A few weeks ago I came to the slightly humorous realization that had I had babies, I probably would have been like Shirley MacLain's character in Terms of Endearment. The opening scene always cracks me up when she goes into her daughter's nursery and shakes the newborn to make sure that she's still breathing. I wasn't so inconsiderate when one of my cats was sick and needed rest. But still, I woke up every fifteen minutes to make sure he was sleeping peacefully.
Forest bounced back quickly, but after a long night of up and down, of worry and wonder, I was a wreck. While I was infinitely thankful that my little fella was fine, I also came to the conclusion that I have a long way to go in terms of letting go of uneasiness when faced with the unknown. For I've found that my life has given me that opportunity again, wrapped in a very familiar package.
I've made the commitment to go on a three-week hiatus from writing. Now that my novel has been released, I've decided to read for pleasure, clean my house from top to bottom, play in the garden, hike and bike and teach yoga. But I'm not going to do any promotional work on the book. I won't search for a new agent. I'll leave the endorsements up to the readers who will write reviews on Amazon.com and Goodreads.
At least until the middle of June.
It's a necessary thing for me to let the baby sleep...not only my literary baby, but the parts of me that have been working steady overtime for months on end. Don't get me wrong...I value every moment of the work. It's just that, as my friend's daughter says, "My brain feels baked," and it's time to let it come out of the oven and cool off for a while.
I don't know what I'm going to do with myself, and that's the truth. I'm a little anxious about letting my latest project rest in the hands of readers without needing to stir the pot. Yet I know that it's in very good hands and will find its way to wherever it needs to be. Many of my friends say it's a timely novel, and what better time to simply trust the process of where I've been that will ultimately lead me onward. So I'm looking forward to taking the first step in a new, yet unknown direction, even if that means taking a step backwards so I can enjoy living life for a while.
It's time for me to recycle, review, relax, and renew during the next several weeks. Time to just let things open as they will, be it a flower in my garden, or a cheerful conversation, or even a book on my nightstand that's been waiting for me while I was writing. I can trust that my baby is resting soundly in the hands of readers wherever they might be. Then, when the time is right, I'll awaken to a new awareness of whatever I need to do next.
In the interim, here's to opening up a familiar gift, but this time with the hopeful anticipation of simply enjoying every moment as it reveals itself along the way.