Picking up the Threads

(Originally published Oct. 10,2007).

The other day, my husband, in his usual tactful manner, inquired what was wrong with me. His exact words, as I recall, were, “What the hell’s the matter with you? I feel like I’m walking on eggs all the time.”

And so, we had words. According to him, I was cranky, touchy, and over-sensitive; in short, not my usual cheery and even-tempered self. Naturally, I denied everything. Seething at his lack of sensitivity, I slouched away, muttering under my breath.

But his unjust accusation got me thinking. Truth be told, I had been feeling out of sorts. And it was remotely possible I might have taken some of my frustration on him. I’m not saying I did, mind you. That being the case, I reasoned, what was eating me? Ah, that was the million dollar question! We had just finished celebrating the summer with some outstanding vacations, so what right did I have to be crabby?

After a few hours of painful introspection, I finally isolated the root cause — I hadn’t done any significant work on my second book since late spring when I had abandoned ‘Fur Ball Fever’ in favour of travel. Here’s the thing. Since early June, I’ve been out of town on five vacations totalling almost eight weeks, well nine if you count preparation and recovery. To compound my delinquency, one of my trips, a biking holiday in the Netherlands, required a training program — a rigorous six weeks of progressively more difficult biking trips around Ottawa — thus consuming the greater part of July and August. Last but not least, I’m heading off again for vacation numero six — four days to visit my son in Banff followed by an overnight visit with a friend in Calgary and ending with the four-day Surrey International Writers Conference in Vancouver, during which I intend to pitch a terrific book I’m unable to finish.

Mystery solved, I hastened to apologize to my husband, admit my guilt, and make some grovelling amends. Next, I picked up the threads of my plot and characters by re-reading what I had written. Unbelievably, I liked what I read. I even laughed out loud a couple of times. For two days now, I have been writing like a fiend, another chapter is almost finished, and household harmony is restored.