I am not going to quit writing stories. Not ever. When I die, I would like to be buried with my head propped up and my fingers poised over the keyboard of a functioning laptop, just in case.
That said, I am tired.
Brief recap: Since last June I've released and/or re-released 31 titles, including the Wings in the Night series, (24 books) Danger After Dawn, (6 books) and the short novel Love Me to Death. Even though most of those were already written, it's still a ton of work. During that time I also wrote the novel Young Rhiannon in the Temple of Isis in its entirety. So I'm tired.
But that's all done, and now I'm trying to re-adjust. I can't relax too much just yet, with a new book dropping in two weeks. ::Hyperventilation pause:: I want this book to have a moment like Midge Maisel had in the series finalé.
I went over my bibliography the other day. I'm actually going to link that at the bottom of this post for anyone who cares to download it, now that I have it all up to date. I have published 111 titles: 73 full length novels, 31 short novels, 6 non-fiction spiritual books, and one fun essay in a collection of authors' takes on the original TV series Charmed called Totally Charmed: Demons, Whitelighters, and the Power of Three. (Yes, that's a real thing. Proof is on the left, and it's linked if you are that-a-way inclined. It's still in print and e.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh, I have a lot of books. Maintaining the backlist is huge and obviously ongoing, but I think I have everything in pretty good shape for the moment. And with Oliver Heber Books handling publishing and helping with everything else, I can breathe now.
There are still 11 more of my titles being held by publishers but there's a lull while I wait for more rights to come back.
So I have been giving myself permission to ease off the throttle for the past week. I was surprised by how hard it was to make that shift after being nose-to-grindstone (a state that goes against my life-philosophy) for a solid year.
So here I am.
This is a good time to re-assess in multiple areas of life. One should do that every so often. I'm 61 and feeling more and more focused on relishing each moment of my life. It's such a nice life! I am deliriously happy in it. So I've been wondering, as one does at my age, what would retirement mean for me? What would it look like?
I had that whole week to myself while Lance installed another life-changing waterfall in someone's back yard. He makes dreams come true for a living, my husband. Anyway, I spent the week floating around, doing whatever took my fancy and just relishing my days and following my bliss.
At the end, I reviewed. During my week off I wrote 2500 words on a new novel, (brand new idea for the Brown and de Luca series.) I also wrote a couple of blog posts and a newsletter.
But I also emerged from my world of words to do other things. (Did you know there are actually other things?) I cooked and baked quite a lot; I took the final exam in the Forks Over Knives Ultimate Cooking Course, scored 97.4%, and got my certificate; I did some major spring cleaning; I placed all my garden gnomes and most of my wind chimes; I changed everything on my fireplace mantle; I watched Daisy Jones and the Six; I listened to Reggae music and danced around the kitchen; I took naps; I soaked my feet; I colored my hair (I'm getting sick of doing it. I'm not ready to let go of it yet, but I'm inching closer.)
Sidebar: That cooking course is phenomenal and life-changing. It's whole-foods, plant-based, and you learn to cook with no added oil. I am not an affiliate or anything, I am just a fan and advocate. This is the absolute healthiest way to eat. It's linked, so go for it or see the plethora of free recipes at ForksOverKnives.com Now back to the post.
So during my week off, I did whatever I effing felt like, and it was amazing! I think I used to take this approach to my life before I hit that busy, busy year. It's been so long I've almost forgotten how.
But right now, I am sitting outside on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, at my pretty white bistro table, beside the waterfall my hubby made for me. It's warm and sunny, but the spruce trees give me shade. And I'm writing a post here in this beautiful spot, because that's what I feel like doing.
I've had a realization out here. This is as retired as I'm ever likely to get. Retired from deadlines. Retired from pressure. Retired from anything remotely nose-to-grindstone. I, like all girls according to Cindy, just want to have fun.
That's what retirement looks like for me, then. It doesn't mean not working, because what I call working is storytelling, and that's just who I am. I'll stop when I stop breathing. (Maybe. Again, laptop in the casket.)
I am visualizing the coming summer the way I want it to be and I am inserting myself into the vision in the way I want me to be.
I see me in loose, flowy sundresses and floppy straw hats, barefoot. I see me writing beside the pond watching the fish, or beside the waterfall for a couple of hours most mornings, when my stories flow best. And then I see me spending the rest of the day doing whatever takes my fancy.
My sixties might be my best decade yet. I mean that first year was rough, but from here on, I'm returning to the beautiful path of following my bliss.