Thursday, January 14, 2010

Seriously, folks

by Maggie Toussaint

Some days, no matter what you have planned, life takes a serious U-turn. That's happened in my life on several levels. I'm a person who doesn't surprise well, very goal-oriented and a completer of tasks. So when the unexpected happens and my pre-ordained schedule derails, it often takes my breath away.

First, the home front. Termites. Ugh. We found them in the fall, had our house treated, and waited the required 3 months to repair the door frame. Imagine our surprise when the damage extended up and down the studs to the left of the door as well as the right. The plate over the footer crumbled like sand at the touch. Termite trails were all through the drywall as well. Yuck. Now I've got carpenters and ladders and cold air in my house, banging and talking, and fixing, which is all good but annoying too.

Second, every time we think we are making headway with an elderly relative in a physical rehab facility, there seems to be a setback. This takes a physical, emotional, and spiritual toll. It also is toxic to my muse.

Third, some changes in books are needed. The general wisdom is that book one of a mystery series should be book two. Which is fine for book two, but lots of surgery in book one. I'll keep a copy of the "classic" version of book one, but I'll need lots of creativity juice for alterations. Another book needs CPR too. This one doesn't require a major overhaul, just a suspenseful tweak here and there. I can do it. I just need to wrap my head around it and get going.

Fourth, with all the rehashing going on, my WIP has to go on the shelf. I've done this before and I know I can pick it back up, but it is still a change in plan. And I really like my WIP, so there's some feet dragging going on, some mental whining.

Coping with change, for me at least, is a bit like the seven-step grieving process. You go through them all and you come out on the other end stronger, more grounded, more able to shelter life's storms. Life is, after all, about change.

We adapt and grow. Or we don't. It's up to us.

Maggie Toussaint
author of mystery and romance


Liana Laverentz said...

Nobody likes change, not even the positive kind, since it always involves the unknown. Most of the time change is simply thrust upon us and we either sink or swim. I know you're a swimmer, Maggie. In the end you'll be fine. The only thing constant in life is change.

Denise Patrick said...

I understand, Maggie, really I do. Sorry to hear about all the upheaval in your life, but I'm glad the termite problem is being fixed.

I've always been a "roll with the punches" person. I suspect because I was a military brat that I realized early in life that change happens and most of the time I can't change it back. So, I've learned to adapt when I can, do what's needed, and keep moving. Sometimes that means letting go of something I was clinging to in desperation.

My faith has helped me enormously there. I firmly believe that when "God closes a door, He opens a window" and that all things happen for a reason. With those two thought firmly entrenched, I have been able to move on and leave things behind that might have otherwise been holding me back.

My son is a lot like you and he doesn't adapt well to change, but he can prepare if you give him advance warning.

Good luck with the mystery series and all the other things going on in your life. Remember: this too shall pass, but there will probably be other challenges along the way. Stay strong.

LK Hunsaker said...

Maggie, I'm the same. Throwing off my schedule totally throws me.

Termites! Ugh! We had trouble with them in Georgia, although we kept up our yearly protection plan from the time it was built. Seems the builders dumped a bunch of sawdust on the ground where the water pipes came in. Had a few in VA, too, and didn't find them until we were moving.

I hope things with your relative improve. It is draining.

Good luck with your editing! Having fun yet? ;-)

Jane Richardson said...

You're right, Maggie. Te only way throughis to weather it as best you can. Yesterday's gone, and tomorrow is another day. You're a swimmer, my dear, and the tide will change. Calmer waters ahead. :)

Jane x

Jane Richardson said...

Oh, dear - edit before you hit publish, Jane, you fool! Oopsie. ;-)

J x

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for all the encouraging comments, Jane, Denise, Liana, and Loraine.

Denise, I need to be more like you. I mistakenly assume I am in control of my life! So good to connect with you again.

Liana, we share the same philosophy about change.

Loraine, we share a revulsion for termites and change. Cool!

Jane, I adore bumping into you online. And I need to keep my eye on the future instead of clinging to yesterday. Otherwise I will miss out on the here and now too.

Thanks for stopping by SRNWrites!

Unknown said...

MAGGIE--better late than never, dear friend. Yikes. I never like any kind of repairman or worker in my house--it makes me feel displaced and claustrophic--and to go through what you're going through--well, I'd go check into a motel.
These moments in our lives will do something positive--when it's all over, you'll feel free as if you've been released from some kind of trap.
God will not calm the storm around the child, but He will calm the storm inside the child.(I hope it's okay if I do just a little preaching.)But you already know that. Chin up, girl--you're THE Maggie Toussaint! Celia

Keena Kincaid said...

Hi, Maggie, and hugs! I can only imagine how hard it is to concentrate with workmen in and out of the house all day.

The book 2 should be book 1 theory is new to me, but interesting. It makes a lot of sense, although I imagine I'd have to write book one to know what happened in book two. I feel your pain.

susan said...

I take one day at a time and sort of leave the door ajar in case something comes along unexpectedly to upset my whole day. susan L.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi to Celia, Keena and Susan,
I am finding it fascinating at how many people recognize change as momentous.

Celia, I'm always open to a little preaching. Some seeds fall in rich soil and others fall into trouble, so I figure the more times I hear something, the more likely it is to blossom and flourish.

Keena, Moving Book 2 to 1 of the series was radical for me too. But it made a certain sense in that I knew the character better by book 2, and some of the criticisms of book 1 were automatically addressed in book 2 due to the different story. Live and learn. (but still dragging my feet a smidge).

Susan, I like your exit strategy. That's a step up from waiting for a window to open when a door closes. If the back door's cracked a bit, you can slip on out at your discretion. Smooth, girl!

Thanks one and all for stopping by.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Maggie,

Sorry for coming in late, put it down to the different time zones.
Wowm you have been through the wringer. And terminates, some places here in Australia get them very badly, very hard to fix, not to mention expensive when it comes to repairing the damage. Hope everything gets fixed up soon, so you can concentrate on your writing.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

I agree with Liana. No one likes change, even positive change. There's so many factors that play into it. Ultimately we have to adapt. It's how flexable we are to change that makes it easier to bear.

Good for thought, Maggie, especially in regards to our writing. Once we find our way to deal with change, it will help us in the long run.


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Lindsay Townsend said...

So sorry to hear of all your troubles, Maggie. It is all very draining.

I'm so glad you're getting your termite problem sorted - yuck!

Hopefully once spring is on it's way things will get easier and your muse will be re-inspired.

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