Summer Update: Buying a House, an Eclipse, and Other Writerly Disruptions

Scott William Carter   September 7, 2017  

51r-JkDGNiL._SL300_First, a tiny bit of publishing news. A Lighthouse for the Lonely Heart, the fifth Garrison Gage book, is now available in audio. You can download it at Audible, Amazon, and elsewhere. Steven Roy Grimsley continues to do a fantastic job narrating the books.

In addition, it seemed like about time for another general update. I know, I know, I’m such a prolific blogger, cranking out posts at a torrid pace of one every month or two. But that’s okay. If nothing else, I’m living proof to my writing students — I taught WR 464: Writing for Publication again this last spring, and promotion is one of the last things we talked about — that it is quite possible for a fiction writer to have a successful writing career and barely be online at all.

Work continues on a new book I’m simply referring to as The Big Epic, though not as fast as I’d like (more on why in a moment), and after wrapping up teaching a one-credit course on publishing for non-writers, we’re in the late summer lull at the university before things pick up in the fall and I start doing a lot of workshops and training for faculty wanting to take advantage of different aspects of digital media in their coursework and scholarship. A good chance to take a breath.

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While there was only one brief trip this summer —a quick foray to Astoria, Oregon over the July 4th weekend  — it’s been the most intense few months we’ve had in years. The reason? We bought a new house. Actually, we bought an old house that’s new to us, a charming 1930 home in the “Tudor Rival” style, with two stories and a basement. While a few things have been updated over the years, it still needs a bit of work and TLC, but it’s such a lovely old house that we’re okay with all that. It’s also just a few blocks away from both of the kids’ schools and just a few more blocks from the best park in town, so the advantages to us go beyond the house itself. Still, we lived in the previous house for sixteen years, so there are a lot of good memories there.

But boy, this whole process has been exhausting! As we contemplated starting down this road a few months ago, when we were deciding whether to make an offer on the  house, I told Heidi that this process (buying/selling/repairs/moving/etc) would consume our lives for six months at least, and I think my prediction has proven fairly accurate. We’re about four months through that six months now — if you consider the beginning point when we first thought about moving.

What else? Oh, the eclipse. We were right in the path of totality and experienced it from our front yard. What else can be said other than it was amazing? I expected it to be amazing, but what I didn’t expect was to have such a powerful emotional response to it, to spontaneously whoop and burst into cheers when the fun finally disappeared behind the moon. We wanted to experience it at our house partly to mark our start there (we’d only been in it a few weeks at that point), and  I’m glad we did.

This week, I saw my daughter off to her first day of high school. My son started middle school last week. It’s a time of change. It’s been a hectic summer, and I’ve let my creative output suffer because of it. I’ve also, despite my best efforts, let the Nonsense Factory  located in Washington D.C. get into my head more than usual, and I’m determined to channel that energy into more productive things. We’ll see how it goes.