Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Chaos Theory

Caution:  the following post may lead to ridiculous conclusions or utter confusion.  Read at your own peril.

There are a number of reasons why I have neglected this blog lately, but suffice it to say I am embracing the chaos once again.  I nailed down another revision in January and continue to wait (not quite so patiently) for the next step.  In the meantime, everything around me has exploded into a flurry of systematic change and if this doesn't kill me, nothing will...

Seriously, when you think about the idea of chaos, do you draw a positive or negative connotation?  Apparently I tend to balance both.  For the second year in a row, the major aspects of my life are colliding on one sad little weekend, and the run-up to that weekend could net one of an infinite number of possibilities.  Okay, let's talk specifics.  We are moving.  Not across 5 states this time, just 8 miles away.  But it's still a move.  And wouldn't the fates decide to cut this thread right on the same weekend I am directing the SCBWI Pocono Mountain Retreat?  To top it off, I was really hoping to have an exciting announcement this year, but again, the fates are toying with me.  No book deal.  Yet.

So here I am packing dishes and books and clothes and all those little bits of life I dared to unpack for the  12 months we rented this house.  In the middle of the paper and boxes, I am tapping away online, juggling all those little details like menu, last minute registrations, emails, nametags, etc...  Whew!  Have I reached utter chaos yet?  Well, if there is any doubt:  We close on the new house April 5th, I leave for PA on April 7th and stay until the 11th, and we have to be out of the rental by the 12th.  No pressure...

What about my writing?  Well, I did manage to knock out a synopsis for the new book and send off my application for the SCBWI WIP grant, which will be announced in September (yes, more waiting).    

Forgive me for rambling.  I can't help but wonder what Chaos Theory would posit about the next change.  Can I get my head screwed back on and write a kick-ass YA book?  Where would this book be if we had never left PA?  Or if we moved in December instead of now?  Or if all I did was write?

If this writer's life isn't a dynamic system, then I don't know what is.  What would a recurrence plot have to say about this particular moment in time?  Or my ever-changing trajectory?  I just hope I don't write any recurrent plots and spin my trajectory straight down the drain!

I guess it's just time to add this amazing experience to the million little fluffs and flutters that have led me here in the first place.  My writing is the best it's ever been, and I hope it keeps evolving.  Perhaps all this multi-tasking and change will spawn something brilliant, maybe even award-winning.  But I have to say, I've hit one of those moments when I feel incredibly insecure.  Change doesn't frighten me.  In fact I generally welcome it as an exciting adventure.  But the past two years certainly pass for more than just change...more like the BIG BANG!

So how do other writers handle the chaos behind them?  Does it fuel their writing?  Does it choke them with writer's block?  Does it bounce off them like rubber bullets?  For now, I think I'll just pray for a pair of wings...


  1. Mary Ann, you are amazing!

    I suppose the best you can do is allow your chaos (and the disappointments) to inform a story. And keep smiling. And be you.

    You've had a LOT of change and tough times. You must be so strong by now. I pray all goes off without a hitch.

    I freak out a little in the midst of chaos. Don't handle it well at all. I need to think about how to make it a positive thing.

  2. Chaos is not a welcome guest in my life, yet it is becoming a more frequent visitor with three teens. Total chaos wreaks havoc on my creativity, meaning it's not a time for me to write or dream up something new. I need more down time for that. But, oddly, I have found that revising something is a.o.k. amidst craziness. Unfortunately, chaos doesn't wait to be invited. If it did I would schedule it only after first drafts were completed. Or not at all.

    Good luck with the conference and move, MA!

  3. Thank you, Joyce, so very much. I definitely have plenty of fuel for my stories when it comes to frustrated emotions. I guess that's the positive in it. But, in someways I guess I'm always rising to the occasion in the least trying to...after a little wallowing.

    Thanks for all the encouragement, Geri. I know through a big chunk of this I was working on revision and I guess that was a manageable creative outlet. Now I'm writing something completely new, so it takes a different kind of concentration and a whole new investment in the characters and the story. Maybe a little chaos will give me some writing mojo...

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  5. I get more writing done during chaos, because I'm frenzied. If I'm laid-back, like during days off, I get less done. I'm also more likely to stick to my to-do list during chaos.

  6. Life always seems to rush at me in waves, too, and it's always when I already have my arms full of stuff. It can be mind blowing. You will survive this and just think, now you won't have to move again and can focus on settling into your new place, caring for your family and working on your writing.

    Good luck with the SCBWI grant! You are so far ahead of me in your writing career and you well deserve that chunk of money.

    Keep you head up, girl.


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