Second attempt to restart writing

Section of library at University Retirement Community showing Pride's Childre on the new books shelf, Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt


It takes a while to get back to work.

My previous attempt, one good working day after six months of nada, was on October 2, 2018, right after I got my files back from the crash.

My apologies for the radio silence, but it has been a combination of 1) things needing doing RIGHT NOW, and 2) an exhaustion so profound as a result of the continued stress that thinking was not a possibility.

Not CREATIVE thinking. Nor ORGANIZED thinking.

Tearing out your life by the roots has consequences

In NJ, we had doctors, cars, a driver’s license, food in the basement freezer, bicycles…

In CA, we didn’t.

We haven’t bought a car, and may not. But the shared car available at our new retirement community requires:

  • a California driver’s license
  • our NJ driving record, which in turn required doing stuff online, waiting until they MAILED us an ID, to be used online to order the record!
  • permission from our doctor (when we didn’t even have a doctor) – and I still can’t believe I had to ask permission from him when I finally got an internist and an appointment
  •  ‘Mature Driver’s Course’ – available online, and which only took me 17 hours and three days to complete. If you would like to experience frustration, try the course. And the test questions seemed to be designed to get you to fail. It only took me two tries – and I could have done it faster if I hadn’t reviewed the entire course first.
  • filling out the forms.

It would just be nice to have the option to sign out the vehicle (which comes with fuel and insurance) instead of having to deal with a car rental agency.

And yes, Lyft and Uber and the facility’s own group vehicles, and the on-site bikes and trike are all available.

But nothing is quit like putting your shoes on, walking to your car, popping in, adjusting the mirrors if necessary – and driving away.

Except that it’s an expensive option if you don’t use if often.

I had assistants in NJ

Wonderful helpful women who made my life easier, because they always did whatever I needed when they came.

But there’s no room in this one-bedroom apartment for an assistant, and a lot less for one to do, so I probably won’t have one here.

As a result, there’s a lot of non-urgent unpacking still to be done.

And we’re still waiting for a larger place.

Everything is different

Have I mentioned having a social life? It’s nice – but there is a lot of it, even with just going to dinner every day.

And most things have an inflexible time, something I only had occasionally back in NJ (congratulate me on not calling it ‘home’ very often). Which basically means a lot of time wasted because it’s almost time to do X, or you just got home from doing X.

But today I gritted my teeth

Told myself to stop wasting time, as I may have a lot less of it than I think.

Blocked the internet for several hours with Freedom.

Located the papers I created or brought.

Took out the Scrivener project, the Dramatica Story Expert file, and my Calendar.

And dove in.

I must say, I am VERY proud of my incessant note-taking as I write – because it was like having everything poured back into my brain from a pitcher.

It’s been seven months (if you don’t count the one day) since anything substantial, and I’m hoping this attempt will take.

And I found that the pieces I’ve already done are just fine, and ready to take to the next step, writing the individual scenes for this chapter.

I don’t care how many tries it takes to really get going

None of the interruptions have been my doing. Everything is taking a lot longer to do than it should in anyone’s imagination.

Registering to vote took ages, but I finally have online proof, which I printed out; the voter registration card which has been promised has not yet arrived. That was a high priority, and is usually done in conjunction with the driver’s license, but, because of the other things I need (including replacing my handicapped placard, for which I needed the doctor mentioned above to fill out the form, which meant I had to see him…), we haven’t gone to get the new licenses yet.

Looking back, there is a mañana attitude to life here – from everyone. People tell me it was years before they were completely settled. Though most people move in here older than we are now. And many are in-state, a large portion of those local enough to keep some of their doctors.

And of course we have to try everything, from the Bizarre Bazaar (bought a table and three chairs) to the End of Life discussion group which is starting (postponed that one – it’s a six-week commitment, for an hour and a half each week, either Tuesday or Saturday right in the middle of the afternoon!) to an activity I won’t mention that didn’t work.

And popping into the pools. Ah, pools! And hot tubs.

And the hours it took to connect so I could have Pride’s Children: PURGATORY catalogued (see picture of New Books section).

Just hope for me that it takes hold this time. I am getting very grumpy.

And how have you all been?

Accidentally published first as page, not post – brain not completely back on board! I was mystified: I usually get at least ONE comment. !Ay, Alicia!

9 thoughts on “Second attempt to restart writing

  1. Janna G. Noelle

    It takes time to settle into a new place, both physically and mentally. Seven months is a long time, so there’s substantial inertia to overcome before things start flowing again, although it sounds like past you did present and future you a real service with your note-taking. You’ll get there. Every day will be a little bit easier, especially once you get a streak going.

    I’m curious though: this building where you’re now living – is this your new, permanent home? I get that you’re still waiting for a bigger unit, but will it be where you already are or might you have to do a big move yet again?


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      It’s all one huge sprawling connected building. The Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing and Memory support are on the lower floors, so partners can visit easily if one needs more care.

      We’ll change apartments as soon as one is available that we like, and it’s fixed up for us, and that will be it – until/unless one of us needs advanced care levels. We could be here over 30 years – and won’t need to move.

      Nice and settled.

      The good part is that when we want to vacation, we just turn the key in the door, take a Lyft to Sacramento’s airport (not far), and don’t have to worry about anything we leave behind. With a house, the list was endless; now, I’ll just have to remember sunscreen and a second bathing suit. Whatever goes wrong with the living quarters is no longer our problem. Like a rental, but not.

      The move should be easy, as we don’t really have to pack to go the short distance – throw things in a couple of boxes, transport to the other place, put in place; repeat.

      And yes, the writing’s getting easier: I use Freedom to block out the internet, and no one bothers me. Very spoiled we may be getting, with a lot of other nice people. You can be as involved as you like. And there’s pools – see my big grin?


  2. joey

    i love how you described your note-taking allowed you to feel like everything poured back into your brain as if from a pitcher.
    The unpacking will get done. You’re right to use the time as you did 🙂


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      It felt like that. I had hoped it would be easy to get back to where I was. That spot was at a new beginning in the various plot sequences, so I knew there would be work to do, but I keep telling everyone I don’t get writer’s block – my body won’t cooperate sometimes, but I seem to be determined to finish this trilogy – but wondered if I was whistling past a Halloween decoration.

      I never expect it to be easy; I just hope it will be possible.

      The unpacking can wait. Not forever, but for now – we’ll hope to find the permanent apartment soon, and I think that will encourage the tucking away into more fixed drawers of the various bits and pieces we need.

      Right now I’m missing my writing books; I was cul-de-sac’d by not being able to reach for two different ones today, but that also means the brain is thinking on the right subjects. That’s what happens when you promise the end of a story.

      Liked by 1 person


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