Wednesday, August 20, 2014

72: Cabbages and Kings!

I’m taking this moment to think about myself. What would I look like in my perfect life? Like the real, reality of what I want/dream of. This may change. It often has. It will again. When I was a teenager, I saw myself in a zoo taking care of animals, wearing khakis, being a vegetarian (hahah!). Now it’s different. Please, come into my home, it is 7am and my alarm has just gone off.
I wake up and hit the off button because I always get up when my alarm tells me to. I know I have to use every hour of every day. I stretch and smell the fresh air coming off the Montana mountains. I left my window open again. It’s September but it still gets cool in the evenings. I find that my studio cools just fine if I can cut off the AC during the night.

My studio is wide and open. Huge windows let me look over the small town and the wilderness beyond that was my first love. In the distance, I can see the road I take to get to the reservation where I teach adult classes on the weekends. I love my students though it’s a challenge and I have to watch what I say.
Putting on my slippers to protect my feet from the cold stone floor, I check my phone and see I have a missed text from that one guy who wants to “hang out”. I smile and make a mental note to reply later. He can wait.
In the kitchen, which of course has no walls and is really just a jaunt away from my bed, I flip on my Goodwill coffee maker and the radio to get some news and music from the 60s to the 80s. I grab a bag of fruit out of the fridge that I had cut up the night before and place it next to a bowl. I decide weather I want yogurt or bran cereal.
After pouring some cereal to have with my fruit, I check on my kids in the other room. Spike, my large mutt is just blinking into the light when I open the door to the only bedroom in the loft. Across from his crate, Augustine and Benedict, my ferrets, are still snoozing in their hammock. I call Spike out and rub his ears as he does a terrific downward facing dog. He’s reminding me to not forget my morning yoga.
I chat Spike’s ears off as I listen to Journey and the news and do my own meager dishes. I can’t stand a messy kitchen. By this time, it’s a quarter till 8am and I need to start my day. I stand for a few minutes in the middle of my loft—my ritual “What the hell am I supposed to be doing?” moment.
Deciding it’s still early enough, I quickly change into my black and neon workout clothes and grab Spike’s leash. I stretch a little, do some jumping jacks to warm up and then head out to jog and walk in the town and the bits of the woods I can get to in 30 minutes. Spike loves a good run, but sometimes he’s too fast for me. I have to pull him back, chastise him, and then walk to remind him he must go as fast or as slow as I do. I accidently run through a mud puddle.
Back in the loft, it’s just after 8:30am when I pull out my yoga mat and turn on some soothing music. I stretch, waking up my mind after the run and breathing deep into my brain to get it ready for what’s next. I do some weights, because I feel the need just now. Just a few reps of some ten pounders or so.
I slow down my heart and grab a bottle of water then clean up from the jog. I change into my Writer’s Clothes (no doubt baggy harem pants and a camisole) and grab anther cup of coffee and make sure I have a Red Bull in the fridge. Spike yawns and makes him way to his giant pillow bed. He has a tug toy and knows he can play with it and usually makes all the noise he wants, but to day he is being polite.
At 9:15, I go to My Space. This is the western corner of my loft where the sun cannot hit my computer screen until it is time to call it quits. I have an old wooden desk that I probably picked up out of someone’s curb trash. I have a nice chair with a back that I did spend money on. My computer is nice (Alienware for night gaming) and I have walls lines with bookshelves that start at this point of my room. This is the heart. Everything branches out from here. Under me is a giant, multicolored shag carpet that I squinch my toes in when I get to a good plot point. My desk and shelves are covered in dragons, wizards, fairies, rocket ships, Star Trek gadgets, unicorns, and Alien figurines. I also have an incense burner and more watts worth of candles than I do electric lights.
This is my space.

