I’ve spent a lot less time writing over the last few days than I really wanted to. I’ve also spent a lot less time looking after my releases and the interaction with my readers than I really wanted to.
Life continues to get in the way of everything else, and I am beginning to consider strongly whether I should take a short sabbatical from everything, just to let my batteries recharge.
Every time that I push forward with something, there always seems to be something to take my attention away. And, it always seems to be something more important.
This last week a few things were put into perspective when I found myself in the teeth of one of the bush fires that is currently burning in NSW. On Thursday, the day that the fires started, I found myself cut off from the main highway between Sydney and Canberra while trying to get home from Sydney. I was then given directions to try and get around the back of the fire, only to find myself squarely in its path. Backtracking to the closed-off highway, I then found that the only other reliable path back to the highway below the cut-off was also closed. My outlandish consideration of driving back into Sydney and then the long way back via the Blue Mountains and Bathurst was shut down rather quick by the fires at Lithgow and surrounding area.
The photo accompanying this post was taken on the road back to the coast to hunt for a way out of danger. Of note, this road is now closed thanks to this fire, three days after the photo was taken. With the gale force winds pushing the fire at my back, and with no one having a clear idea of just where the fire was at that point, it was causing concern for a lot of people. As luck would have it, the only time that people rang to see how I was doing was when I was mid-escape and in a location where mobile coverage was poor. I know that a few people who were concerned about me were not able to get the news they were after until much later than they should have.
Getting back to the coast gave some good news -- the alternate route to the highway was re-opened, but no one knew how long it would stay open. It also gave bad news -- the entire coastal city I had just driven into was given a bushfire alert, something that really made the situation difficult as it wasn’t really the sort of place to normally received things like that and I was even less willing to spend the night there if I couldn’t get back to Canberra.
There was one other possible route back home, but it was also affected by fire, and no one was saying whether that road was open or closed.
I managed to take the re-opened route, but it became apparent that everyone else was trying the same idea, and I found myself in a 3 km traffic jam, halfway up a set of switchbacks on a very narrow road (technically a highway, but it isn’t really even single lane at this particular pass). With the smoke and uncertainty about how long the pass was going to stay open, being stuck in a jam with nowhere to go and no escape was not the most fun experience.
After a lot of careful driving and navigating by feel, I made it to the highway, and eventually home. In the end, I was only 3-4 hours later than I had conservatively forecast, so it wasn’t too bad an outcome for me. For those who lost lives and property in the ongoing carnage, things are much, much worse, and it’s going to be a rough few days coming up.
Looking at the trouble I’ve had getting to write, it just all seems to be small potatoes. I’ve got a Halloween short, and another novella that I want to have ready by the end of the month (it’s at the editing stage), but I am questioning whether it’s worth pushing too hard at the moment.
Having one of my titles scrubbed from the active list by Amazon, presumably due to the presence of certain words in the title, has also caused some pause for thought about what outcomes are really important. It’s back in the list, but the hassle of sorting it out came at the wrong time.