Friday, March 11, 2016

My Gift to You

Few authors make a living writing. The vast majority write for pleasure and little else. For most of us, writing is a hobby, a calling—it is not a way to get rich. Like all hobbies, writing takes effort. It is a continual learning process from stamping out gerunds to killing off adverbs and run-on sentences. Writing also provides unique opportunities to be witty because a character’s “quick” come back might actually take days to hone. Real-life conversation is rarely so interesting. When the environment is right, writing can be both creative and a relaxing. But therein lays the rub. The environment must be right—peaceful and without interruptions. 

I have been fortunate. After I retired for the final time, I had many years to dabble my way through ten novels. I learned most of what I didn’t absorb in high school and gained a great appreciation for the English language. However, the business of living eventually took over my life as it does many oldsters. Most retirees will tell you their lives are such a whirlwind of activity they don’t know how they had time to work. The buildup of activity is a gradual thing. At first, there are many social events. Then family obligations increase as the number of grandchildren increase. And then health issues begin to dominate. I’ve gone through all those phases and rarely write now. My wife’s fatal illness is the latest blow to our once-serene life. Hospital and specialist visits consume us now; caring for her is far more important that anything I could put on paper.

Sometimes I reflect back on the novels I’ve written. None of them will make any difference to anyone over time. If people laughed at what I wrote, that was enough. I enjoyed writing the comedy. Creating and developing the Miss Havana character was my great pleasure and inserting “counter-stories” within the novel’s text became a passion for me—a risqué romp through heaven and hell on the surface with hidden biblical truths and stories beneath. Perhaps I hid some too well, because no reader I am aware of has caught what The Trophy Wife was really about, or the underlying theme of the four novel Miss Havana series for that matter. Even so, it was fun to write them, and I might add another one or two novels to the series in time.

For now, however, comedy is the last thing on my mind. My wife needs my attention. At some point in the not too distant future, she will likely not know me as she slides into the abyss of dementia. The disease progresses slowly, taking one part of her life at a time. We both recognize her patience is much thinner than it once was, so I try to remove all things from her duties that cause frustration—paperwork, taxes, medicine management, phone calls, and other mundane tasks. Such tasks are not difficult, but they are necessary and they are time consuming. She is my life now, and I will not fail her. So, for now, writing has stopped.

If you are a Miss Havana fan and don’t see any new novels from me in the next few years, don’t despair. I believe Miss Havana will be back when the pace of living settles and once again my environment becomes peaceful and uninterrupted. In the interim, I encourage those of you who enjoy racy humor to try one of the Miss Havana novels—her antics and your laughter are my gifts to you.

Thanks For Reading,
James L. Hatch


Tina Donahue said...

So sorry about your wife's medical condition, James. I do hope you get as much outside support as you need. This is no time to be alone. And I do hope you get back to writing. Your love for it will lighten your sadness.

jean hart stewart said...

I'm so sorry about your wife. This is a sad time for you. The thoughts of many of your fellow writers will be with you.

James L. Hatch said...

Thank you Tina and Jean. Each day brings new challenges. We are still hoping for some medical miracle, but have not found one yet. We will continue looking until we can look no longer.