November: holidays, writing update, and carpal tunnel surgery

Hello friends!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday break with limited family drama and lots of down time. For Thanksgiving, we talked to our kids about what really happened on Thanksgiving and discussed why they learn a white-washed version of the story in school and then we talked about what ‘white-washed’ means. I posted a bunch of links here on Facebook if you want to check them out. I also suggest reading Daniel Quinn’s, Ishmael, to get a feel for how the voice of mother culture repeats narratives that aren’t true. There is a YA version of the book too, called My Ishmael as well.

1 (12).jpeg
1 (13).jpeg

Our friends all ate at their holiday meals at their own places and then came over to ours in the evening for snacks, drinks, dessert, and board games. We played Ticket To Ride – Rails & Sails (the Great Lakes version) and two of the oldest of our group’s kids joined us (and almost won!)

1 (14).jpeg

The very next day while Eric was on the mountain snowboarding (yes, we have snow here and enough to ski and snowboard!) the girls and I put up the winter holiday decorations. I put them up early because the lights help keep me out of the worst of seasonal depression. You gotta do what you gotta do. It’s basically hygge and if you haven’t heard of hygge I suggest you google it right away!

1 (15).jpeg

I also did it because this coming Monday, 12/3, I’m having carpal tunnel surgery on my right wrist. I’ve been treating it with steroid shots every six months for the past two years because I really wanted to finish the Rebel Heart manuscript before I was out of commission on typing for a bit. The surgery, however, is the best long term option for someone who writes for a living and is physically active too (I miss doing push-ups and knuckle push-ups hurt!)

Day 2, hour 8 of editing.   : pours more coffee and gets to work :

Day 2, hour 8 of editing. : pours more coffee and gets to work :

So the manuscript, where am I on that you ask?

I’m almost done with the current rounds of edits from my agent. I needed to do a complete read through and I’ve done that with part 1 and part 2 of the manuscript. I spent six hours on Saturday and six hours on Sunday at the local co-working space to accomplish that. Tonight and tomorrow I’ll go in the evening for about three hours each night to finish the read through and required edits on part 3 and then I’ll send it back to the agent. 

It will be perfect timing as far as the carpal tunnel surgery goes because when the agent gets the manuscript back from me, she’ll be doing her own line-by-line read through, and that will take time. So I’ll rest and heal my wrist while she does her reviewing magic.

But when is the book coming out? We’ll submit after the first of the year though because pretty soon the whole publishing world will be on vacation or otherwise busy for the upcoming holiday season. Trust me, I’m gonna keep you posted! Publishing a book takes time and the supporters of authors are the most loyal and patient fans there are because of this. Thank you for patience, your support, and joining me on this journey together!

All the best,

Charlotte


More on Instagram

Working on a Deadline and Harry Potter's Cat

[Image: working on the Rebel Heart manuscript at a local co-working space in Mammoth Lakes.]

[Image: working on the Rebel Heart manuscript at a local co-working space in Mammoth Lakes.]

Hey all!

If you follow me on social media you probably saw that I’m taking a break to finish the edits on the Rebel Heart manuscript.

I was supposed to have finished these the week I was in Los Angeles and San Diego but instead I wrote my heart out and ended up with over 4,000 words of another #MeToo piece. I was too exhausted after writing about past trauma and how it still affects and even informs my parenting today to tackle the edits then so I’ve set myself a new deadline. Wednesday is my goal but I’m allowing myself the grace of Friday as a final cut off.

Working on a deadline when you also have a full time job and you have a husband and two kids is not easy. 

In his book the War of Art, Steven Pressfield says, ‘the aspiring artist must be ruthless.’ I think about that word a lot. Ruthlessness. Ruthlessness in order to make art. Art you want to be published that is. Working on a deadline means not seeing your family much. It means the moment your kids are home from school and you finish your day job, you pack up your computer and go to the local co-working space and open your computer and start using your brain differently. 

It’s hard for me to switch between a day job doing technical writing and software engineering support to one where I’m editing a memoir about meeting and falling in love with my husband, sailing on the sea pregnant and with kids, an ocean rescue, crazy family members, and all the fallout that happened after. I’ve found when I have to switch between worlds like this that I often sit down with the Rebel Heart book and pretend it’s someone else’s book. If I don’t, I get too emotionally invested and it’s hard to switch back to day-to-day reality. (This is also why I like to go away to write, so I don’t have to keep flipping between words.)

But I’m working on a deadline. So I have to be ruthless. Ruthless means telling your friend you can’t celebrate her birthday for another 10 days because you are writing on a self-imposed deadline and then your husband is out town after that. It’s hoping she understands.

It’s telling a lot of people no. It’s no, no, no. No to activities and opportunities because you are saying yes to your deadline.

-----

I did say yes to a pre-scheduled Halloween party last night at our house. I was so tempted to cancel it. Not because I don’t love my friends and family but because I was deep in part two of the manuscript, when then parajumpers had just arrived on the boat and in the midst of trying to care for our sick daughter they all got horribly seasick. Then my alarm rang to tell me I had to flip modes. It was time to go home and make a wintery bacon cheddar chowder soup and dress up as Harry Potter’s mother and be in mom and Halloween mode and I almost cried Uncle. It’s hard to walk between two worlds, the creative writer and the caring mother. 

I did it though. I made the soup with the soundtrack I listen to while I’m writing playing in my head and five minutes before guests arrived my husband, Eric, got a Search and Rescue (SAR) call out and he had to be ruthless too because helping people in tough situations is his calling, like writing is mine. So he left the party before it started and headed out into a cold night to find someone in trouble. He said no to the party and yes to SAR and I supported him entirely.

Our guests arrived thereafter. Here you can see my oldest as Harry Potter, our friend’s daughter as a veterinarian, and my youngest as Harry Potter’s cat :)

1 (2).jpeg

Eric didn’t roll in until 5:00am this morning so I handled the morning routine. Now it’s time to check in with my day job and the moment I can, I’ll pack up my bags and head to the co-working space to work into the evening hours on this deadline because the aspiring artist must be ruthless.

Here’s hoping my brain can handle it all.

What are you being ruthless about? What are you saying yes to? What are you saying no to?

All the best,

Charlotte


More on Instagram

Angry Heart and a Chest Cold

No makeup, poor lighting, chest cold – selfie.

No makeup, poor lighting, chest cold – selfie.

Hello friends,

Has anyone else been cycling through despondency and anger with the circus of the Kavanaugh hearings so fresh in our hearts and minds? Because I have. I don’t have many words of comfort nowadays. What I do have is an awakened sense of urgency. To speak out, speak up. To not be quiet or let moments of correction slip by because it would be more comfortable and easier to say nothing.

So I write, and I fight, and I keep going. Even with this chest cold, I’m writing. I’m submitting the long #MeToo piece I wrote in Los Angeles, the one about raising daughters in the #MeToo era for publication. I’ll keep you posted. I’m writing another piece about how sexual abuse and sexual assault has far reaching effects and results in lifelong trauma. Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to express all the thoughts and words in my head.

Through it all, I work on (and am almost done) with my round of edits for the Rebel Heart book. 

Back to my first sentence, if you find yourself like me, circling between despondency and anger, I recommend following Margo Stebbing and Isabel Abbott on Patreon. I find their words and works sustaining. 

Stay strong,

Charlotte


More on Instagram