Saturday, January 5, 2013

Where I relate to Gollum a bit too closely...

Have you seen The Hobbit yet? I have. Fabulous movie no matter what the critics say.  I'm not completely happy with Peter Jackson splitting the story into three parts but still, brilliant, remarkable film. 

Of course, unless you've been living hermit-like in a cave, you know the character of Gollum, aka Smeagol, is obsessed with the One Ring. The addictive qualities of that particular enchanted circle of gold drive him to murder, warp his appearance, and split his personality, ultimately leaving him a slave to "the precious".

I never thought I had much in common with Gollum...until this week. See, I've been working long hours lately putting out three new releases since September while simultaneously writing the fourth Soulkeepers book. (Soul Catcher is coming right along.  Cover and release date will be revealed soon.) Between writing, editing, formatting, publishing, and marketing my own work, I also read and critiqued four manuscripts for fellow writers during that period and mentored a new indie to publication. To throw another iron in the fire, one of my manuscripts was with an agent for a while and although ultimately rejected was entertained for long enough for even my jaded personality to feel hopeful. But I digress.

I've always been slightly prone to workaholic syndrome but somehow Thanksgiving and Christmas happened successfully. The kids got fed. And we planned a getaway to Hilton Head, South Carolina to ring in the New Year. Of course, I brought my laptop. I have a book to finish. So while my husband and kids did beachy, Hilton Head things, I happily holed up in our villa typing away. Only, our room didn't have a desk so I was hunched over the dining table or bent into a rather uncomfortable chair.

At some point, my back began to ache and I got up to get something--I don't remember what it was. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My back was rounded, my eyes  bugged out from hours staring at the screen, and my skin, ghostly pale. In other words, I was in stage 1 Gollum metamorphosis!
 Was I a slave to "the precious"--putting my work above all else, rotating the golden ring of my publishing career in my hands while hiding in my cave from the world? It was too close for comfort.

I closed the laptop.  I took a walk on the beach. I read an entire book for pleasure. And, the first thing I did my first morning home was text a couple of non-author friends to meet for coffee. I spent two hours visiting and then did some grocery shopping. 

This morning, a friend of mine passed away after a long battle with cancer. She was much too young and leaves behind a daughter not much older than my own. Her death was expected but somehow still tragic and, of course, reminded me of my recent Gollum-like qualities. 

Life is short.

Tonight my back is a bit straighter and there's more color in my cheeks. Also, I'm adding a picture of Gollum to my desktop.  This year he's going to remind me of what all work and no play can do to a person. 


  1. Gollum is what rendered Lord of the Rings accessible to my best friend in college. He abhorred much of the writing, but fell in love with a portrait of need so deep.

    My condolences for your loss, GP.

  2. Oh Gen, so sorry to hear about your friend - and now am feeling terribly guilty that mine was one of the manuscripts you read. You can't know HOW much I appreciated your comments, because you are exactly the person who gets Weezie the best, but seriously, you should have said no or put me off. Migawd, woman, you've gotta take it easy sometimes! I'm so glad you finally saw your inner Gollum and took that walk on the beach.

    I loved this post, about realizing life is short. Because it really is. But don't be too concerned that you're spending yours with your face buried in a laptop - you're doing what you love - and that's the best way to spend a life. I know way too many people who bump and flounder through their existence. So depressing, that. You, though, you not only love something, you're really, really good at it, too. You're one of the best writers I know. Keep up the amazing work.

    Just take a break now and then to enjoy the view!

    1. Oh Cathy, I wouldn't have missed reading your book for anything. Loved it. Believe it or not, I'm selective about what I will read and did tell other people no during that timeframe.


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