Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Withdrawals

That's one good thing about the holidays: They give you a chance to withdraw from life, if only for a brief time, and forget the normal things and think of and do different things.

This Christmas we left home on the 23rd and drove to Meade, Kansas. A little more than 7 hour drive, north to Joplin then across southern Kansas to the beginning of the high plains. The route is beautiful, through quaint little towns like Baxter Springs (on old Route 66), Chepota, Wellington, Medicine Lodge, and Coldwater. The landforms are varied, with the vegetation gradually thinning the farther west you get, along with the houses, and grain elevators becoming the dominant man made feature, other than the asphalt our tires hum on. Ranch land and farmland alternate. The winter wheat looks good this year. We saw lots of evidence of harvested cotton, which is a crop changes from years past.

Once in Meade, our Internet service was rather short lived, due to a computer failure of the wireless Internet service we used. So even brief checks of Facebook and e-mail became impossible. I had to delay my blog post, wasn't able to track my page views and income on Suite101 (which, as it turned out, didn't matter due to massive computer failures there that left the writers unable to access statistics for several days and which still isn't fully rectified). So I just partook in family activities. Ate too much. Played lots of Rummycube. Attended church services. Talked with relatives. Drove past places of my wife's childhood. Visited the museum. Ate even more. Talked even more. Alas, saw no football this last weekend, since neither the cousin or her mom had a sports package with their Direct TV.

Through all of this, I didn't think too much about writing, except when Lynda's brother kept asking me about the next version of my biography of their great-grandfather. We toured his ranch on Monday, first time I've been there in 35 years. We visited with the woman who now owns the spread, and she wanted to buy a copy of the book, Seth Boynton Cheney: Mystery Man of the West. Actually, she wants two (one delivered, and one to be printed). This is my first "book", self-published on company copiers with relatively simple graphics, plastic comb binding, and lots of genealogy tables and information. But it was nice to have someone express some interest in the book. I've given away about 20 copies to relatives, maybe even 30 copies, and before this the only ones to express any interest in it are Lynda's brother, one cousin in California, one cousin in England, and the local museum curator. Everyone else I've given it to has said absolutely nothing. Not one word of feedback.

Of course, that's what I've come to expect from relatives and my writing. Almost no one is interested. One of Lynda's cousins asks, every time I see her, if I'm still writing poetry, but never asks to see any. It seems to be more of a courtesy thing than real interest. And no relative, knowing I write novels, has ever expressed an interest in reading them. That is, until this trip. Two in-laws of that same cousin said they'd like to read Doctor Luke's Assistant. So I'll print and send them the latest version, and see what happens.

Well, I don't want to exaggerate. My cousin Sue read Doctor Luke's Assistant serially as I was writing it. She is a writer too (and a regular reader of this blog, I believe), and she expressed interest. Although, I've never bought a copy of her book and read it. So maybe I shouldn't be too hard on relatives.

But it was nice to leave the pressure of office, writing, stock market, and all things regular for a few days. Here I am now, in Oklahoma City at my daughter and son-in-law's house, where computer access is easy, checking Suite 101 and e-mail and firing off blog posts. I'm still ignoring most of my normal life, though a little football would be nice. We'll head home more likely Saturday. Thus we'll be on our normal Sunday schedule. I'll be back to writing. I'll be able to watch all the football I can stand.

But I'll think fondly of our week away from the routine, and hope for something similar next year.


Gary said...

Radio sports talk show chatter (isn't English a marvelous language with which we can string a series of nouns together to describe something parsimoniously and well?) is suggesting that the KC Chiefs may meet the NE Patriots in a playoff game. That will be some football to watch.

David A. Todd said...

If the Chiefs and Pats meet in the playoffs, I'll have to root for the Pats, even though KC was home base for 14 years.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dave I read your blog all the time. I've never left. I just withhold comments, until today. Your writing is enviable, I wish I had your technical skills and I wish I could impart to you some of my passion you lack. We could build a great book, you supplying the bones and I the flesh. And... I have become quite the FFB gal. I have been in my son's league and guess who is in the playoffs?
G-Ma's boys! (Me) And I have Cassel(KCC)and Brady (Pat)QB"S... and I am green, this being my first year... write on Cuz

David A. Todd said...

Hi Suz. I thought that you were my mystery reader from the Dayton area. Hope you are well, and that Ohio is agreeing with your Florida-raised system.

Never played fantasy football, mainly due to time I suppose. It sounds like an interesting pursuit for my retirement in 7 or so years, though writing will no doubt be more enjoyable. I still have a passion for writing, but realism (about the publishing industry) unfortunately rears it's ugly head from time to time.