I’m back…and nothing’s changed! Well, almost nothing…

So, The Persistent Writer returns, after a two-month hiatus. Trust me, I needed that break, to help myself get my personal priorities in order.  Although I was all set to completely revamp this site, maybe add some flashy graphics or a new concentration on Social Relevance, in the end I decided to follow that old chestnut of a cliché: To thy own self be true. The more I thought about it, the more resistant I felt to making this space resemble in any way a ‘marketing’ or ‘branding’ site for my books. Because we don’t have enough of those?!!! The crisis in self-publishing seems to be reaching its boiling point this summer, and it seems only a matter of months before Amazon steps in and starts gate-keeping, and sorting out the chaff; I don’t think pushing yourself on the reading public, no matter what your talent or ability is, is going to help.  I just want to connect with my readers in the simplest way possible. I’d rather do it face-to-face, but that seems to have gone out of style, along with snail-mail letters, as everyone hides timidly behind keyboards and computer screens. Well, onward…

Work-wise, I seem to be pretty much where I was when I left off in late May, though I have more language students now, and less time to write. The biography is chugging along, I’m enjoying the work of it immensely, the research and the writing, but publishers are still largely ignoring my book proposals. I’m almost convinced now that publishers do not actually read query letters and book proposals anymore; they say they do, on their websites, but in reality, they dump everything into their trash—both real and virtual—as soon as it arrives. Which explains the dumbfoundedness I encounter six weeks or so later, when I ask for an update on my query. And let me tell you this, Catholic publishers—who should be the most compassionate and mindful of all publishers—are the WORST! I don’t know how decent Catholic work actually gets published anymore, but frankly, there’s not so much of that around when you come right down to it.

But I don’t want this blog to devolve into a rant against the Establishment, so here’s a hint to future posts. My husband and I are working on a project of our own, which is, simply, The Rest of Our Lives. We want to make what remains of our lives meaningful, but also satisfying, which basically means, no longer taking on work and jobs we don’t want to do just to pay the mortgage and bills. It will mean, ultimately, moving in with Lady Poverty—a close, but annoying, companion most of our lives—but we’re Franciscans at heart, so we’ll make it work. As long as I can continue to write, and Frank can pursue his art and history and other  projects, we can be content. The first, and most onerous step is dealing with the shelter issue, so we are slowly, gradually, grudgingly preparing our big old suburban house for sale. Not until next year, though; it’s something, for emotional reasons, we can’t rush into. We’ve been here for a quarter of a century, so it’s no easy task. We do love it here, despite that capriciously cruel river across the street that keeps wanting to find its way into our basement. But the house is the single thing that keeps us living above our means, so it has to go. And it’s a little scary, not knowing precisely where to go next. But we have plenty of options; and maybe my next book will be The Persistent Writer’s Guide to Downsizing.  But more on this next time.

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