HIDING UNDER THE DUVET….. by Rosemary Lord

just-rosie-3Rosemary wrote her first book when she was ten years old – for her little brother. She also illustrated it herself. It was later rejected by Random House!

She has been writing ever since.

The author of Best Sellers Hollywood Then and Now and Los Angeles Then and Now,  English born Rosemary Lord has lived in Hollywood for over 25 years. An actress, a former journalist (interviewing Cary Grant, James Stewart, Tony Hopkins, John Huston amongst others) and a Senior Publicist at Columbia Pictures, she lectures on Hollywood history. Rosemary is currently writing the second in a series of murder mysteries set in the 1920s Jazz Age Hollywood featuring Lottie Topaz, an extra in silent movies.

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When it all comes plummeting down – what do you do?  When there seem so many small fires to be put out. And all around you people are having dramas – then turning to you for help. What do you do?

I just want to hide under the warm, plump duvet (a European eiderdown) and never come out. But I don’t have that luxury.

How do you keep your head – “when all around you seem to be losing theirs and blaming it on you.” As Kipling put it so well. “… if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowances for their doubting too. If you can wait and not be tired by waiting…”

But I digress.

So, how do you write when you’re snowed under?

How come other writers seem to have it all organized? Able to write at the same time each day, without distraction. Able to churn out book after book…..  I know that writer-mothers of young children seem to find the time to write their books – while the kids are napping or at school, waiting at soccer practice or for the laundry cycle to finish. My writer friends with full time jobs find a way. Sue Ann Jaffarian is a paralegal, Pamela Samuels Young an attorney. They write before going to work, in their lunch hour and at weekends.

Before I ever get to the office, the phone calls and urgent emails start early in the morning. And I can’t remember when I last stopped for lunch. For the last couple of years, I often work 6 or 7 days a week. So where am I going wrong?

(As Anthony Newley’s song “What Kind of Fool Am I?” floats around my head…)

Since my husband died so unexpectedly, I have been working day in and day out to save the Woman’s Club of Hollywood from being turned into an anonymous block of condominiums, instead of the charming Spanish-style historic property where Jean Harlow and Douglas Fairbanks went to school and where Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and a host of Golden Era celebrities helped served the Hollywood community for over 110 years. So I feel it’s worth saving. Worth fighting for. But at what cost – to me.

So here I am – an author, a writer who has so little time to write. One of my publishers has just asked me to do a new version of one of my Hollywood books. “How long do I have,” I asked, trying not to panic.

I’ve stayed up all night to finish a book by the deadline. Getting the copy sent off to London by eight in the morning – that is four o’clock in the afternoon in London time. But I did it. I’ve arisen at 5 am, in the dark, to get a couple of hours writing in before the day starts. But it doesn’t last. I get too tired, then find myself nodding off over the computer keys. And how is it that I seem to gain weight, when I hardly ever have time to eat? That’s just plain unfair!

Goodness! This sounds like whining. Not my intention. More a ‘Dear Abby, How do I get off this hamster wheel?” Or: I’m a writer – get me out of here!

I have so many voices in my head that need to be heard – or read. So many books to write, screenplays to finish. All the characters that float around my imagination, hoping that I will turn them into words on a page for readers to discover. All clamoring, ‘Me too! Don’t forget about me…”  And Lottie Topaz has been so very patient with me, waiting for me to finish her second volume and share her emerging adventures.

The people in my head, my wonderful characters that I can breath life into, they all have a song to sing – a story for me to tell.

So why are there so many things, big and small, going on in life that need my attention at the present? Am I avoiding something? Why can’t I be more disciplined and just focus on my writing. Ignore the pleas for help. Just tell people to get lost. Leave me alone.

Maybe I’m just going through a phase…

Although this week, after what seems like an eternity,  the court trial starts on behalf of the Woman’s Club trying to release itself of heavy financial burdens unfairly foisted on it by nefarious beings. So that will settle one long chapter in its saga. And hopefully offer me some respite.

Looking back, I could have taken a different path. Would it have been easier? Probably. But look how much I have learned, people I have met – characters and stories I have discovered.

But still, right now, what I’d really like to do is dive back under the warmth of my duvet – for a while.

Know what I mean?

