Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm

I tend to make analogies based on the weather. I think New Englanders do that as a rule. It's the one true constant in our lives, especially this time of year. Last Thursday, we were supposed to get an inch of snow, with possible snow/rain showers for the rest of the day. 8 inches of flurries later, they decided to plow the roads. Yesterday, it was such a beautiful, clear-blue day. We call such days weather breeders here. The calm before the storm. Now, the weather people are calling for 8-12 inches overnight and through tomorrow. Do we believe them? Not a chance. This time, we'll probably end up with 4 inches because at 41 degrees, it's too freakin' warm to snow!

Anyway, my reference to the calm before the storm doesn't really have anything to do with the weather, but with my agent quest. The first agent, who asked to have a 2 week exclusive read, should be getting back to me by tomorrow. The second agent, who I asked to wait, received Eyes of Garnet yesterday, and again, she requested a 2 week exclusive read. Perhaps the word calm isn't the best choice, as I've been anything but. Antsy, anxious, impatient is more like it.

Have you ever wondered why a deadline comes up too quickly, yet a goal takes forever to arrive? How is it possible, and how do we get around it? If I had a choice of superpowers, bending time would top my list, next to invisibility. Imagine being able to have your goals met within hours and your deadlines stretched out for months!

So I wait.

While I've been waiting, I've been getting a lot of writing done, and since my new book about Gregor Macgregor isn't research-heavy, so it's just pure writing. Fun. And where I'm writing as a man and in the first person, it's challenging, as well. I feel a bit like an actor. Before I begin writing, I have to get into Gregor's head: become him so I'm not writing like I was Catrìona Robertson.

I tend to giggle alot when I'm writing as him. He's funny, sarcastic, and exudes confidence, even though inside he's sometimes unsure. In that man's world, where warriors are strong and courageous, he exists as big as the times he lived in. Hard times, violent times. No wonder so many authors like to write about time travel. It makes a writer wonder and speculate about what it would be like if such a man were to jump into our future. Would he find it easier or more difficult? It is pure speculation though, and I think that's why I still prefer historical fiction. It's grounded. And while I may speculate how my characters lived during that time, it's based in truth.

So when I tell about the violence and injustice my characters face, it was how it was during that time period. Not everyone lived. I've been criticized for killing off too many of my characters, but times really were that hard. We have no idea what it would be like to have a war on our own soil, or to be hunted just because we had a specific last name.

Wait, I take that last part back. Some people do know what that's like. Those with Islamic names are looked at through wary, prejudiced eyes by many. Have we really not changed so much after all? But wait, again. We do have a black president now. If asked if that were possible even ten years ago, the answer would have been no way. I'll still never understand why there is a culture/color segregation, or why there ever was one. Who made the decision that one culture/color was better than the other? When did it happen?

Scientists speculate that the human race emanated from five woman. Five African women. I can hear the skinheads cringing now. But what if it's true? We would all be related. If we were all related, would we suddenly all get along better? Doubtful, isn't it. Hell, immediate families have a hard time getting along. I prefer to think that life is a play. We come here with a part. Some good, some bad, some creative, some analytical. How we mesh with the other characters is part of the play. The question is, do you want your play to be a flop, or are you out to gain a long running, multi-national phenom? It's up to each of us in the choices we make each and every day.

So go out and make your best decisions based on how they will affect those around you. Perhaps then when we use the phrase, the calm before the storm, it will really be weather related.


TerriRainer said...

Still have my fingers crossed about the agents!!!!

:) Terri

Mary Duncan said...

Yah, you and me both!

Lee W said...

Hi Mare,

Great news about your (YOUR??) agent. I hope things get finalized soon.

Let me know the best day to pick up my copy of Double Vision - Can't wait to read it.
Give my love to that beastly brother of mine.