I have been grateful to have a creative project during Covid-19. In January 2020, I started putting the final touches on my book proposal for the Book of Pendulum Creativity. I have to be honest—book proposals are difficult for me. It’s the sitting in the chair and beginning to write a marketing and business plan. Once I begin, I do get excited after ideas begin to flow, and I like researching in books and on the Internet.
But I finally did finish my book proposal March 2nd, 2020 and sent it off to my editor at Red Wheel/Weiser Publishing. By that time, I had finished approximately one-third of the book and was motivated to continue. But Covid-19 hit us hard in the USA and all of us—from my publisher to agent to editor—were reeling. Do you remember the early days? In California we were in a full shutdown from March 19th to June 12th. We were just learning about washing our hands, sanitizing, and talking about whether we should wear a mask or not. Simple things we could do to prevent the spread. And the big ask—stay at home all the time! Remember when the USA did not have enough masks and protective gear for doctors, nurses, and hospitals?
It wasn’t ‘til July 2nd, that I had a final, signed contract. Yahoo! I am still a newbie to traditional publishing, so each stage is exciting. Then there is the day after, “Oh my God I have to deliver a manuscript in five months, by January 1st 2020.” But a deadline is so helpful. It means you have to start now, no excuses, sit in your chair and write.
I was able to rent a desk in the Catamaran Literary Reader offices where I have volunteered, so I could leave my loft, walk across the grounds, and open a door to another space away from dishes, house cleaning, cooking, and chores, not to mention the 24 hours new cycle, that always calls to me when I’m home. No, my office wasn’t as quiet as I hoped. Towards the end of the summer a fellow artist, was carving a large wooden sculpture with a chain saw right behind my office. When he arrived, I had to leave! But I would go home and continue working. I kept telling myself to be flexible.
Then, right in my backyard, a few miles up the road on Highway 9 from where I live, we experienced the Santa Cruz “CZU Lightning Complex Fire.” Local news reports stated, “It started at 6:41 AM on August 16, 2020, the result of a thunderstorm that produced close to 11,000 bolts of lightning and started hundreds of fires throughout California. 1,490 buildings and one life was lost.” As the fire roared in the mountains, ash rained down upon us, and half my neighbors left the Tannery. When they evacuated a housing track up the road a mile away, we accepted a friend’s invitation to spend the night.
Then, I was so distracted by the presidential election. You know that story! All that waiting to find out who won, and all that drama that is still occurring. Meanwhile Covid-19 raged. I would still just show up to write at my office for two hours a day, minimum. I would sit, pop a sparkling water, and write. My book felt like a life raft in the unpredictable, sometimes frightening world we all were suddenly living. I could go to work on my book and be happy, no matter what was happening.
But then I did finish a little early—December 8th. The manuscript and the Charts were emailed. There was this feeling of great relief and subtle emptiness, like letting go of a good friend. My agent congratulated me on finishing despite “dire distractions.” But, I felt so grateful to the project itself. I was given a wonderful subject to focus on—creativity. I had relief from Covid-19, the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, and the presidential news cycle.
I still haven’t heard if the manuscript has been accepted. Patience! Then, the real work of editing and polishing begins. Hold me in your thoughts. Let’s see this project, The Book of Pendulum Creativity, being born either in late 2021 or early 2022.