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.
And thatâ€™s super-okay.
AUTHORâ€™S NOTE: Only one cockroach was killed in the writing of this article. For more on our adventures, go to http://johninaustralia.blogspot.com.
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