while the sun is setting

Yeah, that title is maudlin, because I’m not that old either for family life expectancy or for current life expectancy. Of course that might be changing, if the world governments are determined to eliminate the troublesome people who refuse to appreciate them. Or as my mom said “Because things are going to go backwards, instead of forward at least for a while.

At near sixty, I am, in fact, reaching the life expectancy in the village when I was little. (Though my family tended to live to their eighties.)

The problem is that I’ve lost a good 12 years. Not of life, but of production. I can tell you why. It’s not like I woke this morning with them gone. No, I first got ill and it was difficult to diagnose. And then…. And then life took over and there were moves and houses fixed up to sell (something that’s looming up again, and needs to be done probably by this December.)

I am not a country woman. Well, at least not now. I was born in a village, but it was 20 minutes by train to the big city. (Second biggest in the country) and from age of 12 or so, for various reasons, I lived mostly in the city.

Until the present year, when the wheels came off the nearest city (and most large cities in the US) you could release me to the wild in any city in the US and I would settle to the places I’d identified as places I liked: small neighborhoods, usually trapped within a city, where people who actually work live. I’d find the cheapest but decent diner, and settle in.

We did this several times, in fact, when my husband had a traveling job and I needed a break from my sons who were then very young. I’d go with him for a few days, and settle in to write and read, and walk around.

Of course, our life was bi-modal, since also left to my own devices, I relax by going to museums and zoos, and aquariums and being rather insufferably eyebrow about it. Then again, that pretty much describes my family, who lived in working areas, but spent most of their money on books.

As a side note, I do not identify with “the lower classes” for the simple reason I don’t believe in classes. And manual workers tend to view me with a bit of suspicion when I open my mouth. Mom’s brothers were in the trades, and they thought I was plain nuts. Dad’s dad was a carpenter, but he had intellectual curiosity, so he didn’t.

Me? I can refinish a table, or floor a house, but yeah, I own too many books and spend too much time pondering silly things like the state of the world, to ever fit in with working men who aren’t like my grandfathers, well educated enough to follow what I say.

I was once accused of identifying with the working classes, because I pointed out that no working class bar ever would turn on and beat to death a young couple who wandered in and gave them no offense. Or in other words, because I pointed out the world’s stupidest award winning story was stupid. That was…. special.

I also don’t identify with rural people. We grew a lot of our own food, but the land we actually owned or had the cultivation of (different things)was never more than a common US backyard. It’s just that Portugal is lush and fertile, so a US backyard would produce enough food for a family of four except for the meat (A few chickens and rabbits, but mostly we ate fish and that we bought, since the sea was about 10 miles and 2 hours away by the transport available to us.)

I did my bit for digging and planting and harvesting. I was as a young teen, as strong as most males, and had greater endurance. The biggest thing I did relating to agriculture, though, was the grape harvest. Various ancestors on selling property had retained “the right to wine.” Or else, they had bought rights-to-wine. I was never sure which. But we had grapes in at least three places around the village (might have been more. I’ve slept a lot of times since then.) Which meant grape harvest day (usually an emergency, as you had to pick between might-be rainy days, and preferably after a week with no rain (because rain makes the grapes swell with excess water) everyone would take a day off from work and school and we’d harvest. A day or two, then there came the stomping of the grapes, and a big celebratory dinner.

But despite my involvement mostly with that, I lived in a village, where the time of life was marked by various harvesting seasons. In spring you got novelties (carrots and such) followed by oh…. peas in summer (and tomatoes) and then melons and watermelon, all of it rounding off to chestnuts in fall, to roast in winter.

Anyway — to bring it back — I used to love Fall, with the wheat ripe in the fieds, grapes ripe in the vineyards, and the heady smell of all this, warm and brought to completion, in the air. I could get drunk on the air of Autumn, then, and the feel of the warm air, and the sounds of people singing in the fields.

This occurred to me as I realized a novel that I stopped writing “for a couple of hours” is half done and 8 years old.

Because ideas and honestly, the way I work, full novels, download into my brain when I least expect it, I have enough novels waiting I feel like I’m in a tower library pulling dusty tome after dusty tome down.

I am trying. Truly. But in re-reading Kate’s books for publication, the ones in which she tuckerized me, I realized how much I’ve changed, how much energy has gone out of me, and I’m not sure where.

…. but it must be done. We weren’t given forever. There is a chill in the air, but it’s still warm, and the fields are ripe.

I’d best get to it, before the rain comes.

Maybe stories don’t exist as independent entities, as I perceive them. Maybe if I don’t write them they just vanish, and no one the worse off.

Or maybe they will go hunting for some other mind to bring them to life. That’s fine.

Or maybe not, who knows?
I’ve been given a mission, and even if everything is going backwards now, it’s time to do it.

If you’re a praying sort, pray for me. I need all the help I can get.

39 comments

      1. Thank you. It is much needed.
        On a side note, I ordered a research book I didn’t know was from a Catholic house. It came with a complementary exorcism prayer kit.
        Should I be alarmed? this has NEVER happened before.

        1. It is 2020. Put it in a bug-out bag – when you grab the bag while running screaming from the house, you’ll be ready to camp outside and deal with the nasty thing you ran from.

        2. *blink*
          *blink*
          *blink*

          Well, that’s a bit odd*, though no more than the interrogation I got when ordering a St. Joe’s statue because we were moving. (The lady wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to disrespect Papa Joe for that quasi-magic “sell my house and I’ll unbury your statue” thing and was quite prepared to refuse to sell it if I wasn’t going to treat him right. I wanted the statue to stand by the sink )

          Did it come with some version of this book?
          http://store.usccb.org/prayers-against-the-powers-of-darkness-p/7-567.htm

          That’s got the lay-person stuff in it– since it came free or at cost, any items were probably blessed, too.

