Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Destination Life : : Anne McAllister

Anne is revising. It always makes her pensive.

lifes journey biggerThe photo on the left has been my ‘logo’ for the past year and a half or so.  I put it in whenever I write my monthly column for The Pink Heart Society.  Michelle Styles calls it branding – so you know it’s me, I guess.  It’s a photo taken by one of my grandsons’ other grandmother. It’s of  said grandson at the age of 2 and a half.  He’s 4 and a half now.

In those two plus years, his life has changed.  His dog companion died last year, and another quite different , though still watchful, one runs with him now.  He has a younger brother -- barely a bump then --  who can run with him now.  He lives in a different house.  His mom has a different job.  His dad does, too.  They have a different truck. He goes to a different school.

Times change.  Not just for him, but for all of us.  For me, too.

I’m revising my sixty-seventh book.  It never gets easier (that doesn’t change!). But I like doing it now.  It’s like making a straight and true road out of one hacked out of a mountainside and full of potholes on the first run-through.  It will take longer than I want, but that’s standard. They always do. 

bull rider 1For my next, I’m contemplating writing a cowboy again (some roads fork back where to where you left them years ago), and getting excited at the prospect.  I’ve missed my cowboys.  A former editor of mine, Patricia Smith, used to talk to me about my ‘emotional landscape’ – the one that I wrote out of, where my core emotions were, where things mattered to me.  My cowboys always lived there.   Touching base with them again will be a treat.

But there will be change there, too.  The cowboy will be done as an ebook – a possibility that didn’t even exist when I started out writing.  There’s a ton of new stuff to learn about with epublishing.  I have only dipped my toe in it so far.  I think I  might drown, but at least I’ll go down with a cowboy, if I do!  Things could be worse – and it will be a learning experience. 

Life’s like that, I guess. (I told you I got pensive when I do revisions. It’s because I’m thinking about the old version and the new version and trying to make them mesh). It’s part ‘same old, same old’ and part ‘oh God, I don’t know what I’m doing!’

But that’s what makes it interesting – the tension between the two, the growth that comes from change, and the confidence that comes from having mastered something – or at least become familiar enough with it that you think you know what to expect.

But even then, it’s not all clear and you can’t always see the horizon like you can in the picture above. Sometimes it’s like creating a road out of a bramble field.  That’s what I feel like I’m doing in the current manuscript.  Everything fits and it all works. But which plants are going to flower and which ones are the weeds?  That’s what I’m figuring out at the moment.

sashiOn a personal – not writing – level, we have a new dog. And she’s a work in progress, too.

She’s a five year old golden retriever who looks like she’s about nine or ten months old. She’s a mini-golden to me – used as I am to seventy-to-eighty pound dogs.  But she makes up in sweetness what she lacks in size.  She’s making life interesting, creating a few potholes (she digs!) and challenges.

She’s different – not what we expected – and I suspect, in the end, we will be the better for it.

I am hoping, at the end of the revisions, that I feel the same way about them, too!

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