November 12th, 2012

promise tea

Disaster Survival Strategies

I talked to my agent, who said she wouldn't be able to look at the book until after Thanksgiving, so I don't have to worry about crunching the final proofread. I can take my time with it and take some time to get my life in order this week. I need to do a massive house cleaning in preparation for the holidays and buy some wedding and Christmas presents. And there are a few books I want to finish reading. I'm mostly enjoying the feeling of being able to breathe again. There's a sense of discovery with a first draft. With revisions, although it can be fun, there's also a sense of obligation, especially when a deadline is looming. Finishing a book feels very much like back when I was in school and leaving the classroom after the last final exam. There's this amazing feeling of a weight being lifted.

Today, I really must get tea (I keep procrastinating on that errand, even though it only involves walking a couple of blocks). Then I think I'm going to put on some music and sing my heart out while cleaning the house. I think I really and truly am finally fully healed, and my voice is back. It needs some limbering up. We had a choir workshop this weekend, and I learned a few new drills and exercises to practice. I need to get in shape for the Christmas singing season.

It's just occurred to me that I may need to get extra cheery this holiday season to balance out my research reading. The next book I want to work on is set in the aftermath of a disaster, when the world hasn't really entirely recovered, with all the physical, sociological and psychological implications of that. Which means my research reading is on cheerful stuff like the Dust Bowl and the Black Death, and probably post-WWII Europe. This isn't dystopia, just more of a situation in which people are feeling burned (it was a mostly man-made disaster) and leery of taking any chances with what burned them, even if it may be necessary to really save the day for good. And in a bit of perfect timing, there's a PBS documentary miniseries on the Dust Bowl next weekend.

I do love the fact that reading about history counts as work. There's other stuff I'll need to research that's a lot less depressing, and there are some good "triumph of the human spirit" stories even in all the depressing stuff. The kind of scary thing is that I find myself concocting survival strategies for these situations -- what I might have done if I'd been there. Though, of course, if I'd been there, I wouldn't know what I know now to concoct those survival strategies. I do think I'd probably be safer than most from the plague, seeing as how I'm kind of a hermit. If I were working on a book, I'd emerge from my cave at the end of a draft and wonder where everyone went. I ran into my next-door neighbor on Saturday, and she thought I'd been out of town for a month.