August 7th, 2010 by Ken Scholes
Listen, Baby, You Can Hear the Engine Ring

Happy Saturday!

I’m time traveling to you from the past.  Right now, it’s Friday afternoon for me.  So far, I’ve written all of my Genreality posts on Friday and then sent them forward to Saturday morning.  It seems to work.

I thought today, I’d talk a little bit about life in the fast lane.  The glamour-filled life of an author.  Heh.

I’m on the couch.  My gigantic non-talking cat, Annie Hall, is curled up beside me.  Elizabeth and Rachel are on the floor bouncing, laughing and trying to feed one another various toys.  They just had lunch.

Earlier, we took a walk up to the Village Inn where we enjoyed a tasty breakfast, then hit the grocery store for formula and babywipes and walked back.  2.5 miles pushing at least fifty pounds of baby and buggy.  And when I wasn’t talking to them or pointing things out, I was pondering Requiem.

I use Friday to write my posts because I can do these without going very far into the Imagination Forest.  Crafting fiction means going in pretty deep and blocking out the world with headphones and music.  That doesn’t work with babies.  So on Fridays, I blog, catch up on email, respond to interviews. 

And Friday is Daddy-Daughters Day so I put a lot of time into interacting with the girls.  I’m only going to experience them at this age once, so I’m making the most of it.   And I believe being a parent will be the most important thing I ever do.  

Jen has them on Monday and then Tuesday through Thursday they’re in wonderful little daycare here in our small town.  The folks there love the girls.  Sometimes the girls come home in outfits their daycare teachers bought and brought in for them.  It’s really sweet.

Monday through Thursday, I work the dayjob.  I was working five days per week until Lamentation came out; then I dropped a day.  My dayjob covers medical insurance for us and pays the bills.  I expect to keep it for another five years or so.  We’ll see.   I could be there longer. 

My normal workday is pretty jam-packed.  I’m up at 3am (unless I oversleep) to brew coffee and get a five or six mile ride in while checking email and news.  I’m usually writing or working on writing business from about 3:30 until 4:30 when I pause to bring Jen a cup of coffee and have a cup with her.  By then, the girls have usually woke up and gone back to sleep after that first bottle of the day.  Though recently, they’re sleeping later. 

After coffee with Jen, I usually get another thirty or forty minutes of work in.  Then, I’m getting ready for the dayjob.  We leave at 6am to drop Lizzy and Rae at daycare, then I drop Jen in downtown Portland and head across the Willamette River to start my day by 7am. 

I work in local government providing direct and indirect support to Departments, making sure we’re purchasing goods and services (with taxpayer dollars) in a fair, responsible and transparent way.  After over  dozen years in senior management-type positions, this was a welcome change.  I facilitate formal RFP and ITB procurements from start to finish and consult on informal purchases.  I write solicitation documents.  I do a bit of training.  I facilitate meetings on sensitive subjects.  I review contracts.  Can you hear the rustling of red tape on the shores of Bureaucracy?  I wade in it all day, working from a paper mountain of purchasing rules.  And I work with great people who are supportive of my writing career and enjoy watching it all unfold — lots of them even read my books.  The PAO did a nice interview and write up about my book deal for the employee newsletter so sometimes complete strangers call me up and ask me if I’d be willing to sign their book on my break or lunch break.  It’s fun.  I also have lunch occasionally with various writers at my workplace who are trying to break into print…or with other local writers like Jay or Mary.   Sometimes, I use my lunch break to write.

I leave the cubicle maze at 4pm and pick up Jen.  Every other week or so, we try to go to dinner someplace near the daycare…a bit of a date.  But most evenings, we get home at 5pm, she starts dinner and I slide off to the den to get another hour or two of work.

If I’m lucky, the girls are down by 7pm and Jen and I get an hour together before I’m nodding off to sleep.  Rinse, repeat.  Throw in bits of a social life here and there and that’s what the day-to-day looks like around West Scholes-Manor.

Where, might you ask, is the glamour?

Well, a few times a year I’m out to conventions where I get to meet readers, hang out with other writers, sit on panels, give readings, have dinner with my editor or my agent.  And I spend a few weeks out on tour right around book release time.  Once in a while, I’m called on to come give a talk or a reading someplace locally.  But for the most part, the writing life happens with one’s butt firmly planted in the chair —

“Or upon the couch,” my non-talking cat, Annie Hall, says.

— or upon the couch.  Next up?  I think it’s time to pop over to the Barnes and Noble Fantasy and Science Fiction Book Club, see how the discussion of Antiphon is going, and reply to any questions.  Tor and B&N offered up ARCs of the book as part of a sneak peek program.  It’s been a lot of fun, much like earlier discussions of Lamentation and Canticle.

After that?   I suspect I’ll be rolling around on the floor making growly noises while my daughters giggle and poke me.

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3 comments to “Listen, Baby, You Can Hear the Engine Ring”

  1. Charlene Teglia
     · August 7th, 2010 at 10:51 am · Link

    The glamor, it blinds! I’m okay with the unglamorous life of the working writer, though. Nobody makes me wear pantyhose. Or even shoes. :mrgreen:

  2. Ken Scholes
     · August 7th, 2010 at 5:21 pm · Link

    Heh. No one makes me wear ’em either. :)

  3. buybooksonline
     · August 8th, 2010 at 6:17 pm · Link

    And they say the life of a published author is full of glamour and prestige!! It actually sounds like you have a great work/family ballance. More power to you!

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