At Work

OfficeIt’s kind of strange to be back home in my office, working on another book.  (No, I’m not saying what it’s about!  Not yet.)  When Flower Confidential came out and I was going to be on the road for almost three months, I realized that it was finally time for me to give up the last vestiges of a normal life and write full time. 

I’d always had some kind of day job or non-writing work before, but leading up to the book tour, it became clear that this was going to be impossible. Even when I was home, there were days when I would have seven or eight radio interviews by phone in one day.  And now, the interview requests still trickle in, I’ve got one or two speaking engagements in the works every month, a few magazine editors waiting on articles, and this new book to write.

So now I find myself completely free of the 8 -5 life for the first time ever.  It’s only been a few weeks since the end of the book tour travel, so I’m still getting used to it. I had always imagined that if I didn’t have any kind of job at all, I would completely abandon the idea of weekends or work days.  I would spend all day Wednesday in the garden, for example, or I would do whatever I wanted in the morning, when I’m not really awake anyway, and work late into the evening instead.

But so far, I find myself sticking to a routine that’s not too different than it ever was.  Saturdays feel too much like Saturday for me to want to work.  I go to the farmers market in the morning, and then the nursery, and you just can’t convince me to sit down at the computer after that.  And in the mornings, I’m finished with coffee and newspaper by about 9:30, and I’m pretty much ready to get to work, even if I do spend the first hour answering e-mails or doing other foolish little tasks that don’t require much brain power.  And I still haven’t quite got my mind around the idea that I can just take off and go somewhere for a week or two without asking anyone’s permission-except for my bank account.

Oh yeah, the bank account.  That’s the tricky bit. Health insurance has been fun, too.  We’re trying out a health savings account, which I guess makes us part of the great Republican healthcare experiment.  Lovely.

So far, the best part about this is the luxury of time.  Hours go by and my phone doesn’t ring at all.  On most days, the calendar is completely blank.  Nobody expects anything from me.  That, to me, is an utter delight.  I can just about get one page of my new book written every day, and I love watching the pages accumulate.  It feels like I’m making progress, but it also feels totally manageable.

I’m not usually the sort of person who posts little inspirational sayings above her desk, but right now there’s a card on my bulletin board that says: "Ever notice how ‘What the hell?’ is always the right decision?" 

This is going to be my "What the hell?" summer.  I’ll let you know how it goes.