Tuesday, September 6, 2011


If we change one letter, writing becomes waiting. Writing does become waiting, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s what freelancers strive to avoid. You finish one piece, log it, send it out, and start another; or you finish the one and immediately rework it for other markets.

You don’t stay on Facebook all day hoping someone will “Like” the tiniest thing you write. You definitely don’t click the “Send/Receive” button on your e-mail service every few seconds in case that message you want is on its way. You keep busy. You keep writing. It’s the hardest thing.

I’m in a major waiting period right now. My book will be out by the end of this month--very exciting, but still weeks away. My brother and I have a manuscript out to readers, but the deadline for feedback isn’t until October. Last week I wrote a new story and submitted it to an anthology, but I haven’t heard anything yet.
I should have a perfect house; there’s no excuse. This would be a great time to clean every surface and discard or donate older items to get rid of the clutter. I did clean my office a few weeks ago, and my brother and I recently uncluttered my garage, but I don’t spend my days with a bucket of Murphy’s Oil or Mr. Clean. Deep cleaning must be for the desperate; that’s all I can figure, and I must not be there yet.
A fallow period does allow one to plan. With events scheduled from late September through mid-November, I’ve already made some notes, had my clothes pressed, and scheduled my initial beauty appointments.
The first event is a book signing at the college where I graduated--45 years ago. Even though the current student population was not born when I was there, I’ve timed my appointments for that event. Current needs had nothing to do with it. If you’ve ever postponed a grooming appointment past your usual point of panic, you will understand how I feel slowly sliding down the slope of “Before.”
Once when I was in my twenties, my grandmother came to visit. One morning I told her I had an eye appointment in a few hours and invited her to go along. She was dressed and ready, complete with jewelry, an hour before we needed to leave. There was nothing to be gained from going early, yet we did; it was that or sit and stare at each other at home. Grandmama probably was the best-dressed person in town as we walked up and down the little strip mall where the eye doctor’s office was located, looking in windows. This is a little bit like that.
It seems the best response to down time is to get busy at what we do best. After all, if we change one letter, waiting becomes writing.


  1. This post was very interesting. I am a student at Concord University and just saw that you will be doing a book signing for homecoming and I look forward to attending. I love memoirs and yours looks very interesting!

  2. Jay, thanks so much for writing! I'm excited to be coming to Concord, especially at Homecoming. I'll be participating in the university's Career Symposium Friday morning, and then the signing is at 2:30. Introduce yourself; I would love to meet you.