Thursday, August 11, 2005

August 11 Part V

I spent a lot of time thinking about this in the past few days, and now I’m sharing:

Three Perfect Days in This Writer’s Life

Day One
It’s way too early to get up, but even in a fantasy, the dogs have to go out. The sun’s barely up, but I haul myself out of bed. I pad down the stairs to the kitchen and open the back door so the dogs can race around the yard for a bit.

I put the bread that’s been rising overnight into the oven, start the coffee, and put down the food for the dogs and the cats.

Once everyone’s eaten, it’s time to clean the dishes, put the leashes on the dogs, and take them for a good, long walk. When we come back, I check on the gardens – deadhead whatever needs it, water, pick vegetables, etc.

The beasts are settled. I eat my breakfast and read the papers. After putting the dishes in the dishwasher and throwing a load of clothes in to the laundry, I go to my writing room.

My writing room is set up like a traditional English country house library – plenty of floor to ceiling bookcases, a large rectory table, comfortable chairs, plenty of lamps, nice windows looking out over the property.

The morning is spent writing. I have a manuscript to get off to my editor before the next round of commitments start. The cats lounge around, sometimes in the window, sometimes on my desk. The dogs are nearby, on dog beds or on the chairs or the settee. A few good hours’ worth of uninterrupted work time and I feel good about the accomplishments of the day.

Then it’s time for a quick lunch, and another walk for the dogs. Once we’re back, my assistant comes in for the afternoon. We go through all the mail, figure out which invitations I can and can’t attend. We log in the books coming in for review or requesting blurbs. Somehow, I’ll have to figure out how to get to all of them. We write appropriate thank you notes or notes of regret. We double check appointments. We make sure that all the ducks are in a row – after the weekend full of house guests, I leave to attend rehearsals of the new play; after that, I’m off to Scotland for a few weeks to research the next book. The pet sitter is confirmed, all the tickets and accommodation confirmations are in place, the file folders I need are bundled together in a portfolio.

We stop and have afternoon tea around 4:30 – something between a British High Tea and a Viennese Coffee Hour. Afterwards, we finish up the last of the paperwork, and shut down the computers for the night.

The dogs get their dinner and we go for another walk. It’s a rare night off for my significant other, and some friends are in Boston, touring with a show. Once the dogs are safely stashed away, we go into Boston. We have a good meal at a nice restaurant and see the show. We have a drink with my friends afterwards, then go to a jazz club. Once we finally return home, the dogs are eager for their final outing of the night. Then it’s time to make the bread dough for tomorrow’s needs.

Day Two
Up early again, with the same dogs-coffee-bread routine. After the first cup of coffee, there’s a phone interview with a radio show. Since I enjoy radio, it’s a good bit of fun.

The morning is, again, spent writing. After lunch and dog walks, the afternoon is spent at an historical society, doing research. Late afternoon/early evening takes place at a local gallery, where a friend has an art opening. The dog walker has the dogs well in hand. After that, it’s a short drive to a regional bookstore for a reading/signing. The question/answer period after the signing is always lively, and, as usual, a small group gathers at a nearby local bar to continue the conversation after.

Late night, since I’m still full of energy, I do some revisions on a piece, sitting on the screened in porch, with the animals around me, before and after their last outing for the night.

Day Three
Same morning routine, same morning writing segment. The manuscript is finished and sent off via overnight delivery after lunch. Then, it’s a trip to the grocery store, to stock up for the weekend. I’ve spent some time menu planning, and now it’s time to gather everything from carefully conceived lists. Friends are coming in from New York, and the day after they leave, I’m off for a good, long time.

I make sure I have all the office supplies I need for my travels, and that my laptop works, and I have plenty of extra batteries. I pack what’s necessary. I pick about a dozen books or so from the stack in the office, waiting to be read, and throw them in the suitcase. As I finish them, I’ll write about them and then mail them home. And, no doubt, I’ll buy several dozen books during the course of my travels. I may have to commission someone to build bookcases for the hall, since the library is almost full.

The cleaning person gives everything a good scrub, especially making sure the guest rooms are in fine shape. I spend the afternoon baking and then clean up after myself. My friends will come in time for dinner. I’m looking forward to seeing them; we have tickets to an ice hockey game tomorrow night, and there are some new horses I want them to take a look at, training near by. I look forward to both the rehearsal process for a new play, and then time in Scotland to research the next book and recharge my batteries. I will miss the animals, but I know they are well cared for. And soon I’ll be home, working on the next project.

And so it goes.

If you could have three perfect days doing your life’s work –whether it’s writing or painting or knitting or inventing – what would they be?

Write them out.

If you’ve got a blog, post the link in the comments section below, and I’ll come visit to read it. If you don’t have a blog, just leave it in the comments.

I’m interested in how you envision three perfect days. Since it’s a finite period of time, not everything can fit in. What is chosen? What is left out?

I'm looking forward to your creations!



At 7:50 AM, Blogger B. K. Birch said...

Your days are very inspiring. I'll think about it and get back to you!

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Colin said...

Yes - count me in too. I shall ponder this while in Clark's - the start of my perfect non-writing day ;-)


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