Posted By: Lisa Hendrix
Currently Celebrating: Release of IMMORTAL OUTLAW
I’m happy, really. IMMORTAL OUTLAW is out and doing well, everyone in the family’s healthy, it’s all good. And yet, there they are. The Summertime Blues. To quote Eddie Cochrane:
I’m gonna raise a fuss, I’m gonna raise a holler
About a workin’ all summer just to try to earn a dollar
I’m with Eddie. In my mind, summer is not for work. I was raised by parents who believed that summers were for sleeping in late, spending afternoons in a hammock under a tree with a large iced tea, and passing the evenings in a cool, still house with friends so good that no one has to talk, listening to the crickets.
Somehow writing doesn’t fit into that idyllic scenario. It’s hard to write in a hammock. The angle’s wrong, and the heat from a laptop makes you want to throw yourself into an ice bucket. Writing is brain work, and summer is a season that relaxes a brain so much as to make it useless. I know this, I plan every year to have my ducks lined up in nice, tidy rows so that I can have the summer free, and still I once more find myself working my tuchas off (tuchas, that’s Yiddish for “ever-expanding rear”), polishing off a proposal I should have had in ages ago, and setting myself up to have to work seriously all summer long.
And it’s not just writing that lines up to steal my summer: I just completed a blog tour and with all the other promotion I’ve been trying to squeeze in, summer is a third over and I have yet to enjoy more than five minutes of it. Latter parts of the summer will involve repeated trips to Portland and Seattle for signings—like the this Saturday’s NW Book Festival—and to do college stuff for my son. [Speaking of which, which of the Jesuit Fathers of Seattle U decided it was smart to force families to waste money and time to travel to Seattle in the middle of July for a 2-day freshman orientation instead of just having them show up 2-days early in September? May I watch while he scourges himself for idiocy, please? Pretty please?]
Worst of all is the knowledge that it my own blasted spring fever procrastination that put my in this fix, and that is going to force me to dig deep for enough discipline to stay in and get the writing done. No summer for Lisa. //Whine//
All is not midnight darkness, however. There are a few rays of hope. The 4th of July is coming up, and that’s a guaranteed break complete with fireworks and watermelon. Then there will be the occasional weekend at my mother-in-law’s. She has a house in the Hood River Valley that comes complete with cherry orchard, that hammock I crave, and a porch swing that looks out toward Mt. Hood from like, 3 ft away.
Very cool. And one of those trips to Portland will include at least a few hours at the Oregon Zoo, and I may work in Woodland Park or Point Defiance, too, while I’m in Seattle. Zoos are one of my favorite summertime indulgences, and have been for years: I’ve been to 12 major zoos in the US (13 if you count Disney World’s Animal Kingdom), plus the Ueno Park Zoo in Tokyo. Toss all those beasts together with the Norwegian fisheries prof I worked for, and you’ll find a good deal of the basis for the Immortal Brotherhood series. Zoos have enabled me to see and hear lions in full morning roar, twice–quite useful when I needed to describe what Marian heard during the nights, when Steinarr never seemed to be around…
Somewhere in the midst of summer, we’ll also work in a long weekend at the beach. Nothing refreshes, relaxes, utterly re-sets me like ocean air and sandy socks and those long, amazing Oregon beaches. And each time I return from one of these summer interludes, I’ll be that much more ready to make myself sit down. Once I’m down, of course, its fun, just like it is in the winter. It’s just a matter of getting the tuchas down in the seat.
So yes, I’ll get the writing done, and I’ll love it, and with any luck, so will my editor.
I just had to whine a little first, but I’m all better now. See, there is a cure for the Summertime Blues.
IMMORTAL OUTLAW (June 2009)
4-1/2 Stars, Top Pick and K.I.S.S. Hero Award from RT