On the walls I also have maps of the lands I created and lists of characters. With these are pictures of my family, my kids, and maps of my beautiful Montana.
When I log on, I check my emails, reply to a self-publishing author I am editing for and check on my other free-lance jobs. It was hard starting out, but once I had a bulk of work done, it was easier to get hired. Plus, getting one stand along novel published and the first in a series didn’t hurt either. I also teach. I work a lot, like I always have, but I’d have it no other way. I like doing more than one thing.
I edit some web pages for clients, write an article for a fitness e-zine that I work for, and then apply for a few more free-lance jobs. After that, I go over the next weekend’s worth of lectures and classes for my adult class on the reservation. It’s a special class for adults who never learned to read or write very well. I do a lot of creative writing and novel reading in the class, but it is teaching them. Even if it is a little less academic than normal teachers. I grade the essays from last weekend and smile at some of the progress and sigh at the lack from others.
Then I get an email from my own editor talking about changes that need to be made to my second book. Some of them really grind my gears and I go back to my manuscript to read the bit mentioned. At first, I don’t like it. But the more I read her ideas, the more I realize it’s for the best. I make a note to edit my own work and reply to her that I’d give it a shot.
By this time it’s almost 11:30am and I need to move my legs. I get up and stretch, play some tug with Spike and get tea. I also feed and water Benedict and Augustine and let them out to play in their room. I shut the door so Spike doesn’t bother them. They have a cat toward and I think he gets jealous sometimes.
Now I sit down to make my own words. I open a short story first that needs to be a finished first draft and bang out some ideas, scenes, and a finishing act. I wonder for a moment why I only use the Steampunk genre when I don’t care how I write but they end up being some of my favorites. At this point, I’ve only published 2 of this genre, but I still like writing them. I shrug and think about my main character with the crazy name and her religious fanatic sidekick.
Deciding it’s all good for now, I close it out and work on my novel. As I’m writing about magic and knights, I remember a professor I had who loved nonfiction. I had two professors who loved nonfiction. I still talk to them sometimes because they believe in my writing and that’s encouraging often. I’m distracted. Dragons. He’s going to find out that his arch nemeses from child hood is the man who’s been helping him all along. Nether of them know that though. Hahah, I smile, sorry boys, shocker!
Next thing I know, Spike is whining at the door and it’s almost 1:30pm! I realize my shoulders and back and cramped! I run to the door, slip on my shoes and take Spike for a short walk as I’m starving at this point. He does his business and I head back to eat. I contemplate the meager food in my fridge and remind myself it’s for my better mental health that I chose this job. I make a sandwich with no mustard as I’m out and my next royalties check isn’t do for a few more days.
I see I have an email from a dance client asking me to do a show Friday night. I reply that of course I would and go into the bedroom that is also the workout room. I move the ferrets’s tower aside because they are snug in their hammock again and get out my dance stuff. I run through some new stuff I’d been practicing but mostly polish up old stuff. I only do that for about 40 minutes and then take ten minutes to wipe the sweat away with some WetWipes. Showers are for the evening. I live along and can do what I want.
Now it’s just after 3pm and I have to write up those changes my editor wanted. After that, I look around for more teaching jobs just in case. I want to move up to teaching more, but don’t know if it will happen. I’m always looking. But the mail brings a surprise! My check from the reservation has come and I can go shopping.
The town is small so I ride my motorcycle to the store to get groceries and check out the used bookstore. Margaret Mallory’s Highland heroes stare at me from one dusty corner and I finally cave and buy the first two. Sticking romance next to my weeks supply of wine and food in my plastic saddlebags, I motor home after stopping by the local coffee store to say hello to the few people I know. We make plans for hanging out after my show on Friday and one of them asks me if I can recommend books for her son to read. I blabbed out a great list.
Once home, it’s close enough to dinnertime that I start the veggies and slow cook the chicken that I bought. Spike morns beside me like he has done for the last two years of his life, wishing he could have the meat. I eat early, close to 6pm, and walk Spike one last time. I take him farther into the woods as I always do when I get out early enough for the sun to still be up. He loves the woods more than the sidewalks and sniffs everything. I don’t mind. My head isn’t even there. The woods are my inspiration and already there is a new story whirring inside my mind.
We get home and go into the bedroom to snuggle up and watch a movie or a few episodes of whatever I am in love with at the time. I let the ferrets out once more and Spike watches warily from his pillow as they scamper about. I play chase with them and trap them inside an old drier hose they cannot get enough of. They scurry out the other end and chide me with wide, grinning fangs as they hop around doing a strange war-dance. I miss some of the show, but I don’t mind.
Once 9pm rolls around, I put all the kids to bed. “So early!” I hear you saying. But trust me, I like my mind to be sharp when it needs to be. I plan for the next night to be gaming night rather than a movie and think about which character I want to focus on in my game. After showering and getting comfy, I curl up in bed with one of my guilty books and read until my eyes hurt. With so much screen-time, this only takes about an hour. Come 11:15 or so and I’m out of it. I put the book down, turn off the lights, lock the doors and go to bed. 
This is all a bit of nonsense really since I live in reality. But it’s time to talk of other things in real life. Enough of what is and more of what could be. Cabbages and kings.