Today is Thursday, right?

Yeah, I was afraid of that. I promised to send this blog entry about a typical day in my writing life and I promised that I’d send it by today.

Well, it’s 7:00 p.m. and I haven’t written it yet, much less sent it, and that’s because I’m in a hotel room in Americus, Georgia, rather than at my happily cluttered desk back home in Alabama.

And that’s because this week has been ANYTHING BUT typical. Two days ago I got a call that my grandmother, an inspiring woman in her eighties, had passed away – not understanding, of course, that I’m currently writing under a tight deadline and that now was not really a good time for me. My grandma Hazel did really love me and was proud of my writing, so I feel sure she’d have scheduled her funeral for a more convenient time, if she could have.

But as I’m here, sharing memories of my grandma’s long and happy life with a sundry assortment of aunts, uncles, and cousins, while also hanging up my clothes in the tiny hotel closet and trying to find the nearest iron and ice machine… the thought does occur to me that maybe this is, after all, a pretty typical day in my writing life. It only seems like it isn’t because, thankfully, funerals don’t occur all that often.

But interruptions, hindrances, unexpected delays … those things are the stuff of my daily life.

I haven’t yet reached the point in my writing career where my name is a household word. Nora Roberts hasn’t much to fear from me – not yet, anyway. I still have a full-time teaching career and a busy life as a Methodist preacher’s wife, so you’d think I’d be getting used to the unexpected and unforeseen by now.

And maybe I am. Because thinking back to the five completed manuscripts (two of which I’ve sold) and the sixth one, now underway, I realize that each one of them was written in tiny pieces of time sandwiched in between all the more important stuff that makes up life. Just like now, I fought constant distraction to find a few quiet moments to sit down and let the daydreams roll.

Just like now, I wondered if the daydream caught on paper was coherent enough to make sense to a reader someday. And if it didn’t quite, in places, I had to find yet more time to make it work out better.

Everybody who’s ever tried to create probably has had to do so amidst this amazing contradiction – life gets in the way of our art, but we need life to create the art. We need our relationships with their inherent joy and anguish. We need the busy days and the quiet moments. We need both happy memories and  painful grief. These things are the fuel on which we thrive and we cannot possibly write truthfully about life until we have lived and experienced it.

So maybe someday, I’ll try to put this wonderful feeling of connectedness with my large and talkative family down on paper. Maybe my heroine can be standing stocking-footed in her hotel room listening to her sister’s latest tale of potty-training woes while digging in her suitcase for the toothbrush that probably got left behind at home…

Or maybe not.

But anyway, I got the blog entry written and sent on its way while reminding myself of something important: Living well IS a creative act, and an art unto itself.

Thanks, Grandma, for that one last gift.

Lyn Randal’s Web Site

The Reviews are in:

Tempted by Innocence


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