Happy New Year!

Wait. What? 

If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about. A new school year often feels like more of a new beginning or clean slate than January 1 ever does. Your kids are either back in school or are about to be and there's probably a feeling of relief washing over you as you anticipate the return of the routine. This feeling is stronger than ever for me because my childcare situation crumbled around mid-summer. When you adore your children and your work, such a situation can be a bit overwhelming, so yes, I did a great big ol' happy dance when Jr. started second grade this week, and I'll do another one when Baby B, whom we're now calling Beast, starts nursery school this Monday. We have a sweet college student who'll be coming over a few afternoons per week to help with homework and jump shots, so hello, work!  I've got my Filofax set up and tabbed to death, my inspiration boards and materials set up to my aesthetic whims and a stack of reading that I can't see over. Whoot-whoot!

My sweet little beast.

My sweet little beast.

My newly arranged office wall. Looks like I should've used a leveler!

My newly arranged office wall. Looks like I should've used a leveler!

I've been beating around the bush about "something big" for a while now. Those of you who see me in person on a fairly regular basis have heard enough about it to want to delete my contact information from their phones, but I feel like I'm all in now, so they'll have to bear with me as I fill the rest of you in.

I'm attempting to write a book. 

I've never written a book, but I know how to write, so I don't feel like I'm going totally out on a limb. I can't say that the idea wasn't floating around in the haze in the farthest recesses of my mind when I started focusing some of my writing on the modern South, but I certainly didn't think I'd be taking a crack at it in 2014. Or 2016, for that matter. Yet, through a series of events and circumstances that presented themselves in what almost seemed to be a methodical order, I ended up spending a weekend in June completing a proposal that has passed through a few hands, garnered some advice, and now I'm hacking away at a new approach. 

Why am I blabbing about it on the blog? Well, there are a few reasons:

  1. The reason for the book started here, so it seems to make sense that I would start hanging out at CamilleMaurice.com more often to hash out ideas, brain dumps and get my cerebral willies out.
  2. Writing a book is hard, y'all! (cue the tiny violins) It's hard, and it's very possible that no agent or publisher will ever want it. It's even harder when you live in the loudest house on the block, with a Jr., a Beast, a crazy dog, an old dog, and a Mr. M carrying on about their business around you. But I am not unique. I'm taking on a huge project for love and for work while trying to raise a family. There are many people out there doing the same thing in their own way, and sometimes we each feel alone in that kind of chaos. Sometimes we need a reminder that we're not alone in it. Our modern culture tends to place a divide between raising the stakes in a career and raising a family well. It doesn't have to be that way. We don't have to be this hard on ourselves. These days we live in a culture that provides very little valuable insight or commentary, let alone tools, for women to feel much less than stressed out by the process of setting high hopes for their careers AND their families. The stress is there no matter what the income level, and gets worse for each level less than the top. We should talk about how hard it is to do both. How hard it is to live *life* and make it fulfilling. All women struggle with this on some level, losing varying hours of sleep per month over whether their efforts are good enough, setting the right example, putting enough into society...
  3. Accountability, I guess? 
  4. I need all the excuses I can get to practice my craft. Some of my posts may be boring to those of you who haven't experienced the extreme rivalry between my 50-pound, 2-year-old Wheaten terrier and my 19-pound, 17-year-old Schipperke, but they make me laugh and put words in my head to laugh at later.

So... yeah. The New South series has birthed a book idea that has now mutated (after some feedback from *people who know* about these things) into a the gathering of my own personal stories about living on this side of the Mason-Dixon line. I never realized how many stories I had about it until I started writing about other people's stories and visions--all of which I'll continue to pursue, of course. I started to dig in deeply this week, and am looking forward to doing so even more on Monday, when our Beast has his first day of school.

Wish me luck, and please say a prayer for our new babysitter's nerves! Ha!