It's Raining Outside, but the Sun is Shining in My Heart

I woke up bright and early this morning to see a drizzly, dark day. (I have a lot of complaints about the climate here in the Chicagoland area, but that's a column for another day). As I straightened up the kitchen and divided the remainder of the meat my husband and I bought over the weekend (I ran out of freezer bags and had to go out yesterday to get some more), I felt strangely cheerful. Even having to do a little rearranging to get the rest of the meat to fit into the freezer part of the fridge (nothing else is going to fit in our chest freezer, a situation really more suitable to a family of five or six rather than two) didn't faze me. Then, as I was wiping my hands dry, about to go get dressed, my husband called out, "Bettye, make me a couple of sandwiches with those cold cuts we bought, will ya?" his sense of timing failed to ruffle me (and he really does have the worst possible timing. If he sleeps late and I decide I can't wait another minute to cook breakfast, he'll come staggering out of the bedroom just as I'm sitting down with my plate and say, "Where's mine?")

Still, I didn't understand the reason I felt so good. I didn't get as much done over the weekend as I'd planned to.

I worked on my manuscript Friday evening and Sunday morning, not at all on Saturday, which I spent running errands and then dividing and wrapping a very large amount of meat. But as I completed scenes on Sunday and dropped scenes written earlier into place, I realized that most of the project is complete, and that I've got plenty of time to write bridging scenes and drop in the ones I wrote earlier. It's always a good feeling to learn that there won't be an eleventh-hour rush to get it sent out before leaving for vacation.

My synopsis for my next project is coming along nicely, too. To clarify, the synopsis is a summary of the story I'd like to tell next, which I submit to my editor, who will read it and decide whether or not she wants me to write the book). So is the story proposal I've been working on, although it still isn't ready yet. Again for clarification, a proposal includes a synopsis, but it also includes a couple of chapters so that editors unfamiliar with my work can get a feel for my writing style, along with a summary of the story I want to tell.

On top of everything else I'm working on, Saturday, June 9th, begins the first of three consecutive weeks of book signings (I don't use the word "tour;" it may sound nice, but it really isn't an accurate definition of what I do. A tour, to me, is being on the road (or traveling via some other means) and signing in Boston on Wednesday, New York on Thursday, Philly on Friday, the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area on Saturday, taking off Sunday and Monday and then starting over on Tuesday in the Carolinas, etc. These are usually paid for by the publisher and are reserved for top-selling authors. Going out to nearby cities on Saturdays is hardly the same thing. Personally, I always get a laugh when other writers say they're going "on tour" like they're Eric Jerome Dickey or somebody. But I digress).

Signings require a lot of work. I e-mailed the people on my mailing list who live in the Greater Chicagoland area to tell them where I'll be and when, which took longer than I expected. I also created gifts to give to readers who buy more than one book.

So in hindsight, I guess I got more accomplished than I first thought. On top of that, my nephew, who lives in a tight-knit community of historic homes in Jacksonville, gave a party for his friends and neighbors Friday night – his first in the new house – and reported it was a smashing success. My 90-year-old aunt called me Sunday just to say hello and is herself doing just great. My granddaughter, once a preemie weighing less than 3 lb., is thriving and is now nice and plump at 9 months. And my 88-year-old mother is excited about her trip to New York later this week to visit her sister (the aforementioned aunt).

So I begin a new week on this gloomy Monday with a smile on my face. Sure, there's always something to be annoyed about, but there is much to be grateful for.

I hope I'm still smiling when the week draws to a close.