I didn’t intend to renovate my life. After Richard died last November, I figured I’d hibernate for several months to recover from the journey with his brain cancer, especially the last four weeks of caregiving while simultaneously learning to let go. I wanted some time to hear myself think, to figure out this new and unsought role as Woman Alone.
I thought I’d work on the next book (or books). Hah.
First there was the celebration of Richard’s life to prepare for, just after winter solstice. Like anything done with a great deal of love and thought, it took far more time and energy than I expected. It also turned out to be a beautifully moving and healing event, bringing together a crowd of people whose lives he had touched in a way that left us all feeling good–like we’d really celebrated his life and our loss.
After that was the scramble to get paperwork done before the end of the year. And then the scramble to get organized for the Terraphilia Artist/Writer Residency program we’re establishing in his honor with Colorado Art Ranch. The latter entailed taking a long look at his historic studio and deciding that in addition to a thorough clean-out and reorganization, it needed work.
That meant I needed to learn about construction and renovation of historic brick buildings, both way out of my comfort zone. I’m slowly learning how things work in the shop, what needs to be done most urgently, and who and how to ask for help. (Heartfelt thanks to all who have responded to those pleas!)
At the same time, or perhaps because of the renovation energy I’d unleashed in the studio, I decided it was time to renovate my web presence. Hence this spiffy new website and blog combination, which would never have come to be without the help of Bill LeRoy, friend and guru of WordPress. He understands and speaks Geek, talents I do not claim.
While all this other renovation was happening, I decided to revive the project of bringing my first book, Pieces of Light, back into print—as an ebook with the help of my virtual assistant, Lisa DeYoung). It made sense to—hah!—renovate the book, adding an update at the end of each chapter, enticing new readers with new content. Which of course meant I had to research, find a writing voice that honored the long-ago me who wrote the original book, and write those updates.
That wasn’t the writing I had planned on in what I thought (hah again!) would be the quiet months of my late-winter hibernation. (I also hadn’t planned on upgrading the operating system on my Mac laptop to handle Apple’s new iBooks Author software, another renovation which of course, wasn’t as simple as I hoped.)
All this renovating has pushed me out of such comfort zone as I had left after Richard’s death, putting me into new territory on several major fronts of my life. I suppose that’s good, though some nights between two and four a.m. when I lie awake sorting through and assimilating all of the new information, I wonder. Long and tiredly.
But here I am. Woman Alone. Who finds at the end of another day of cramming more information into my brain than I thought it could hold, and figuring out a construction problem all. by. myself. that I’m actually happy. Being me, here in the place I love, on my own.
It helps that I have you all walking with me and cheering me on. And that I can feel Richard’s spirit smiling over my shoulder the way I did this morning when I looked out the front door and was so entranced by the luminous full moon setting that I dashed outside barefoot in my bathrobe to shoot some photos. (Did I mention the thermometer read 11 degrees F?) I think he was actually laughing then…