I AM FORTUNATE. I can follow Emerson’s wise advice. Being semi-employed and only mildly (knock wood) occupied fixing broken things, I can do so. Well, honestly, that could be a typo – sometimes I am wildly occupied with fixing stuff. Yesterday, at -25 Celcius, I positioned the extension ladder and had Janice spot me as I climbed up to brush the ice off of our internet dish. Lifeline re-established.
We tramp the trails; feed the birds; chop holes in the ice and fish; cut firewood and basically Daniel Boone the shit out of each day. (A more current pop culture reference: “…basically Survivor the shit out of each day.” Take your pick.)
In all of this, I have established a pleasing discipline to write, edit, re-write, edit some more, blog, tweet, facebook, submit. Repeat.
My usual routine is:
- Morning exercise. Today I flooded the little rink I have scraped out of the snow on the ice. This afternoon, I will skate on it. I often row, paddleboard, windsurf or X-country ski – depending on season; conditions; state of mind; state of joints and relative orneriness of arthritis. I also sit on my arse and stare at the lake. Vigorously, mind you, and pardon the orphaned adverb.
- Yoga – watched by inscrutable Pine Grosbeaks and a large Raven who swoops by and utters in disdain what can ONLY be cuss caws as I display my comical inflexibility
- Breakfast and (Ah!) coffee
- Numb my nether cheeks on the outdoor biffy — no welcoming Japanese toilet/bidet with an electronically warmed and automated seat; pleasing music; cleansing spritzers of rose-petal infused water and soothing lighting. (Sorry to subject you to all this #2 detail, but many of us N of 60 – years not latitude – are proud of this moving occurrence and so, I am actually bragging.)
- Write ’til noon or so
- Lunch with Jan followed by a hike together on one of the trails or out on the frozen lake. Chop wood, fix things; build things, read things. Do a little contract marketing work if there is something in the inbox.
- Write some more fiction
- Beer-o’clock around 4 bells or later if I am deep in the belly of the creative beast
- Supper and then a fire and visiting with friends or TV or more writing. I try to make this a non-writing time, but you know; if it happens, it happens.
I spent the last 45 years NOT following a utopian day timer like this, so I never feel too guilty about it. In fact, if I followed the playbook of many of my Mennonite brethren, I’d say I earned this routine; or was selected to receive it as a divine reward. (You know – score a touchdown and point to the sky?)
If anything, I fell ass-backwards into all this, oblivious to the great fortune it took – over generations – to allow me to drink the wild air.
To put things in perspective: A few days ago I helped a neighbour with his annual wintertime boat dock tasks. He brought along a church-sponsored immigrant to help out and also to receive a Manitoba winter driving lesson.
The fellow, Yussef, was not exactly built for winter in Manitoba. An Ethiopian by birth, this resilient young man spent nine years in the world’s largest refugee camp in Somalia. There he and half-a-million co-inhabitants lived in tents or cardboard shanties in a dystopian desert hell. Here, the three of us stood out on the frozen lake, the nearest human miles away across the barren ice. The sky was blue. The Raven skimmed by and croaked, “Tourists!” at us, a grin on his pointy beak.
“Where does the water begin,” Yussef said in his British influenced, African accented English.
“There,” I answered, pointing back to the shore where we had come from. Yussef stopped shivering and literally jumped up in the air when he realized he was standing on the ice.
Anyway – I live at the lake and write fiction every day.
I figured it was important that you know. Blog on, my writerly brothers and sisters.
allfornow – mitch
P.S. – That is P for promotion and S for shameless & self OR it could be PS for Please See my publications page for links to the 14 short stories that I have had accepted so far. Red Fez, a stylish and well-organized literary site online, has just picked up number 15 – the Bart Starr of my short story published list. It is a Christmassy story of life in Russia circa 1920, “Our German Relative”. They will publish it soon. I’ll letcha know when that happens and also make sure I announce Joe Montana, as soon as that one comes along.