Hi, y’all. I’m Patricia Charles and I’m blogging again. You may remember me. I am a medical librarian and my last two blogs have been on researching. Today I vary from that.
Imagine – you are in the middle of your next novel. Everything is going fine. No major problems. No writer’s block. But something must be done. You just can’t take it anymore. You’re derriere is tired, going to sleep from sitting at the computer all day. You just have to get up.
Some people can write on their laptops while exercising. Not me. I can’t even walk and chew gum. When I just have to do something creative away from a computer, I want to do something quick so I can get back to the book. Something that will gratify me (no, not chocolate, but that is never a bad idea). I want to do something creative, something fun. No, not exercise. I’ve already walked a mile on the treadmill today (no laptop) and I didn’t trip once. But what to do?
I once attended a conference where the guest speaker spoke about her writing ritual. My side ached from laughing so hard. She did the normal things, brushing teeth, slippers, coffee, and then sat in front of her computer. You think she’d open the draft she was working on, right? No, she checked her email, answered some, checked her Facebook and responded, posted on her blog. She went on and on about everything she did before she began writing, including Candy Crush or Solitaire. It was too funny and I don’t do it justice. For me, a Facebook visit usually runs into hours. Where’s the instant gratification in that?
So I paint furniture. No, I really spray paint furniture. It’s fast. It’s pretty. It makes a statement. For instance, in the first picture I had two old filing cabinets that I kept my printed research stashed from view, but easily accessible. But they were ugly, all scratched and dented. A couple coats of dark green spray paint and new handles really made a difference in no time at all.
If you know me though, you know nothing is ever easy for me. I spray painted my flip-flops with my feet in them. That took a couple of days scrubbing and soaking my feet to remove the paint. Also, I bought adorable handles. No, regular filing cabinet handles for me. I wanted pretty. Except you really can’t use kitchen cabinet handles on filing cabinets. After several trips to the local home improvement store, I finally found the correct length of screws. This quick and easy project turned into days. But it does look nice, doesn’t it?
Several months later, I’m again struck with a desire to get off the chair and do something. I’m very ambitious. I can spend a little time painting that awful chest of drawers in my bedroom. I have seen Flea Market Flip and I can do the same with this old, ugly thing.
Can you imagine what a trial this was? I can’t spray paint a filing cabinet without problems. What made me think I could paint drawers? It looked so easy on TV. First, I tried regular wall paint matching the color in the bedroom. Horrible. I couldn’t get the streaks out from the paintbrush. Next, I sprayed three drawers and used chalk paint on the other three. (Hint: the spray paint was still the fastest and easiest.) Not perfect, but livable. Then I went for extravagant knobs. Can you guess what happened?
Yes, the dreaded screws. The screws were too long again, but they were attached to the knobs and not replaceable. So I have these long screws inside the drawers. At least when the drawers are closed, they can’t be seen.
I’m thinking I should stop painting and try something else when I have to get up from the chair. Maybe baking. No, that won’t work I’ll just burn everything or gain weight. Photography is not my thing either as you can tell by the pictures. Maybe I should just get a pillow so I don’t have to get up.
So, the question I pose to you is what do you do when you want to do something physical and creative? Let me know and I will post the best (and the easiest) in my next Soul Mate blog.
A side note: Unconditional Surrender is available now in paperback from Amazon. This is my Civil War Reenactment romance. I’ve included a brief excerpt for you.
The sounds of approaching horses jarred her attention from the earrings. Her hands trembled so much she dropped the jewelry back into the case.
Just because there were cavalry, didn’t mean Creed would be riding with them. Hundreds of cavalry troops attended this event. She didn’t have to see him, did she? She drove all the way to Virginia from Biloxi for Ann’s wedding, not to relive the past, her past. Ann was the only reason.
Maybe he hadn’t even come, Kirsten rationalized. Perhaps he gave up reenacting long ago. If he married, his wife didn’t approve of his gallivanting around the countryside. Besides, Kirsten swore last night to erase the past and to go forward with her life.
She wouldn’t even look, just keep shopping with the other ladies searching through the stores of the sutlers. He didn’t matter. She didn’t care if Creed rode with them.
But as the pounding hooves on the dirt road grew closer, her heart mimicked their thunder. She wiped the perspiration from her quivering hands onto her skirt.
Get it over with. You’ll be anticipating him to be on every horse you hear or see. On the other hand, if she could avoid him for the weekend, she wouldn’t have to address the problems that plagued her so long.
Yet, if she came face-to-face with him again, she might be disappointed. Could it be that only his memory caused her heart to flutter? Curiosity more than anything else decided her actions.
Turning from the display case, she searched the columns of advancing cavalry and wondered if she would recognize him after three years. Had he changed? Had contentment turned his muscular body into fat? Did he still wear a scruffy beard or had he shaven his face clean?
Impulse drove her to the edge of the sutler’s tent. Hiding behind the rows of Confederate butternut jackets hanging at the edge of the tent so he wouldn’t see her, she peeked over the clothes as the tide of Yankee blue surged upon her. She could smell the horses, something she found repulsive before she met Creed. Even now the scent confronted her with past dreams.
Bay and sorrel horses pranced past her, their coats blanketed with flecks of white, foamy sweat. She glanced from face to face, searching for the one who made her anticipating heart threaten to burst from her body.
The snake-like column drew to an end. No Creed. Relief overcame curiosity, and she glided from her hiding place.
Then, as if the devil played with her heart, he appeared at the tail of the procession. Their eyes met. He squinted through the dust at her. Beneath his slouch hat, a frown creased his forehead, and his teeth clenched.
Recognition. Yes, he recognized her, and she recognized something also. If she ever doubted, she appreciated that he was still the most handsome man in the world, at least to her.
Since he saw her, she would acknowledge him and speak to him if he addressed her. She would seem polite yet unaffected by his presence. She would smile and then go back to her shopping. Steeling herself, Kirsten faced the man she would love forever.
In the time since she last saw him, he’d changed very little. He still exemplified everything a cavalry officer would have been in the 1860’s. The ebony horse he rode she knew as Rienzi was larger than the others and the officer, tall himself, towered over the men of his unit.
A shock of dark hair tumbled from under his slouch hat and curled over his navy blue frock coat. His beard, scruffy as if he just woke from the night and hadn’t shaved yet, wasn’t streaked with gray from age and worry. His eyes were the color of the sky against his suntanned face. Broad shoulders under his wool coat tapered to his waist then to long, sinewy legs clad in knee high boots.
Still as handsome as the first time she saw him. Even then he rode his horse behind the men in his company. Even then she shopped at the sutlers, and he noticed her and asked about her.
As he neared, she recalled his tousled hair when he woke at her side and how his original declaration of love caused her to sob so hard she couldn’t answer. Most of all, she remembered the look in his eyes as they glowed with desire.
Yet today was different, not just because they already had loved each other or because he proposed and she accepted. Her heart still trembled as it had every time she looked at him, but today was different mainly because a young boy, perhaps two years old, sat before him on the saddle. The child was a close duplicate of Creed from his black hair covered with a Yankee kepi to the boots on his tiny feet. He looked up at Creed with a smile and adoration.
Her heart tore apart. She strained to breathe. Was that his son? It had to be. They looked so much alike. Is this what our son would have looked like? She knew he had to be happy. He had everything, didn’t he?