Monday, August 27, 2012

Stolen Time

(Sundial in Hampton Court Garden, UK)

I swore I wouldn't do the conference this year--I didn't have time! But at the last minute, I posted my work, The Clover Key. For two days, I obsessed over the con--stalking agents, entering events, reading and critiquing other writer's work, all while pretending to work at the shop.I received only a few, but nonetheless great, comments that I'll put to good use when I revise again. I even met another writer from Madrid whose work-in-progress is patiently waiting in my e-mail inbox for a critique.

After putting everything on hold to write a synopsis, craft a query, and doing some last minute revisions, I felt a little deflated. Not everyone loved my work, and none of the Ninja Agents that attended asked for a partial. They didn't even make any comments! I didn't win a professional critique or even a door prize, but my skin is another layer thicker. That should help, right?

WriteOnCon is over, but there are still things going on over there. All of the events are archived, so if you sign up, you can read interviews by authors and agents.

Do you know what else helps? Having my daughter Amanda come home for 10 days in between semesters. It was a spontaneous visit and those kinds of visits are always fun. She was ecstatic when she got to finally meet and hold her new nephew Caleb Robert. I think she enjoyed her visit--we did some shopping for baby clothes, bedding for her new mattress in her first-ever apartment, school clothes, and of course, school supplies. She got to see one of her best friends, and also got some pampering from Mom and Grandma.
(Amanda and I)
Then, last week, Amanda, my mother, my sister, and I took a road trip down to Virginia to see my brother and sister-in-law's new home and to meet their first child--my niece Jane Alexandra! We spoke in high sing-songy voices and coohed and aahed for a few days.
(Jane Alexandra, Amanda, and I)
On Friday, I brought Amanda back to the airport and cried while she went toward security. Once she was out of view, I dashed home to prepare for the next day. On Saturday, John and I invited his two sisters and his two Buchanan (yup, just like the Buchanans in my YA novel!) cousins, along with their significant others, for a get-together at our home.

Now, it's Sunday afternoon. Piles of laundry and mountains of mail stare at me while I write this post. It will all get done eventually. I'm exhausted. I crammed so much into the last 10 days.  I drove over 1000 miles, across 4 states. I spent too much money on babies, my daughter, and food. I got zero writing accomplished and my e-mail inbox has grown to over 800 messages. I just know there's a ton of paperwork waiting for me at the shop.

The past 10 days wasn't always fun. Amanda's flight to New Jersey was delayed. Again. We hit so much traffic on the way to Virginia that a 5 hour trip turned into 8 hours. I slept on sofas and air mattresses and spent way too much time in the driver's seat of our Suburban. When we returned to New Jersey, Amanda's iPhone was stolen which prompted a trip to the Bayonne Police Department. Stress and lack of restful sleep caused frayed nerves and snippy attitudes.

But I also received and gave lots of hugs. I sat around the table with both families, eating big meals and exchanging stories. I laughed almost to the point of crying. I met new people and snuggled with babies. All of those memories, ALL of them will last a lifetime.

I always complain that I never have enough time, but last week, I made time--I snatched it from thin air, and there were a few moments when I stopped it in it's tracks. No, there's never enough time to do everything we want to do, but time with family is so precious, sometimes you just have to steal it.

We've all stolen time. What did you do with yours?