Warning: navel-gazing ahead!!
I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. Not just that lost hour of sleep for Daylight Savings Time (am I the only one still trying to adjust?), but the passage of time and the marking of milestones. Sometimes I look at my life and wonder: how the heck did I get here?
Ten years ago in August, Hurricane Katrina turned my world upside down. How can it have been ten years when certain images and songs still make me cry? At the same time, can it only have been ten years when I look at how much my life has changed since those long, black months after the levees failed?
Fifteen years ago, I took in a starving, mangy 1-year-old stray dog with heartworms. His life expectancy was 12. How is that now, he’s about to turn 16 and I weigh on a daily basis whether his quality of life is still good enough to go on another day. And I wonder on which day, when I ask that question, the answer will no longer be a tentative “yes.” It will be soon.
Ten years ago, my mom sold the house she was no longer able to take care of and moved in with me, less than a year before Katrina. I thought we were so different we’d end up killing each other, yet somehow we haven’t. Now, she’s almost 90 and housebound. I somehow have become the reluctant adult.
Eight years ago, I left New Orleans—something I never anticipated doing. I moved back to my native state of Alabama—something I also never anticipated doing. I settled down in Auburn—something, as an Alabama alum, I certainly never anticipated doing. I still miss NOLA. I still consider myself a New Orleanian. But drive-through pharmacies are cool, and I don’t miss the traffic or having bullets dug out of my roof on a regular basis.
Five years ago, I thought about writing a novel. Maybe urban fantasy. Maybe something to do with Hurricane Katrina, from which I still was experiencing some level of PTSD. I typed the lines that would become the end of that novel, then went back to the beginning and told a story.
Three years ago this month, my first novel was published. ROYAL STREET turned my world in a direction I could never have anticipated as I caught the writing bug big-time. I joked that there wasn’t much else to do in Auburn. It really wasn’t a joke. Later this month, No. 13, PIRATE'S ALLEY, comes out. (Throws confetti!). I just signed contracts for Nos. 15 and 16 in a new series. (Throws more confetti.)
Time brings change; in two years I hope to retire, so I have to ask: What will the next few years bring?
Does your life look different than you expected ten years ago? Five?