How Do You Answer “What Are You Working on Next?”

Mary-Jane reading

Mary-Jane reading

What are you working on next? is a question that always takes me by surprise (which is why it’s good advice for writers to have an answer prepared). Words gurgle in my throat. If I can’t change the subject, I mumble something about an essay or short story or blog post.

I want to say My Call to the Ring’s release date is not until September 2012.

It was November 2006 when Deirdre Gogarty handed me pages of true stories she’d written about Ireland, family, and her hard-fought battles to become a champion boxer. In an instant, I agreed to co-write her memoir. The chance of a lifetime had arrived. Like a pugilist who’d trained for an opportunity to fight, I’d been flexing my finger muscles for years. I immersed myself in our collaboration.

But there was a tradeoff—I lost volumes of family time.

Two months after I agreed to co-write Gogarty’s memoir, I sped to Women & Children’s hospital to welcome my granddaughter, Mary-Jane, into the world. She wailed and cooed. I rushed back to work.

And—pfffft!—she turned five.

Mary-Jane

Mary-Jane

Her brother, Milas, clocked nine.

My mother, eighty-five.

And I no longer recognize my hands when I type.

What next?

I’ve been sparring with guilt for missing many of my grandchildren’s milestones. But I’ve concluded it was worth it to hand down examples of sacrifice and perseverance—Deirdre’s and mine—to teach them to follow their calling in life.

Now I’m back to work on those essays and short stories and blog posts. But I’m also taking numerous, long walks with my dog on the family farm while pondering clichés about time.

The way it never stops.

Or turns back.

The way it flies.

And since it often gets lost,

I wonder where it hides.

Nip-Nip hiding

Nip-Nip hiding

 

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Posted in Darrelyn Saloom, Guest Post.

Darrelyn Saloom is co-author of My Call to the Ring with champion boxer, Deirdre Gogarty. It was released in summer 2012 by Glasnevin Publishing in Ireland. Most of her time is spent south of I-10 in Louisiana, on a farm with her husband, a cat, a blind dog, and thoroughbred racehorses.

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