"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bend me, shape me, any way you want me

Printer's Row Lit Fest is happening this weekend in Chicago. I had never heard of this until I began my journey with Freezer Burn. My book is, theoretically, available for sale; I sold 17 copies at the LA Times Festival of Books, and I could be selling it in Chicago this weekend.

Except that I can't go, which truly sucks because I love Chicago.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful publisher, Karen Syed, who is taking copies of Freezer Burn with her, along with some promo materials and clear labels with my signature to affix for those who want an autograph.

So why can't I just hop on a plane and travel 2000 miles? Because today is my son's spring choir concert. The end of the year concert is a big deal at Valencia High School. Any senior (in one of the choirs) who wants to sing a solo is given the opportunity. Yes, it means there are a few clunkers, and YES, the show is about a million hours long, but it's lovely and fun and poignant and a Don't Miss.

On Monday, I will escort the VHS Just Jazz vocal group to my former employer, Raytheon, to sing at a Diversity Luncheon, then I'll scramble about to get the choir's end-of-the-year banquet set up. It's been a tough year for the choir; the Guvernator slashed and burned through school budgets, wounding the arts severely, and the economy kept most parents from writing as many donation checks as in years past. The banquet this year is a potluck, and we're happy to get that.

So there's the beginning of my dilemma. Next year, my son is a senior in high school. I will be the president of the VHS Choir Booster Club. And I will have a book to sell.

See this picture?

That's me on the left. To the right, you'll notice every woman's unholy trinity – family, home, career. For the next year, I'll be waking up to these questions every morning:

1. What events in my son's life am I willing to sacrifice in order to increase my book sales?
2. What promotional and sales opportunities am I willing to sacrifice in order to be there for my son?
3. Where does my relationship with my husband fit into all this?
4. Where can I find a good housecleaner?

If I could, this is how I'd resolve my problem:

Before it turns into this:

Thoughts, anyone?


Patricia Stoltey said...

It's about balance and priorities, and squeezing a whole lot of cooperation from your family.

For what it's worth, however, my kids are all grown and away from home now, and I'm very conscious of the kid hours I missed because I worked while they were young. That's time I can't ever get back.


Alexis Grant said...

Ha, now that I read the post, I get the title!

I'm still hubby-less and child-less, focusing very much on me. But I respect your willingness to find such a balance in life!

Karen Walker said...

It's a constant challenge, finding balance, but you will figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there - even if by a thread!! LOL

Great post and can SO often relate.

ps - I'm also a Chicago lover. :)

The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I've been to the Printer's Row Lit Fest but as a reader not a writer. Now I'd like to see it from the other side but so far the timing hasn't worked out. I guess that shows that even after kids grow up and leave home one still has to deal with priorities and time issues.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Very nice use of graphics to make your points. I especially like the last two, but, you’re blog posts are always clever. You’re right about Chicago, it is a fun place to visit, maybe underrated on that score. And, by the way, 17book sales is huge…particularly in this economy. Very, very, good job. I’m sooo jealous.

Best Regards, Galen.

Anonymous said...

I had to first enlist the support of my family before writing my book. I told them there would be extended periods of time where they would only see the back of my head.

Once I received their support, I made sure to strike a balance by taking breaks, getting yearly Disneyland passes, eating with them (very important), and doing little family outings like going to the grocery store and running short errands together.

Of course, big events such as a child's choir recital are a must to attend. Your family will have to sacrifice, as will you, to make this work. Its great you have a friend to represent you in Chicago. You can't do it alone. Its a team effort including family and friends.

- Stephen Tremp

N A Sharpe said...

It seems to be a tough balancing act all the time. What is great is when the family understands and is there for you as your cheerleaders and support network...just as you are for them. Priorities sometimes cross into fuzzy grey areas and that's when it is hardest on everyone. You are doing a great job, so you are obviously doing something right. You are one of the success stories.

Nancy, from Just a Thought…

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