Equilibrium?

How do you balance your time between writing and the business of being an indie author? Well, today I spent my free time interacting with people on Facebook. It may not sell books directly, although a strong presence on the internet should boost my career. But regarding balance, it is a tricky question. How does one find a balance? If one doesn’t write one can’t publish, and if one doesn’t publish, there isn’t much point in vying for an audience. Without an audience there isn’t much point in writing in the first place, and so the ring closes. One has to promote, or there won’t be any sales. But, most independent authors have no choice but to hold down a job to pay the bills. That reduces writing and promoting time, as does looking after the household, balancing the accounts, filling in the tax returns, being a competent hostess, guide, teacher, and muse, feeding the cat, the baby, or whatever livestock might be dependent on a poor overworked author. Still there must be a balance somewhere in the whirl of tasks.

It is important to have talent for writing, but it is vital to have a talent for organizing big productions. Women are said to be masters at multitasking, but do they hold a candle to authors? They say that female writes of old had to hide their manuscripts under their embroidery, or in the mending basket, and sneak in a few words whenever the head of the family wasn’t looking. Are we that different? We are certainly stretched thin, when we propose to be authors, publishers, parents, workers, teachers, housekeepers, laundry persons, cooks, and still manage to have a reasonable output.

I know it is difficult, but it is doable. It must be doable. In one of my life periods, I took care of a baby, a teenager, sixteen rabbits, a Shetland pony, three sheep and a ram, a family of goats, twelve hens, a family of dwarf poultry, a cat, and a dog. At the same time, I taught singing at a music academy, toured with a children’s opera, made costumes for three productions, and had a small business writing out sheet music for various composers. If I could do that I should be able to juggle almost anything? I’m still confident that I will develop a method to balance my time between writing and the business of being an indie author. I just haven’t quite got there yet.

© HMH 2017

Triptych

The Casting Couch

Seventy-five and still going strong

Boasting his penchant for rating a thong

Old head on old shoulders wishing for luck

Using his chutzpah to push for a suck:

Elderly pig, wanting firm and young flesh

Romance and lust but with somebody fresh

Offering infamy as his sole bargain

Sure, she won’t dare drawing down the old curtain

That which would sever her last claim for fame

Should she so dare he is willing to maim

 

Second Proposition

Strange how repetitive fortune can be

The first one was never so easy to see

But this time the message was clear and so cold

The bargain was: either comply or be sold

 

Another Variety

Mostly those people with power are subtle

They pull on the strings and thus, making you scuttle,

You never take in what they carry in mind

You must pay for the jobs that you do, but in ‘kind’

Maybe it takes you some time to consider

But make one mistake and the upshot is bitter

Revenge or oblivion always transpires

Don’t wonder at all re the crossing of wires.

If you find you’re trapped with your hair in a mailbox

No reason, my friend, for climbing a soapbox

Divulging the sickness won’t heal any rift

It merely must warn any would-be to drift

Escaping the casting couch is a rare talent

And unwary people slip into abasement

But this doesn’t mean you must give up the fight

Make sure that your bark isn’t worse than your bite

Only so you can surely prevent all that grief

Unaware of the dangers you’ll find this path brief

A career must be nurtured: don’t let in any thief

Take warning, my dear, and turn a new leaf

 

From ‘Wimps and Pimps’

 

© HMH 2015

The Little Old Table

My great grandmother had a sewing table, a real beauty. I remember it from my granny’s flat when I was a child. Later it came to me. It stands in my home now and has followed me from Denmark to England, and later to Bremerhaven. I think I’d bring it with me, wherever I might go.

This table always held a strange attraction to me. Without a doubt, it inspired certain scenes in my debut novel, Snares and Delusions.

What is so special about it? Apart from the high polish and stylish legs, it contains small treasures from long ago. Under the lid that hinges on the back of the table, little compartments, each with a cover, hides old lace, crocheted gloves, a tatting shuttle, and a mysterious photo of a man I don’t recognize. This photo is enclosed in a narrow gold frame. It was probably taken by a professional photographer. The man in the photo looks distinguished, he wears formal clothes of a bygone time. The sepia coloured picture is fading, and would probably have disappeared completely, if it hadn’t been hidden in the table. Underneath the table is a large drawer, which was full of lace-making bobbins. I took them out, when I was trying to learn lace-making. I didn’t get far, but I still remember the basics. I believe it was made by a Danish cabinet-maker around the turn of the century, but there is no manufacturer’s placard to help identify its origin.

Whoever owns it anon, and hears it, will never know what a history hangs upon this creak from long ago. Thomas Hardy

© HMH 2017