that’s wonderful fun.
Grace Cassidy, my current character, really needs a vacation so she can settle into the new relationship in her life with Sam Harper. And new imaginary friends are as much fun as old ones. I can hardly wait for them to fully develop so I can lead them into murder most foul.
A further complication in my life just now, is that I’m in the process of moving from one independent living facility to another. (A raise in rent threatened my financial comfort zone, so I must move on.) With the help of my youngest daughter, I’ll fold up my (writing) tent and steal away into the night. Probably not quietly, though.
My new pad will be slightly smaller than my present apartment. I’m learning to do what metropolitan dwellers have long done; move needed storage upward. One of my sons-in-law has been volunteered (note the verb tense) to put storage shelves above my desk for the many things I seem to need. (Smart children, acquired both by blood and by marriage, are true gifts from God.)
I didn’t want to move. I have made friends and grown roots where I am. But stuff happens.
The wonderful thing about being a writer is that we can work continually and in all situations. Lying in bed, sitting in a chair, driving—wherever. So I remind myself that all of the hand wringing I tend to do is both optional and unproductive. Perhaps I should give up the hand-wringing? After all, it is optional in a writer's life.
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