It occurred to me, as I pulled into the garage Friday evening, that this would be my last weekend. My last real weekend, a Saturday and Sunday spent catching up on chores and trying to snatch some “down time” with the threat of Monday morning circling overhead like a buzzard.
Next weekend, as Alice Cooper is wont to remark, school’s out forever. I am leaving my much-loved job at the California Arts Council and returning to my interrupted writing life.
Writing full-time has its own set of frustrations, of course. The income is unreliable, the work itself can be mentally agonizing, and it’s impossible to really do it full-time. At least for me. I can write for about four hours before my brain fries. This is why I went to work for the state of California in the first place; I couldn’t write more than twenty hours a week anyway, so why not get a part-time job for the other twenty hours? This worked fairly well until the Arts Council lured me into a full-time position. I enjoyed the job, and it took eight hours to fry my brain instead of four, but at the end of the day I was fried all the same. And with no words on the page. Needless to say, my books suffered. I have had no new product out since 2012, and the only reason I was able to finish that one (Scary Cool) was that I began it in 2006! One book every six years is insufficient to keep one’s momentum. Trust me.
I hope to do better now, but if you happen to be one of my long-suffering readers, I warn you: I have never been a fast writer, and am unlikely to suddenly flood the market with books. On the other hand, they will almost certainly appear more frequently than every six years.
Meanwhile, it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m about to start my last real work week. I can hardly wait to throw out my alarm clock.