Curious about what’s happening with the second volume of The Key Trilogy aka The Power Awakens? Yes, this second volume is written. However, after receiving 38 rejection letters from potential agents (out of 38 sent), I realize I need to make some changes, maybe a stronger ”hook” in the opening chapter? Maybe more?
I revised the first chapter, cutting it down to bare bones and hopefully making it snappy and energetic. I like it. My husband Stephen likes it. My writing friend Larry likes it. All good!
So where’s the “ink in the oink” (as our good friend, Dan Luetke, used to say)? I haven’t revised anything beyond the first chapter. Work remains and I’m slow to complete it.
What’s the hold-up? Many of you will understand that as soon as the snow melts, it’s yard clean up time! Winter’s debris, last year’s depressed flower beds, dead branches, volunteer saplings in inconvenient places, vigorous, rampant weeds like creeping Charlie, dried grasses and flower stalks leap into first place on the “To Do” list.
This spring we were lucky to hire three high school boys, juniors, to do the spring clean-up. These boys were amazing. On the arranged date, the weather was iffy, rain and wind forecast. They checked to see if I still wanted them to come. Yes, I said, let’s give it a go.
These champs arrived on time with a trailer full of equipment and set to work. The predicted rain started shortly thereafter and continued intermittently throughout the day. What looked like a two-hour job for three young men turned into a four-hour slog, including two trips to the yard waste center. Although I suggested they might want to quit early and get out of the rain, all three insisted they would stay until the job was completed. Uncomplaining, they simply worked hard until the job was done.
They worked like dogs! Watching them corral a tremendous pile of leaves into the back of their trailer, then struggle with the tarp to cover the huge load, I felt guilty at how hard this job was! (Not guilty enough to go out and help them, however.) When they were ready to leave, our yard never looked so great.
Here’s what I want to say about these boys: throughout the entire project they maintained business-like attitudes, they were absolutely thorough, and they worked with good humor. They’re the kind of boys who give you hope for our world!
If you need yard help this summer, don’t hesitate to call them.
Contact information: Ben and Sam Setnicker and Alfie Bolgar. Ben will respond: 612-475-1309)
Anyway… With the old debris gone, it was my turn to tackle the yard. With my granddaddy loppers in hand, I started in front where the lilac hedge skirts Kirkwood Lane. Last season when I wasn’t able to do yard work, maple saplings thrived in this area. My plan was to lop these and other weeds off quickly and move on. That was my plan at least.
Days passed. Stephen made two trips to the yard waste center with our little trailer, aka “The Kirkwood Kart,” filled to the top with dead tree limbs and lilac branches, great armfuls of creeping Charlie, weeds and dead grasses. Eventually I completed the street side clean-up, then moved behind the lilac hedge, worked my way to the back yard lilac hedge, then out to the north slope flower bed, and a few other spots. (One great treat was discovering that three hazelnut bushes survived a hard winter on the north slope!)
Unseasonable heat and humidity created a “Big Sweat Festival,” but I persisted. As of this writing, two more flower beds await serious work before planting and/or transplanting perennials can begin.
In truth I love all of this work. My master-gardener friend Jana once advised me to tell myself that all I need do each day is just one hour, that way the amount of work doesn’t overwhelm me before I can even get my shoes on! The funny part is that a person can accomplish quite a bit in an hour if she thinks this is all she has to do.
And here’s what I’m leading up to say. The time spent on the yard, as much as I enjoy it, does interfere with writing time. Although many writing gurus advise that you seize every available minute for your writing, even if it’s 10 minutes waiting for your husband to nip into the hardware store for some little thing, or 15 minutes in-between doctor appointments and picking up a grandchild from her activity, I am not geared this way. Some days it takes more than 15 minutes to call up the Word document, (not the computer’s fault!).
And don’t get me started on the advice to set your alarm clock half an hour earlier than usual, so you can get in a good 30-minutes of writing before heading into your day. Perhaps it depends on your definition of good. My early-in-the-morning-writing, if I can find the computer, is not worth discussing. “Total waste” about covers it.
This is all to say that Volume 2 of The Key Trilogy will happen in good time. Oelsa’s and her companion Promelious’, the winged horse (ceffyl, in Welsh Gaelic) trials and adventures still excite me. Every day I think about this 12-year-old girl and wonder what she still needs to learn, how she will survive her nemesis, Anvyartach’s persecution, and what the fate of Idelisia will be if she fails! Stacks of books with protagonists her age are toppling off my bedside table. Movies with girls her age offer new perspectives on ways Oelsa might develop. I look to my granddaughters (12 and 14), marveling at the skills they have, their wide range of interests and abilities in so many areas, not the least of which is how they care for their Boppa and me. How might they react if visited with similar challenges like Oelsa has to face? (They would be incredible!)
The wheels are turning, but quietly for the time being. I trust Oelsa is waiting, ready for more adventures. I trust that allowing plot and character elements to brew at the back of my mind these past weeks has not been wasted time. I trust the Universe to swing around and welcome all those threads left dangling at the moment in part two of Oelsa’s quest to understand who she is and how she will save her world.
Life is good. The work continues.