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Of Cats and KingsJanuary 18, 2010

Oooh, hi. I missed you. I really did. I've been missing you and unable to get to the blog, and getting here and typing feels like a relief.

Ahhh. Let's take a moment. Pull up a chair. Have a cup of coffee. Listen to those angry baby birds outside. I hope to God they're not pigeons in the roof eaves (I think we got rid of those, but damn, they're stubborn). (Isn't eaves a nice word? I love that word.)

Fair warning: I'm rambly today. Know why?

I finished my editor's revisions yesterday on Book Two! WOOOOOOT!

This is exciting. I've been working my ass off, seriously, I might have mentioned that. I've been lucky enough to have been able to take some time off this last month from the J.O.B. to work on the revisions, but I've still been working 12 hour shifts, and then, on my days off, I work 9 to 11 hours on revising. Without a break. Every day. It's a blessing and a curse, being a dispatcher, trained to work so long without taking breaks -- I'm used to Just Working.

But yesterday, can we talk about yesterday for a moment? You know that state of flow people talk about? The elusive zone? I think it's right up there with the runner's high. Sure, when I was running regularly, running used to make me feel pretty darn good, but I was always wondering, is this the high? Is this it? Then, one day, when training for the marathon, I think I was at mile thirteen, and I hit it. All the endorphins flooded my brain, and it was one of the best feelings I've ever had. I had it, and I knew it. I could have run forever, and it lasted a good three miles. I was floating, dancing, ephemeral. It was AWESOME. (Then of course, the pain hit. Oh, God.)

Yesterday, I hit the zone. I woke up early, knowing I'd finish the book. The ending, which I still had to write, was completely new, and totally drama-filled (we're talking death-defying plunges and will-she-make-it moments). I sat at my desk and lost myself for nine hours. Usually, when I work nine hours, I'm COMPLETELY CONSCIOUS of it. I can look up at say, HEY! I've worked four hours and thirty-two minutes, go me. Yesterday, there was no me. There was just the story.

I've been reading this awesome book, The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, and she talks about the fog of happiness, and how it translates to both parenting and writing. Now, I wouldn't know about the first, and the book is far away in a room where one person and three dogs are sleeping, so forgive the paraphrasing, but she says that the fog of happiness is very real. Parenting, as a whole, is full of things that aren't very fun. Lots of things that no one enjoys. So is writing. Sure, we love (or some of us do), the networking, and the thinking about writing, and the reading about writing, but there are few of us who really enjoy the getting in there and getting it done. Sitting at the desk, day after day after bloody day and writing. More writing. And then more. And yet, when we look back at it, when we think about it (and this is what she says about parenting, too), they're some of our richest, happiest feelings. They're surrounded by a fog of happiness, even if a lot of the time the kid is a punk and you can't write your way out of a paper bag*. 

But not yesterday. Yesterday was bliss. Honestly. Right down to where I wrote The End and brought out my old Epilogue and found out that it fit, exactly, every word, as if what I'd written had been directed this way, the whole time (and it had been, I know it).

Now, just some clean up to do, and some critique partners' eyes going over it, and then, after they look at it, some more clean up, and it'll go back out to my editor. I'm proud of this.

And the first book is SO close now, isn't it? T-minus 5 weeks! Would you like an excerpt later this week? I have one all queued up to give you (one you've never seen -- I think you'll like it. It's yarny). 

And on a totally different subject: I have to tell you this. We girls met my dad's girlfriend this weekend. Lola. (Lala and Lola! Ha!) And we were nervous, but we had the Let's Get this Over With mentality and Have a Nice Dinner attitude. They drove up from down south, and we met them at the restaurant.

She. Was. A. Doll. I'm so happy for my dad. She reminded me of me, in the way that I can run at the mouth (in a good way!) when I'm nervous and say anything that comes to mind, and in that she has a strong, loving personality and huge laugh (we were a boisterous table, so much so that a woman came over and asked my father how he'd been so lucky to end up with all these women). They've been together a while now, and already have stories, and I really liked hearing the way they told them together. Then at the end, Lola said something that absolutely endeared her to me (not that she hadn't already) -- she confessed that she'd been SO nervous before coming that she'd asked my dad to duct tape her feet so that she wouldn't stick them in her mouth. For some reason, I'd only thought about us, the kids, being nervous. It hadn't occurred to me that she, the ostensible Adult (hello, I'm 37!) would be nervous, too, and duh! She was meeting FOUR of us, and we were only meeting one of her! She was so brave!

And she reads my blog, so hi, Lola! And hi to your work partners, and I'm so glad I got to meet you. Keep my dad in line, okay? Don't let him blow anything up, please. Thanks.

Geez. I TOLD you I was long-winded. It's POURING out there, and the cats are running all over the furniture in their regular early morning aerobic session (DAMN, I MISSED YOGA -- whoops) and I guess, since I'm not going to yoga, I'll just work on cleaning up the manuscript some more. 

* Bethany reminded us at dinner that Dad used to silkscreen her paper lunch sacks with Joe's Mortuary and Meat House. Heh.


Wow! that's a whole lotta happy! Excellent.

oh, girlie, it sounds like the wonderfulness is just flowing all around you! And you soooo deserve it. May it all just keep getting better and better.

Woot! Congratulations on a finished draft!!!

Looking forward to the excerpt!

Congrats! And those lunchbags sound so cool, and would also make a neat t-shirt!

I burst out laughing when I read about the "Joe's Mortuary and Meathouse". I shared that story with my co-workers.

Hooray on all counts!

My dad used to answer the phone with "Joe's Mortuary and Meat House, you whack 'em, we stack 'em!" sometimes. It mortified me as a child.

Look at us Carol people! Don't you feel good getting book 2 to birthing point before the first one hits the stores, I would feel relief about that, just me projecting. My goal is to get my Nano typed by end of Friday so I can START re-writes.

So happy for you, especially about Lola.

love (100). That is all.

What a great post today. My husband is nearing the completion of his second book, and this morning (at 4:30) was one of his "fogs of happiness."
Can't wait to read yours!

I have that same fog about my doctoral program. Pure suffering for seven years, but they were the best seven years of my life.

You sound so very happy :) Love it.

Happy to hear your dad has found someone you all approve of ;) VERY important and so wonderful he is getting back out there LIVING..


Parenting is all wonder, all the time. Awe and wonder! (how can a child be so miserably awful, and yet we still love the creature? A wonder, I tell you!) (Exaggeration for effect applied.)

So happy for your Dad and all the family!

And you and The Book of course.

No rain here in the north of NZ, drought and an endless summer. But I've seen rain in Calironia on TV. Amazing.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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