The problem with my living in a “socially distant” society is that my creativity goes to zero. I’m not sure if it’s directly related to being forced to be “socially distant” because I’ve always been relatively that way, but being forced to stay away from people and places (especially places to eat) is feeling vastly different from it being a simple choice on my part.
Being isolated is not the same as feeling isolated. I rely on seeing life to write stories about it and if I’m prevented from seeing (touching, talking, hugging, listening, sharing), it’s as if I’m waiting for someone to restore my password or something. Just waiting. Not working, not thinking, not feeling like I’m on a vacation, not using the time to dream – just waiting. It’s not freedom or extra time off. It’s like being constantly reminded that I’m boring.
The Tucson Festival of Books was canceled so verbally selling my books at large gatherings remains to be tested. My regular meetings of the New Mexico Book Association have been canceled. The New Mexico Book Co-op meetings have been suspended. My regular writers’ group in Albuquerque is also on hold.
The community of writers that I like being part of is trying to convince itself that we can still socialize and support each other without physically being around each other. I don’t think it’s going to work. Even if you don’t overtly visit with individuals, there is a connectedness that develops when you’re surrounded by a group of people with similar interests. I don’t think having an “electronic closeness” will satisfy us.
There have been some positive things happening.
My novel editor, whose regular job is being a high school teacher, is at home for a while (NM schools are closed for three weeks). I’m expecting her edit of Teddy’s War may be completed by the end of next week, so I’ll be getting back to it. A preliminary book cover has been developed and I think it looks great. Wait until you see the historical photograph that was used.
I’m working on the tenth Mogi Franklin mystery, called The Death Train. It features the Castaneda Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico, with a bank robbery and murder happening in 1942. The plot is tied up with the troop trains that were used during World War II to move soldiers around the country. I wrote it two years ago but was not satisfied with the plot and put it on the shelf. I’m now rewriting it for publication sometime this year. I’m not sure what to change to make it on the par with the other mysteries, but I’m working on it.
I am continuing to read books about the Santa Fe Trail and have made the commitment to drive the trail in the fall. It should be a lot of fun. I’ll take two or three weeks to hit all the good spots and I’m planning on using a small RV to make the drive, rather than staying in hotels and buying every meal. I’ll keep a daily journal and will self-publish a cheap travelogue about the trip that will guide other travelers. Next year is the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail and there should be a heightened interest for learning about it.
Don Willerton has been a reader all his life and yearns to write words like the authors he has read. He's working hard at it and invites others to share their experiences.