As a thriller writer, I make my living by writing scary scenarios and then finding ways to make them worse. But, wow, with all the scary stuff going on in the world right now, what have I got left to work with? I hate to say it, but it might be time to cue the zombie invasion.
I’ve done what I can to mitigate my risks of catching or spreading the flu, so that leaves me a couple of ways to deal with my residual anxiety: 1) Cower in my home and obsess over every sniffle; or 2) occupy my mind with childish humour.
Guess which one I chose?
It wasn’t actually a conscious choice — after I finished the draft of Book 15 this week (hooray!), my brain started scrambling signals just for fun.
For instance, I was surprised and not a little disturbed to discover an email in my inbox titled “What to expect from federal prison”. It’s not reassuring to receive that sort of advice from one’s online brokerage. Much to my relief, the title turned out to be “What to expect from federal pension”, so I guess I don’t need to look for escape routes just yet.
Only a few days later, flu symptoms must have been on my mind when I read “It’s a spectacular series of snots” on a photography website. That would be “shots”, not “snots”. But at least my inner child got a giggle.
And while I was writing the last couple of chapters of Book 15, that same naughty inner child decided that the root word of “dubious” is “doobie”. Now I’ll never be able to hear, speak, write, or read the word ‘dubious’ without smirking.
With my inner child thus occupied, my outer middle-aged adult began to contemplate how retirement might look if I ever get to the point where it’s something I want and can afford (neither of which seems likely).
“Well-dressed charity board member” would be a laughably bad fit; mostly because my idea of “well-dressed” is a T-shirt without holes in it, and my lifetime allocation of patience for meetings was used up at least a decade ago.
“Pillar of the arts” might work if I had enough money to actually be a pillar; but right now my budget is more “toothpick”. And I’d probably have to dress up, too; so that’s out.
After considering and discarding a few other possibilities, I’ve finally decided to become the reprehensible old hippie who spends all day in her garden, sits on her front porch smoking the recreational herbs she grows, shouts insults at passersby, and occasionally moons people just for fun. (Her fun; not theirs.)
Like all good retirement plans, this will require some advance planning: I’ll have to learn to smoke, acquire some marijuana plants, move to a place where there actually are passersby, and practice my mooning. I’ve done it by accident a few times, but I suspect the intentional act is trickier than it looks; particularly if one’s balance is impaired by recreational herbs.
So, having settled on these doobie-ous choices for my future, I think I’m ready to relax a bit. Anybody want to join me on the front porch? (At a safe six-foot distance, of course.)
Book 15 update: The draft is DONE! It’s already been vetted by the first beta reader, and now I’m into my first round of revisions. Title and release date coming soon! 🙂