Thursday, January 7, 2010

Om (Or, Is Gigi too calm for her own good?)

I've been told I can possess a maddening degree of calmness.

It sometimes--okay, frequently--seems as if my friends and family are more invested in the success of my first mystery than I am myself.

It's not that I don't care. Really, it's not. But I just can't see the point of wasting my life sitting around worrying about what's happening once it's out of my hands. I'd rather be doing something.

In the slow business of publishing, this part of my personality has served me well. (It also serves my blood pressure well.)

I'm not sitting around waiting for my agent to hear back from publishers. I'm working on a new project. Two of them, actually.

So what's my plan for the year? Well... I've never been big on making resolutions. I seem to get a lot done without them. It's not because I have especially grand aspirations (aside from taking over the world, of course). It's because I don't spend time worrying about what I'm doing.

I know whatever is meant to happen will happen; I do my part, so why waste time worrying about the parts that are beyond my control?

One of my favorite lines from a novel is: "life hinges on those few seconds you never see coming." From Special Topics in Calamity Physics (one of those books people either love or hate--and I love it), that line could potentially be read as a depressing thought--but I find it inspiring and comforting.

Chance events occur all the time. You never know who you'll meet, or what unexpected thing you'll happen upon. So I can do my best--and I do love to throw myself into things--but I don't want to plan too much. I want to seize the opportunities I stumble across.

Take my experience writing short stories. Or rather, not writing short stories. Until last year, I never thought I could write one. I was convinced my brain wouldn't conform to the structure.

Then, Mystery Writers of America advertised an anthology competition for paranormal mystery short stories. I decided to use it as a prompt to try my hand at a short story one more time. I forced myself to sit down and write something. Anything. And then it happened: a brilliant character popped into my head. Four hours--and a serious hand cramp--later, I had a short story that turned out to be one of the best things I've ever written.

My story didn't make it into that particular anthology (anyone know someone who wants a 3,500-word paranormal locked-room mystery story about a female alchemist??), but the experience taught me that I could write a short story after all. So I wrote another one, and that one was accepted for a mystery anthology.

Thus, no particular resolutions for me this year. I'll wait and see what comes up. I still need to work out how to squeeze in all the writing I want to do in my already-full life, but that's okay. I'll figure it out. Or if something else comes up, maybe I won't. That's okay, too.



Sophie Littlefield said...

i think the elusive something that you have managed is a little bit of serenity, something to be envied indeed. And yes, I'll *always* prefer doing to waiting!!

Martha Flynn said...

Um...can I erect an altar to you or something?

Lisa Hughey said...

you are not too calm, you have the perfect attitude :)

Hard Boiled Mysti said...

My older brother and I have a long-standing disagreement about this -- he says he only worries about the things he can't control, because he can control the other stuff, so why worry about it? I say I only worry about the things that I can control, because the other stuff is beyond my control, so worry won't help.

Perhaps it's worry in general that's a waste of time :)

Happy writing in 2010!!!!

Juliet Blackwell said...

I love it. Worry is a waste, but it's easier said than done not to indulge in fretting. Good for you for putting your energies someplace useful!

Adrienne Miller said...

Is your calm contagious? Cause if it is, I should be hanging out with you a LOT more ;-)

Camille Minichino said...

This blog has a calming effect on me. The 3 women I know well are SO productive while remaining even and never whining; the others always give me something to relate to -- e.g., Nature sucks!

Gigi Pandian said...

Glad to hear I'm not crazy :)

But I'm surprised nobody commented on my use of Special Topics in Calamity Physics. I thought that was a book everyone had strong feelings about! No? Okay, maybe I am crazy after all.

Camille Minichino said...

I didn't like it -- not enough physics!