Since my husband John got a temporary job on a film in Sydney, Australia, life has been far more interesting. â€œInterestingâ€ in this case means both good and hard. Iâ€™ve realized as Iâ€™ve gotten older that a hard life is not the same as a bad life, so Iâ€™m not going to classify anything here as bad. But there are hard parts.
Probably the worst is the cockroaches. Not the two or three a year you see in some apartments. Iâ€™m talking set a place â€˜cause theyâ€™re coming for dinner, try to kill them while shampooing, watch every shadow for movement quantities. A good day means I donâ€™t see any. A hard day is killing nine in the time it takes to get ready for church Sunday morning. (Swearing nine times before church isnâ€™t conducive to a worshipful attitude, but I find myself unable to keep my mouth shut when they come rushing out at me.)
John decided from the beginning of our adventure that we wouldnâ€™t complain about the hard parts. Weâ€™d say, â€œThatâ€™s okay, we live in Sydney, Australia!â€ We wanted an adventure and we got one. Weâ€™re both doing what weâ€™ve dreamed of for years â€“ heâ€™s a computer animator on a film, Iâ€™m a full-time novelist, and weâ€™re traveling the world. How can we complain?
And yet, thereâ€™s still the matter of those nasty roaches. So I named one of the villains in my superhero novel Cockroach. Heâ€™s small, agile, works mostly at night and has no regard for humanity. When I found a cockroach on my pillow last night, I decided my villain would leave something at his crime scenes, something foul and fear-inspiring, to let everyone know heâ€™d been there. Perhaps one of my superheroes will lose his grip and start seeing villains in every shadow the way I sometimes see imaginary cockroaches in the shadows of our apartment. A strange and lovely transformation usually occurs about then. I get so wrapped up in incorporating new ideas into the book that I forget the cockroaches!
Of course, that part of my brain sometimes stays active during inappropriate times as well. Like when I was enjoying some personal time with my husband and my necklace kept banging him in the chin. As I moved it behind my back, it occurred to me that a homing device or other signal could be put in a superheroes necklace to let her superhero husband know if she needed reinforcements. Or a communications device could be put into both of their wedding rings. Or maybeâ€¦
About this time, I realized I wasnâ€™t focused on the current activity. There was no way I could stop and ask for a pen and paper; I could only hope Iâ€™d remember later. But recently I got ticked off at myself because I thought of something really cool in the shower and by the time I dried off and found my notebook, the idea was gone. While I was muttering un-nice things about myself, the thought popped into my head, â€œThatâ€™s okay, Iâ€™m a writer.â€ In the space of a few heartbeats, all my frustrations and hopes and successes of the last three months coalesced into an â€œAha!â€ moment. What do I have to complain about? Iâ€™m a writer!
The distractions are as much a part of a writerâ€™s life as cockroaches are part of the life of a world traveler. Thatâ€™s okay. Iâ€™ll figure out creative ways to deal with them. The frustration that Iâ€™m no longer employed, yet I donâ€™t spend those extra forty hours writing, is normal. Itâ€™ll take time to build new habits to go with my new job just as it took time to learn new money and bus routes and vocabulary in a new land. The successes are too often ignored? Thatâ€™s okay. Writers are like that. Iâ€™ll find fun ways to celebrate â€“ and fun ways to remind myself to celebrate. If Iâ€™m creative enough to build a whole new superhero world out of my imagination, Iâ€™m creative enough to meet these challenges.
So after three months down under, Iâ€™m learning to be a lot more flexible and forgiving and creative as I adjust not only to a new country, but to my new life as a full-time novelist.
Your blog took me through the “yuck” factor of cockroaches on pillows, to the hilarity of knowing that as writers our creative thoughts can pop up at inapproiate moments, to finding inspiration (and superheros) in our everyday challenges.
Thank you for your fun look at life down under!
Sandy Brown Ways & Means Director, OCC
on April 10, 2006
A cockroach on your pillow! ::shudder::
Aside from that, it sounds like you’re adjusting to life in Australia! And how cool that you’ve been inspired to create a new villian to reflect your experience.
Miss you at the meetings, but keep your blogs coming, okay?