 

15 thoughts on “HIDING UNDER THE DUVET….. by Rosemary Lord”

  1. Oh, do I ever know what you mean, Rosemary! Although I “retired” from my day job years ago and vowed to use all that free time for writing, I have accomplished so little. The hours fly past and often I’m sitting at my desk at 10 PM, wondering where the day went. . . and why I didn’t get any writing done. And it’s not like I’m sitting around watching soap operas all day either. I try to be disciplined and devote the first hour of the morning to writing, but then the dog needs to be walked, or the laundry has piled up, or I can see my handprint in the dust on the coffee table, or I have ten emails to answer, or . . .there you go. If anyone comes up with a solution to this dilemma, please share!

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    1. It’s scary, isn’t it? Where does the time go? And I still find myself working on my computer at 11 o’clock at night, just trying to catch….just like I am doing now! Hey, Bonnie, I am so glad I am not alone in this dilemma…

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  2. I can relate, Rosemary. I find that since I retired, I seem to get less done in more time. You’re doing such important work for the Women’s Club and it’s hard to turn your back on that, but remember to put you and your needs in that priority list. Before you get too exhausted, remember the airplane safety announcement – put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then others.

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    1. Thank you, Miko, I often remind other people of that airplane instruction about putting the oxygen mask on oneself first – so I really must start doing that for myself, you’re right. I really, really must.

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  3. Rosemary, my dear, what you have are priorities. You have a mission, maybe a few missions, but one has been saving The Woman’s Club of Hollywood. And you are no Don Quixote. You aren’t tilting at windmills. You have a real cause and you are kicking ass (pardon my French) in getting that unwieldy club on its feet. As for the stories and characters in your head. They will be there tomorrow. Just remember there will be a tomorrow, so aim for it. And as the Brits say: Carry on.

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    1. Yes – ‘Keep calm and carry on,’ is the full British motto. It’s the ‘keep calm’ bit that has been evading me as of late, Gayle. And, yes, as you point out, this quest is an important one. We had a long day in court, today. But I trust that “truth will out,” as my mum used to say. Hey – I should do a book about my mum’s sayings, too!

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  4. I, too, know what you mean, Rosemary. I’ve got a lot going on in my life these days too but felt more organized about scheduling things when I had a day job as well as my writing. And all that’s happening in your life may present challenges, but you’re clearly handling them well even if you think otherwise. Those of us reading your blog can see it!

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    1. Why, thank you, Linda. Odd, isn’t it, how much easier our days seemed when we had to live by someone else’s schedule? But I think our chaotic life is more interesting…

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  5. Congrats on getting to trial. I know that had to be a LOT of work. Hoping you take a well deserved moment to pat yourself on the back–but if you don’t here’s a “well done” from me! And to those little voices in the head, know them well, and they so often like to chat at night when I want to sleep! To answer your closing question, yes, I know what you mean…

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    1. Thanks, Mad: it’s a dirty job, but someone had to do it.
      And my little voices are very active at night, too. I come up with the best lines at 2 am…

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  6. Rosemary, what a trooper you are! Churchill would have been proud of you. I hope your over-the-top work for the Club will be over soon, and you can just enjoy heading it up….. and then listening to the voices in your mind who are clamoring to be heard and recorded on paper. That one about your Mum’s sayings would be fun! And the “Mermaid Colors” memoir! Oh, my gosh! And Lottie #2, and…. for me, the “ghost written” story of a limo driver to the stars….
    Meanwhile, “Night-night, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!” That’s where I’m heading. Then a class of 10 kids tomorrow morning – some time on my #12 Missionary Kids series in the afternoon – then back to leading more kids in AWANA tomorrow night. (Hey… I’ve even been asked to teach 8-20 kids a writing workshop….in Africa in April! Wow!)

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    1. Thanks, Jackie – maybe I’m just crazy! To end the week, I came home from court on Friday during that fierce storm, to a power-cut that lasted until 9:30 the next morning. No light, no internet and no heat. So I got a very early night and slept 9 hours! But I’ll get it all done one day. Wonderful news about teaching children’s writing in Africa. Your children’s stories are so good. You will inspire them.

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  7. Rosemary, I just finished reading this delightful and insightful piece! Feel like it might be fun to make some ‘writing’ dates. Thanks for sharing your world.

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