Taos, Writing


Today we drove straight up to Taos Ski Valley, 9,200 feet at its base, for a fall ritual — drinking a glass of good German beer on the deck of The Bavarian Restaurant while we take in the view.

We were late in the season, probably too late, because we noted on the drive up the golden leaves on the aspens were either faded or non-existent. And, alas, The Bavarian was closed.

huevos rancheros

Huevos Rancheros at Tim’s Stray Dog Cantina

Disappointed, Hank and I headed down to the main village where we took in the progress of a new mega-hotel being built. Then, we ate at Tim’s Stray Dog Cantina, where we enjoyed the atmosphere, a super-friendly waiter and the best huevos rancheros I’ve ever had. I also came back with a story idea for the newspaper.

So much for that ritual.

Actually, my life is so busy, I have established rituals, or I prefer, habits so I can finish what I want to do in the midst of what has to be done, like my job.

So that means I get up early to write. I aim for 5 a.m., well before dawn these days. I feed the cat, first, of course, or she won’t let me be, and make myself coffee. For those one or two hours I have no distractions from my writing or the business of writing.

What am I working on these days? I just finished what I feel is a solid draft of Northern Comfort, one of my country novels. It begins with the accidental death of a boy. I explore the messy lives of the adults caught in that tragedy. I use what I learned when I lived in a very small town in Western Massachusetts.

Now, I will set Northern Comfort aside for a couple of months — another worthwhile habit.

I’ve returned to my Twin Jinn series for middle-graders. (You can find excerpts elsewhere on this website, but soon this series will get its own site.) The fourth book takes the Jinn family to the town of Big Top, where circus and carnival folk live. Writing about the twins, Jute and Fina, puts me a happy mood.

What are my other habits? I write a post for my website and email my dear college friend, Fred, once a week. I take a long walk at least four times. And, I read what others write at night.

I make it work. And if I get surprised like I did today, well, I can handle that too.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That’s the bar at Tim’s Stray Dog Cantina in Taos Ski Valley.