The thing is, I'm a yogi at heart so I almost always sit with my legs crossed, as if I'm three years old. You can't do that in a narrow chair. And on a hard chair, forget it. But on a sofa, crossing those legs makes a perfect little nest for my computer, and I'm off to the races.
Everything else feels like procrastination to me, and I write while my toddler naps, so time is at a premium. Finding a view or special lighting would take time. Looking for the right music would suck my brain into iTunes for the entire afternoon.
The fire may be lit or not. Sunny, raining, hailing, I don't care. I don't require a lucky pen or need to start writing at a precise time or wear special writing socks or hold the perfect mug or create mood lighting. I sometimes write in the dark!
All I need is a cushy seat--any cushy seat. A large pot of tea, a small bit of honey, and a throw blanket also are welcome, but not necessary.
Photo credit: My oldest, 2008, took this photo while I was writing. Is that how I look to them when I'm writing? All bug-eyes and no mouth?
It's no secret that I base my novel's scenery on places I've been. While on holiday in Ohio, I took two shots for you. They're both key for Life Before, which is out in spring 2016.
Xander Fife lives in my childhood house. I haven't stepped inside since I turned 18, and it's endured many changes in color since then, but here's his house:
You can imagine a rickety wooden bench to the left of the door, right? Xander' bench includes many layers of peeling paint, but is black during his story.
And, of course, his high school. For a long time, the manuscript included a lengthy description of the camel-colored bricks that had darkened with age. Now it says nothing about the school's drab exterior, but I snapped a pic at my school while I was in Ohio. I didn't get to enter--it was August, after all--but this is the door that Xander and his best friend, Jill, enter on their very last day of high school. A tiny part of my brain expected Tucker to be sitting on the radiator just inside the doorway, waiting for his best buddies.
He wasn't. . .but just being at the school made me VERY excited to share this book with the world.
To be fair, this was my most logical child. My dear 2010 said, "I wish tomorrow were my birthday."
First off, kudos to my four-year-old for using the conditional sense. Second, I tried to logic her out of it. It did not go well.
"It wouldn't really be fair if you had two birthdays, would it?" See what I did? I appealed to her sense of fairness and love for her sisters.
Irritated, she explained that didn't want two, she just wanted hers to be tomorrow.
I tried more logic.
"But if tomorrow were your birthday, my Love, you would be devastated when your actual birthday rolled around and it wasn't your birthday anymore."
My angry girl explained that she wanted to skip right to her birthday.
"You know, Love, if we skipped right to your birthday, we would SKIP your grandmother's birthday, and Genevieve's and Felix's, and Suzy Lou's, too."
She knew, but she wanted cake and presents.
I sensed whining on the horizon, but I had her!
"Love, we're not ready for your party. I haven't baked a cake or bought any presents. There are no decorations or anything."
Tears. I had made her cry. She knew, but it would be cool if her birthday were tomorrow.
I finally got it.
"You're right, 2010! That would be cool!"
And off she went to play, blissed out with her cool idea.
Kirsten Lopresti, author of Bright Coin Moon, read an early draft of Life Before. She calls it, "A gripping story about a shattered family and one boy’s journey to begin again. Bacon takes on the subject of domestic violence with skill and compassion in this fast-paced, suspenseful, and thoroughly enjoyable novel.”
Well, that's exciting!
Away on holiday in the Midwest, I still am thinking about those silly yearbooks. I promise this is the last post on the topic (for a while, at least.)
Amid the promises and love professed in cheap ink between those covers, one good friend wrote, "You've helped me through some very tough times in my life. I love you."
It means a lot that I helped shepherd him through his emotional love affair and other issues, but here's the thing: that friend is now dead.
Could I have prevented his death?
We matriculated together, and maintained a casual friendship for years, but when his life's path veered away, I let it. In our twenties, I sort of dropped off the face of the earth. I knew thing were difficult, though I had no idea how difficult. I knew he was coping with pain in unhealthy ways, but I just kept moving. I should have slowed down. I should have showed up on his doorstep unannounced. I should have intervened.
Sure, I helped him though high school, but that's hardly enough. Perhaps he would be alive if I'd been a better "friend forever."
And that is a very heavy thought.
I blog rarely, because I'm busy writing books. When I do blog, I focus on writing, friendship, family, and books. Because my family's best nicknames are private, I use their birth years for shorthand: