2 May


Once I retired at age 65 from my salaried position as a major gifts officer for an independent day school, I got to focus on my passion: writing historical fiction. I’d started writing my first historical novel at the age of 29 and after years of rejections by editors and rewriting the manuscript to respond to their feedback, I finally stuck it in a drawer. At last, at age 65, I embarked on my new career as an author of historical novels. The first one was published two years after I retired.

It has been a huge treat to have the opportunity to be able to concentrate deeply on the characters, the plot, the time period, the research, the writing and rewriting of a novel—at last! The characters speak to me while I’m showering or driving a car or waking up in the morning. I enjoy their company so much that I don’t want anything or anyone to intrude on our on-going discussion. I focus so intently that I barely register the phone ringing or the FedEx knock on the door. I’ve been able to indulge my ability to concentrate.

The thing is, at the same time I seem to be losing my ability to multitask. I first noticed this when I was talking to my husband while driving and I flew past my exit without even noticing. It’s sort of amusing to observe this in myself.  I was certainly able to multitask all those years I was a single mother raising a daughter, with a full-time job, a dog, a house, aunts and uncles, lots of cousins, and some very good friends.

Does it have to be like this: the more I concentrate, the less I’m available to the people in my life? Is this why the Acknowledgements section of novels always include heartfelt thanks to the author’s family for forgiving her absences? Does concentration come at the cost of relationship? I hope not.

3 Replies to “Focus

  1. Fascinating! I think writing forces us to move deeply within ourselves and that does limit how much we are available to everything else. Looking forward to reading your next book! A fan.

  2. Dear Ames: The Lake Country Booksellers in White Bear Lake recommended you to me. I am president of the Bald Eagle (Lake ) Women’s Club. This is our 95th year as a philanthropic, educational and social club. We would love to have you come to speak to our group about your books and writing them. We provide an honorarium and I know the group would love to purchase books as well. The date we are looking to host is Tuesday February 18 2020 at 1:00 in White Bear lake. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and would be thrilled to meet you. Please let me know if you would be interested in this event. Katharine churchill

  3. I just finished reading your 1st book called Eleanor’s Wars. Would you be available to meet with my book club Feb 12, 2020. We meet in Brylys near Ridgedale in the dining area of the grocery store at 7 pm in the evenings Yes, I read your book in 2 days and could not put it down even though I was busy with Christmas plans?

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