Cannot tear the day to shreds
-- Peter Gabriel, Rhythm of the Heat
Time. I hate it and I need it. Time disappears like the coolness of the morning in high summer. I. Have. No. Time.
Sometimes I wonder how I got to this point. Did I choose this life? Did I stumble into it? I’ve become desperate for simplicity. I want to smash the watch, smash the computer, smash the system that grinds us down. That makes us work so hard just to get by.
I think my idea of Heaven, the Elysian Fields, Nirvana, whatever you want to call it, would be a magic land where I can be productive at my own pace. In this land, I would work hard, because hard work is satisfying. But I’d have plenty of time to wander among the trees, to watch small fish swim in shallow water, to sit in a city park while life wanders by in all its diversity. Time to spend hours gabbing pointlessly with dear, funny friends.
We’re here for such a short time. We should have as good a time as we possibly can. I’m a lucky person, too, the type that easily finds beauty and humor in the world around me. If I only had the time.
I’m working on The Vengeance Season: Book III of the Covalent Series, slated for release this autumn. I’ll get it done, but it’s rough. My day job is relentless, an absurd volume of work that must be performed quickly but thoroughly. I have so much to do that I need to be speedy if I don’t want to be stuck in that office for twelve hours a day. I’m there for at least ten as it is. To make matters worse, if I overlook a pertinent detail in my haste? Oh, there is hell to pay.
Forget working on my fiction when I come home at night. I’m spent! So, I’ve opted to relax on weeknights. Watch great TV shows like Fargo on FX or The Leftovers on HBO. Read great books like All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Sure, it eases my stress, by I also consider it research. I can learn from these great narratives.
That leaves early mornings and weekends for The Vengeance Season. I worry that my creative font will dry up because I never have a work-free weekend. To be sure, writing the Covalent Series is great fun, but I need some mindless entertainment, the kind that doesn’t make demands upon my brain. I need to get out in nature. Spend time with my husband.
At the risk of sounding like an extremely eccentric author, my characters help with my rushed state of existence lately. The Covalent Series has a lot of action and suspense, but it’s a love story at its heart. Barakiel is an ancient, immortal being whose kind sits at the still center of everything that exists. Time won’t claim him, but it will claim Zan, his human lover. Deep in their bones, they know they can’t waste a moment. They will meet their responsibilities and do their duty, but they will savor their time together as the best thing in life.
Writing about these two has taught me I must be mindful. I might not have much time right now, but when I have some, I need to willfully slow down. Pay attention. Not let it pass in a haze of thinking about other things. I will notice the quality of the light, the breeze on my face, the birds twittering on the telephone wires. When I have time, I’ll be happy.