Tag Archive for: Busy

Examining the Past

by Linda Rodriguez
We are preparing for the early-August
final walk-through prior to selling our big house and moving to our
new, drastically smaller home in early September. I’ve been
decluttering and downsizing my home of 42 years for months now—in
the midst of final cancer treatments, multitudes of writing/ editing/
teaching deadlines, and the vicissitudes of daily life. So it’s no
surprise that I’ve been revisiting the past lately as I sort through
family belongings and oh-so-many papers.

The first thing that catches my eye is
that I used to do so much. It feels like I’m constantly busy now, but
I’ve had to learn to slow down and say, “no,” because of
autoimmune disease and cancer. My schedule now, packed with deadlines
as it is, is nothing compared to the schedules I used to keep twenty
years ago with a demanding full-time job in higher education
administration, lucrative fiberart and writing commissions on the
side, almost a full-time job as a community volunteer (at one point,
I sat on almost 30 boards), and a grade-schooler, two young adults,
and a husband to take care of at home.

I look at a week’s schedule printed
out, hour-by-hour, to send to my boss to show that I really couldn’t
take on the major project he wanted me to lead, and I shake my head
at days that run from 6:00 a.m. breakfast meetings to late-night
meetings after an evening event with every hour in between packed
with meetings, activities, and events. (Spoiler: I gave in and added
that requested project to my already bursting-at-the-seams calendar.)
What I can’t figure out is how I planned all the programs and wrote
all the speeches, reports, and articles with days like that. Then, I
read a note from one of my graduate interns, joking about a wee-hours
assignment email—“Do you ever sleep?”

Suddenly, I remember that feeling of
running constantly on just a couple of hours of sleep a night. That
feeling of being always a few steps short of complete collapse
whenever the adrenaline would run out. Those were crazy
times—immensely productive but absolutely mad. It’s probably no
wonder that I developed a couple of autoimmune diseases, which are
often triggered by constant stress for too long a period.

I’m locked in another stressful period
now, as I attempt to clear my house of its decades-long collection of
family heirlooms and detritus, so I can start packing for the move to
the new home. It has seemed a Sisyphean task, at moments, as I’ve
tried to fulfill other obligations at the same time, but I’ve made a
point of trying to ensure a decent night’s sleep along the way, and
now, the end is finally in sight. Age brings with it some basic sense
and the realization that we must take care of our bodies and minds if
we don’t want them to rebel against us. Now, I couldn’t handle a
schedule like that weekly one I found among my papers, and rather
than feeling sorry for that, I’m glad I’ve become smart enough not to

Have you had crazy busy times in your
life? Do you find, as you grow older, that you are much more willing
to say, “no,” and set firm limits?

Linda Rodriguez’s Plotting the
Character-Driven Novel,
based on her popular workshop, and The
World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East
an anthology she co-edited, are her newest books. Every Family
, her fourth mystery novel featuring Cherokee campus police
chief, Skeet Bannion, will appear in autumn, 2017. Her three earlier
Skeet novels—Every Hidden Fear, Every Broken Trust,
and Every Last Secret—and
her books of poetry—Skin Hunger
and Heart’s Migration—have
received critical recognition and awards, such as St. Martin’s
Press/Malice Domestic Best First Novel, International
Latino Book Award, Latina Book Club Best Book of 2014, Midwest Voices
& Visions, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Thorpe Menn Award, and
Ragdale and Macondo fellowships.
Her short story, “The Good
Neighbor,” published in the anthology, Kansas City Noir, has
been optioned for film.

Rodriguez is past chair of the AWP
Indigenous Writer’s Caucus, past president of Border Crimes chapter
of Sisters in Crime, founding board member of Latino Writers
Collective and The Writers Place, and a member of International
Thriller Writers, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and
Storytellers, and Kansas City Cherokee Community. Visit her at

Busy, Busy, Busy

Though I keep saying I’m going to slow down, it doesn’t seem to work out that way.

I’ve sent my next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery to my publisher, and of course, the niggling thought is there, I better plan the promotion.

I’m also writing the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery–and I need to really get busy on it.

Oh, and yes, Thanksgiving is coming. Everyone’s coming to my house this year–which includes a few more than usual. I cook the turkey, dressing and candied sweet potatoes fortunately others are bringing items. (I also cooked a turkey and made dressing for our church’s Thanksgiving potluck.)

I’ve been working on a promotion for a .99 cent Kindle book, more about that in December.

I’m the newsletter editor for two organizations–one is monthly, the other is due the end of the month.

I’ve been doing some holiday boutique sales where I can display and sell my books. I enjoy these because it’s a chance to actually talk with readers. And of course, promotion is a given.

Christmas is coming and books make wonderful gifts. I’ve always been thrilled to receive books since I was a kid.

And because it’s so near Thanksgiving, I have to say that I”m thankful that I am able to still do all these things at my age.

What is going on in  your lives? I know authors are always writing, but what else is filling your days?