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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Good Chaos

This morning, Andrea asked me if I was sad that I had missed my high school reunion the night before.  I am sad, a bit. Somehow, incredibly, over 30 years have passed since my classmates and I crossed the stage for our class of 1992 graduation.  I didn’t attend earlier reunions, but made the 25th.  That’s the time things start to get interesting anyway.  By then, life has sucker punched each of us in the face at least once, which is a recipe for humility and an antidote for ego. Some people needed that sucker punch more than others but it gets doled out indiscriminately.

Honestly, adding round trip travel to Illinois on top of the other chaos I’m trying to manage would have likely driven me to the loony bin. I spent the first part of my week in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with my leadership team from work. Last weekend, I had the great idea that I’d get up early, pack, and get out the door. I’m not a morning person so most ideas involving morning are bad ideas and this one was a bad idea.  It’s interesting how quickly you can get out of a more structured routine if you work from home like I do.  My phone buzzed to alert me my hotel was ready for me and I stepped into my hallway, topless and wailed, “Well does it look like I’m ready for my hotel?! No!”

My bad timing turned out to be impeccable.  I rolled into the hotel parking lot with 5 minutes to spare prior to the impromptu lunch that had been assembled minutes before.

My CEO completed his MBA this year and has met someone through the program who worked for the Gettysburg Foundation and we did a team building program there this week.  I didn’t know what to expect but it was the best team building I’ve ever participated in. I grew up in Illinois (Land of Lincoln - as in Abraham) so here’s what I recall about my education around the civil war….

South bad. North good. Good guys win. Yay, Abraham Lincoln. Oh shit, Abe was assassinated.

I’m sure the word shit was omitted and that more was covered but I wasn’t what you’d call an astute student in my younger years. But moving to the “south” and living in confederate territory has been more of an education than school ever was. Yesterday, I attended day one of a 2-day Richmond writers conference and met a man who has co-authored 2 books and the 2nd one was about the Civil War in Richmond. Unfortunately, that book came out as the monuments were coming down in Richmond so it wasn’t an ideal time to promote that book so he didn’t.

This past week, our pergola and the invasive, wisteria that had grown atop of it for years was dismantled.  The wooded pergola snapped under the weight. It was hard to find someone to take the project on and for a price that wasn’t horrible. The price was bad - not horrible.  But now that it’s done, it looks better than I’d imagined - with the wisteria gone, we have a patio that sunlight touches which is nice as the backyard is shady and cave like.

Renovations continue at the river cottage. Andrea and I are hoping we can get in there next weekend & stay there for the first time so we can roll out of bed and paint. Of course, our ability to do that will depend on if the toilet is back in the bathroom versus on the deck which is where we last saw it. Details.

Annnddddd my book. Here’s the story…I got the green light from the publisher that they wanted to move forward with my book. This doesn’t mean it’s a god damn masterpiece - it means I wrote enough words. The publisher is a hybrid publisher which means instead of them giving me an advance, I’m footing the bill to promote this sucker. I could have said, “Mmmmm. No.” But honestly, publishing a book is harder than I imagined. So I feel fine with this situation as they will edit, get the cover art done, and hold my hand through this process. I have one week left with my developmental editor which means I’m at a final push to complete a chapter, conclusion, and I’d love to have her lay eyes on my back cover blurb. I am now attending day 2 of the writers conference.  It’s been good and my head is about to explode.  Honestly, it amazes me books reach the shelf - but they do - at a rate of over 400k books each year and that’s in the US alone. So imagine what it takes to be a best seller? Basically, all fantasies of me ascending Stephen King status have been dashed.  Not that I really thought that - I mean, I am not writing in that genre for one. But! I qthought it in the same way that I imagined winning an Olympic gold medal when I was a kid. Not that I ever had any athletic talent but I could definitely ice skate in my bedroom in my imagination.

So all good things, the above, and I keep reminding myself of that because it’s a lot to juggle at once. Thank god for Andrea who is keeping the pets alive and our home from falling into complete chaos. Our dining room is acting as a staging area of stuff for the cottage - like a set of sheets, a comforter, etc. So it is chaotic. But good chaos.

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