On the rare occasions when I venture out to speak publicly about my writing, I am always asked: “How do you find the time to write?” I always answer politely, but it seems the most inane question in the world. If you want, or need, to do something, the time is always there. Period.
What complicates a writer’s life is all the other stuff you have to cram alongside into it: Family, friends, gainful employment, eating, sleeping… And sometimes it seems as if there is no time for the novel or even a journal entry. But there is. It’s just that one of those other things has to go. Usually, sleeping…
Now that my trip to the Connecticut seashore is over, I find, to my dismay, that my plans for an idyllic summer have been completely upended, due to a change in my employment status. Though my books always manage to rake in plenty of review stars, I can’t live off my royalties just yet. I’m making a lateral move in the field of retail education, and will now be teaching English to adults instead of children. Not sure how I feel about this: I loved my kids, but frankly, the learning center job had become less about English, and more like day care duty: taping band-aids to picked-over scabs, wiping noses, shushing the constant chatterboxes, breaking up fights…and let’s not talk about the not-quite-toilet-trained four-year-old. Plus, a crushing load of paperwork: workbook corrections, progress charts, checklists, attendance charts, all with deadlines. I had sixty-four students, and I felt that the center directors, however kind they were to me, were exploiting me. I was coming home completely exhausted, too tired to write! And we can’t have that, so I had begun looking around. And a new opportunity came along much more quickly than I thought it might.
So it looks like the new opportunity will be dominating the rest of my summer, though I will be returning to part-time status—or so I’m promised—in the fall, just in time to bring out the new book. And start the next, maybe…I’m being encouraged to write a Merton book, even though personally, I think there may be enough books about him out there. We’ll see.
But there will be a novel. It’s done! Well, the first draft, anyway. The novel I began at Gethsemani Abbey library was completed in a little beach house in Old Lyme, Connecticut—at a big table in the middle of the house, while members of my extended family—my mother, my father, my brothers (my sisters had already left), nephews and niece came and went and monitored my progress with amusement. I told you I could write anywhere!
“Is it done yet, Aunt Kathy?” That was my nephew Jack, taking a break from a crabbing tournament. And I was happy to tell him, finally, yes.