I used to be a good guest
My mother taught me to always ask the host or hostess if I could help in any way.
I always kept the bathroom I was using absolutely clean. I always arrived with something—a bottle of wine, some oranges from my tree, a homemade dessert, a new book.
I always stripped the sheets from the bed I’d been using and put those and any towels I’d used into the wash.
This was all before I decided to write books, when I lived a normal life.
Now, well, not so much.
For Memorial Day, I drove a couple hundred miles to visit friends. These aren’t casual acquaintances, these are people I’ve known for years. I went to high school with him, she’s my closest friend. I’ve spent enough time at their house over the years that I know where they keep extra towels and toilet paper.
Because I’m in the middle of writing two novellas for my Kandesky vampire series, I put off getting ready until Saturday morning. That meant I crammed watering the yard and plants, finishing laundry, finding the cat and putting him outside with enough food for two days, asking the neighbors if they’d pick my the newspapers and throw them on the porch, cleaning up the kitchen and packing into too few hours. Complicated by two phone calls from critique group members, I was w-a-a-a-y behind schedule so I just grabbed clothes—enough clothes to spend a month.
When I knocked on their door, I was an hour-and-a-half later than I’d said. Thankfully, they know me and hadn’t held lunch.
Because we all write and read a lot (she’s the executive editor for a group of papers, he’s a lawyer and mediator), conversations always revolve around what we’re currently reading, what we just finished reading, what we’re planning to reading next, and I tried, I honestly tried, to engage in the discussion without constantly talking about my own books. I also tried to stay engaged in the conversation. This was hard as I’m working through some plot problems and I don’t know how to leave them behind.
I managed, until we went out to shopping and lunch, a 45-minute drive. They were chatting in the front seat when one of them turned to me and asked a question. I said, “Huh?”
They looked at each other, turned to me and said, “What are you doing?” I must have had a blank stare while idly watching traffic go by.
“Writing,” I said.
I did help with dinner, I did strip my bed, I did tidy the bathroom.
But if you ask a writer to spend time with you, be aware that she’s only partly there. Her characters may be more engrossing than your company.
Drier is working on Plague: A Love Story, the third book in the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles. Books one and two, SNAP: The World Unfolds and SNAP: New Talent are available at Amazon in Kindle format.