January in my Kitchen
January and February are my most important months for composing new work. The holidays recede and life grows quiet on the family front and the cold and stillness of lower Michigan keep me indoors and introspective. It is a good time for memory work and a good time to experiment. I work in my kitchen because my office gets too cold and I really like working in my kitchen from where I can see snow, wind, deer, squirrels and early darkness, stars, sometimes the moon. In the past few years, I have gotten more comfortable with working late at night--something I never did when I was younger. For decades it was always morning, morning, morning. Now I sometimes feel the most alive in my writing after dark, including the last few hours of my day. A good lesson--all habits can change and change can be liberating. This particular January, I caught the winter flu from my granddaughter during the holidays. Beatrice was sick for 3 days, Grandmother was sick for 3 weeks. Bronchitis and a relentless cough. All schedules and routines set aside. Insomnia from cold medicine and coughing. Except that I was never too sick to write and I wrote all the time because there was little else to do. An occasional streamed movie or series to break up the days, but mostly I was in the inner world of my story. I am working on a new novel, maybe middle-grade, not sure, about a quintet of mermaid sisters. Somehow the combination of minor illness and total seclusion created a great outpouring of new pages. In the stillness, I heard the voices of the mermaid sisters very clearly. My health issues made it possible for me to say no to everything but these female voices. A strange and beautiful January so far. Time re-invented. The drama of my own imagination. Health returns, I feel better and oddly grateful for these past weeks and all that they brought me.