It’s finally in the works!
The sequel to my first book is being written in baited enthusiasm, penned each day with vigor any writer would be proud to boast of.
Not that it was ever forgotten; at the very least, some stories were started a while ago, even year’s ago.
The delay was perplexing to me also. Given the fact that I needed a break after my first book, and the same old excuse, life got in the way, plus fun and pleasure took first priority after our lockdown, plus the fact I had other writing endeavors, eighteen months between books was a given.
My first book, I Heard the Alps Call His Name, was written in less than a year. Covid helped to push it forward into high gear, but it was shear determination and the unfailing desire to put to rest a painful past that drove me to finish it.
This one, God willing, along with my sanity, will take six months, not including the accumulated time of some stories written long ago.
Writing a book of 70,000 words or about 300 pages is no easy feat, let me tell you! It means getting up earlier than I would like (seven) and planning my day around completing my goal of writing 1000- 2000 words a day, give or take. I’m one of those writers who must first do all of the things one does in a given day- have a coffee, feed the cats,, house clean what I assigned myself to do that day, appointments, meditation and exercise, answer my emails, texts, phone calls, do the laundry, cook lunch and supper in one simple meal, and grocery shop (usually once a week).
Then, if I have no afternoon appointments, such as dancing or rescuing a cat, which is usually kept to a tightly regulated schedule, I begin writing by 2 o’clock.
If I’m easily in the groove, which doesn’t happen that often, I will write until six, eat my pre-cooked dinner, write another hour or two, or do research related to my story, or read something to relax me. Evenings are usually spent, if I’m home, watching documentaries or Dr. Pol, one of my weaknesses. Before sleep, I’ll review what I want to accomplish for the next day, then lights out at midnight. Sometimes I feel inspired and burn the midnight oil by finishing a chapter, but often my eyelids are heavy and drooping by one.
There are days, I must admit, when I can’t pen a single word, or I start, give up, then turn on Oprah. The words allude me. I have now learned – through frustratingly long, silent moments, that can stretch into hours – when to stop, and accept it as part of writing; I turn off my Words App and go onto something else. Even Hemmingway and Margaret Atwood had writers block. The only one who didn’t, it seemed, was Steven King, who set a goal of 2,000 words a day; but I wonder where fiction begins and the truth ends.
Then, there are the re-writes, draft after draft….after draft. Beta readers and my editors critique, picking away at my not so tough skin, only to re-write, review, again and again, until I’m satisfied; one final edit, then I fall into a state of exhaustion and relief that it is almost over. Self doubt creeps into my thoughts- when is enough, when is it ready for print?
Then I realize I have to let my baby go, my manuscript that has grown into a third arm. I cut it off and prepare it for publication.
I now wait in gleeful anticipation for the first print to come in the mail, and hope I will still like it. I will breathe a sigh knowing in my heart of hearts I did the best I could. I hope the world will think the same.
Then back into the real world of fun and play, and travel, already thinking of the next book.
So why do I do it?
Because it’s in my blood, intertwined in the layers of my soul. I cannot imagine not writing.
‘Follow your passion and the truth will emerge.’
The book will be a sequel to my first book – a book of short stories or anthologies: spanning from 1990 to the present.
(If you haven’t read my first book, you need to right now to follow the sequel)!
Anthology: a collection of short stories with one similar theme – linking together stories – flowing the stories from one to the other, making sense and coherence of the characters and their lives.
Index of Short stories:
- Life from 1990 – 1994: Marcus and Andy take on America- return to Switzerland/ Fabian and our new life in Bern/back across the pond.
- Birth family/ our Indigenous past/ Adoption and how it affected our lives/cross dreaming-a beginning.
- Life in Canmore: 1994 – 2005/short hops.
- Hungary – 2006-2007: father’s history/mother/more short hops across the pond
- 2008– 2015: Mexico/Leaving Canada, where to settle? Traveling/bigger hops.
- 2015 – present: Coming to Portugal/ new life and new values, coming into myself/the crossings become a trickle in the deep, blue pond.
** photos, and poems related to the anthology
Here is a small sample of one of the stories, beginning in 1990, before Andy went back to Switzerland.
Spring 1990 – The Boys take on America!
The rays hit the boat strong and bright on that warm late March day in 1990. In the distance, waves could be heard lapping the shoreline. The boat, the name the boys gave it because of its size, was an old grey 1972 Ford car that they bought for three hundred dollars in Calgary. The four-door monster of rust and metal, had worn out seats that sent clouds of grey dust in the air once a mass of any proportions touched its surface. Constantly farting black smoke out its tailpipe, it whined like a kid who lost his lollipop when they tried to start it in the cool mornings. The belly was so huge that Marcus and Andy could both sleep in it, one in the front, and one in the back seat. Whoever flipped for the front seat had to curl their feet around the steering wheel, while plopping their head up against the side passenger door, a pillow supporting their head and a blanket tucked around them to keep out the cool air at night.
Andy usually got the front seat as he was shorter than Marcus.
But even with the added leg room in the back, Marcus would often wake up with a crinkled neck and red marks on his face from sleeping with his cheek pressed against the door handle.
They had one significant advantage being on the Pacific coast. It was not Alberta, where traces of snow still dotted the brown prairies, and temperatures hovered just above freezing.
Vancouver was a pleasant reminder of what a Canadian winter should be, mild and wet in January, but sunny and warm in the spring.
“Ah, my head!” moaned Andy in the front, turning over for a more comfortable position, almost falling off the seat.
“Hrmm?” could be heard in the back as Marcus tried to open his eyes, only to shut them fast, the light from the sun striking his retina with such force he winced in pain. Shifting his weight out of the sunlight and bumping his head against the door handle, an array of profanities resonate throughout the misty air.
“Verdammt! Mein Kopf!”
Andy laughed, “Ja, my head hurts too!”
“What a night! What time did we leave?” Marc asked, tossing the sleeping bag flap open and raising his head, blinking into the rising sun poking its head through the clouds above the waves.
“Donno.” After that last round of tequila shots, all I remember is someone shoving me against the bar, then all hell broke loose when that guy with the yellow teeth took a poke at the cowboy, and ended up on the other side of the bar,” moaned Andy, sitting slowly up in the back seat and rubbing his head, trying to focus his blood-shot eyes through the grey mist that was settling on the coastline. Blinking, he stared at the red sun that peaked its head through the clouds and shone on the Pacific ocean in glowing orange and pink. Soft, swirling sounds could be heard as the waves caressed the sand in the distance, a few short meters from the boat.
“I don’t remember much after we left that last bar. That native guy with shiny black hair in pigtails pushed us out the door when the glass started flying,” moaned Andy, covering his neck with his sleeping bag and digging his body into the seat.
“Yeh, I’m really glad he got us out of that brawl. It was that yellow-toothed bum who started the fight!”
“Too bad we had to leave those chicks behind. That blond was hot!”
“How the hell did we get home? And where’s my wallet?”
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