Earth to Cindy

Calling Cindy...

My family was hopeful that after the launch of my debut novel, things would return to normal.  And ideally, I would have dropped everything and gone back to matching socks, if only my novel-in-progress had not been weighing on me like a term paper for a class I’d stopped attending.  Since I was already short-listed for Space Cadet of The Year, and considering how little time remained before summer, it hardly seemed worthwhile to switch gears.  If I could just take the momentum from my book launch and apply it to finishing next novel, I could be present for an earthling summer and sort socks in time for camp.  Unfortunately, over the previous year I’d only demonstrated ability to focus on next novel while in solitary confinement, at least 450 miles from home.  Sacrifices would be required to replicate the intensity.  Earth would have to go.  

I printed the existing draft and read it aloud, plunging deep into the world of my characters, maintaining an iron grip on the narrative line while my grasp of reality flirted with black holes.  I solved literary problems while driving the car, but my passengers rolled their eyes as I passed destinations, again and again.  I rallied for the dinner hour, but was no good for conversation, and relied on the puppy for homework patrol.  At the very moment it seemed our household chaos could not possibly get worse, oldest son arrived home for the summer and unloaded a year’s worth of dorm life just inside the back door.  He left a narrow path to the kitchen but that hardly mattered for obvious reasons.

For the record, I entered a grocery store during all this, but the minute I tossed the first item into my cart, a distressed text message originating from afterschool sports screamed:  WHERE R U??  I had to ditch.      

Yes, I managed to finish the novel, but for the first time in my life, I truly understand my late grandfather.  I laughed at the absent-minded professor stories, but now I know why he backed out of the garage before opening the garage door and why he sometimes wore his pyjama bottoms to work.  And I’m with him on driving to the university and taking the bus home.  At the most distracted point of this episode, I hauled three teenagers out of bed for a very early morning obligation at church and then had to explain to them, and the assembly of church people whose morning I disrupted, that I was operating in a different week of the month.  If they had flipped their calendars ahead one week they would have understood exactly where I was coming from, or where I was at that moment.  Someday it will seem funny.    

And then I reached the end.  I pressed send, launching new novel through cyberspace and into my agent’s orbit.  After a brief personal celebration, I reorganized The Sock Department of our Laundry Room, patronized three grocery stores, and relieved the puppy of command.  At one point a teenager grumbled, “don’t you have a book to write?”  It’s nice to be back.   




Filed under Agent, Cindy Jones, hazards of writing, launching things, teenagers

9 responses to “Earth to Cindy

  1. Karen Field

    As an adult with ADHD I live in this world you’ve described most of the time. I also managed to raise 3 children with ADHD to become successful adults so don’t despair! I’m living your dream vicariously through your posts. But I think I’ll just stick to the enjoying others’ products and my TBR pile, which your book is in and I’ll read right after I read Mansfield Park again. Or, maybe I’ll switch that order? Either way it’ll be soon. Do you suggest reading one instead of the other first?

    • Hi Karen,
      If you remember Mansfield Park at all from your first reading then I don’t think it matters which you read first. I’m thrilled that my book inspires anyone to read or re-read MP. And thank you for the encouragement! You *know*!!

  2. Deb

    What a delightful blog! Hope your recently launched book is selling well and hope your next one, in progress, is going well for you. I’m delighted for you.

  3. Cindy, I’ve been there! Your scenario is all too familiar. When I’m writing a book, especially in the last-ditch-polish-stage, I have to leave notes all over the house to remind myself to do the most mundane things.

    We are only human. It’s so difficult to co-exist in both real and imaginary worlds simultaneously. Please remember that Jane Austen never married or had children! I wonder how many books (if any) she would have published if she had!

    • Hi Syrie!
      I must confess that I am happy when I have both worlds going at the same time. I hadn’t thought of putting notes around the house–THANKS for that tip!

  4. Unfortunately, I do most of my character/story problem solving at night in bed in the dark…when I should be sleeping. I am an insomniac anyway, but it was worse when I was working on books than at any other time. Fortunately, I also don’t need a lot of sleep, but jeez, it would be nice to be able to turn the brain off when I wanted to, at least some of the time!

    • Oh, Carey! I’m so sorry. Insomnia is such a curse! It makes me tired just to think about you awake all night solving your characters’ problems–or creating their problems. Zzzzz…

  5. Pingback: Report from The Scone Tour | Austen Authors

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