          The kind of stuff you’d order from a Catholic outfit that you wouldn’t instantly know is Catholic would tend to catch folks who can use all the help they can get, too.

          * mostly because when I think about it, it shouldn’t be that odd at all; a minor exorcism is anything where you are trying to break the influence of evil over someone– like that famous example of the prayer, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, which is in the booklet I linked.

          1. I have a Saint Joseph statue on my windowsill by my sink.
            I discovered it while turning our front yard into a flowerbed a few years after we bought our house. The previous owners (with a very Italian last name so I’m assuming that they were Catholic at some time in their previous history) had buried St. Joseph in the front yard, upside down, and abandoned it when they sold the house.

            I washed the little statue off and it sits on the windowsill.

            Interestingly, we heard through the grapevine that after the previous owners moved, they had one trouble after another, a steady stream of them.

            1. Well, threaten Jesus’ foster father- and then welsh on the deal?

              Never mind Jesus, Mary and Joseph being against you– there’s probably a flock of reformed Mafia sorts “encouraging” their “reform”!

              (Yes, I do think the saints still have a sense of humor.)

  1. Dear lady, it would be a great gift to those who love you if you would create a shareable expression of those fetal novels. I think immediately of dictation to a recording device.
    My blessed mother, now 92, for YEARS talked about writing down the story of her early life. The most she was ever able to put on paper (via a computer word processor) was less than one page of text. Too late in the process, I bought her a hand-held tape recorder, but she just wasn’t able to master the technique. Her sweetness remains, but her memories are mostly gone.
    While you can yet learn different technology, consider dictation over keyboarding as a way of making it possible for those tiny, unborn characters to see life. Who knows? Perhaps 100 years from now, someone will still be creating works “from story notes provided by Sarah A Hoyt” so that future fans can have Opinions.
    It’s just a thought.

  2. Ever since I had Covid (which I was supposedly over a month ago) I get fatigued really easily. I just don’t have any energy. I am hoping this is a temporary situation, as I have a bunch of stuff to do. We’re looking for a new house, so I need that energy soon.

    Praying for my favorite author.

    1. Kamas, do you have a portable O2 sensor? They’re available on Amazon for under $100 depending on brand and features.

      1. My husband bought one, because he’s been waking up tired even with the CPAP. At one point, he was down around 90 in the morning. (His doctor has told him to start with getting his CPAP adjusted, then they’ll look at other things.) His “normal” is about 96-97, because of asthma and impaired lung function.

      2. I asked for one for Christmas. I think it may come in handy over the next couple of years. I also asked for a portable water purifier.

  3. “Things will go backwards for awhile.” I like that way of thinking about it. To realize that however bad, it isn’t forever. Even the Soviet Union fell. And with that in mind, my winter projects include planting fruit trees, and attending to the pecan tree spray schedule.

  4. Hey there. I’ve been stressed and depressed and lost a fair amount of time to “the world and everything in it” lately — you know, ’cause we’ve talked. I set myself a small daily word count. 1250 words.

    Most days I hit them.

    It isn’t the moon and the stars, but it’s something, and falling into the fiction at least for a few hours helps. Hugs.

  5. I also don’t identify with rural people.

    *dryly* Same reason as “working classes.”

    You recognize them as people. Some of whom you’ll identify with, some of whom you’ve as little in common with as I have with Mrs. Obama. (She is aware of fashion, socially focused, a town kid and above average height; I am none of those things, and we’d probably be on opposite sides of the Mommy Wars, too.)

  6. (Hopefully unrelated – have not yet read) The title reminds me of the introduction of Spike Jones version of Hawaiian War Chant, “As the sun pulls away from the shore, and our boast sinks slowly in the west….”

    1. Is that supposed to be “our boast” or “our boat”? Either one works, but the first suggests at least a tiny bit of awareness of the absurdity.

      1. My mitsake. It should be ‘boat’ not ‘boast’ (typos with hooves). Spike Jones & the City Slickers were FULLY aware of the absurdity (Spike *wanted* to be able to be taken seriously and play Serious Music… but people wanted FUN… so.. an octave’s worth of anvils, auto-horns, pistols, etc. He was BRILLIANT at parody… but that wasn’t what he wanted. Thus my claim Reality is a Frustration Generator[1] if not actual Hell[2]).

        [1] Who is truly happy with their lives? There are seemingly only two groups – those who would be happy no matter what (the Humble… or Insane). And.. well. Assholes. And you meet more Assholes, alas.

        [2] Humans do not call their world Hell as they are cursed with the ability to imagine how things could be worse, Sometimes they even try it, and sure enough, things get worse. [See: Russian History. {In a few words, “:…and then things got worse.”}]

  7. I was once accused of identifying with the working classes, because I pointed out that no working class bar ever would turn on and beat to death a young couple who wandered in and gave them no offense.

    So basically you must “identify” with them because you aren’t arrogant and condescending towards them? I see.

    Then again, there are a lot of people who ARE arrogant and condescending towards anyone not in their group. Most of these are people who claim to value diversity.

      1. The old school Marxists would be ashamed of them.

        (Yes, I know, the old school Marxists tending to be arrogant and condescending towards the working classes as well, but they at least PRETENDED that they were in awe of the ideal “working man,” even if all actual workers earned their contempt.)

        1. Everyone gets kicked to the curb when drained of use because everything must serve the Leftist agenda.

  8. Prayers, good vibes, good thoughts all headed your way.

    I tend to do the same thing about identifying or not with people. I’ve worked in a wide variety of areas (building sets for TV shows, building airplanes, faculty at universities large and small), so I have met and become friends with people from, as they say, “all walks of life.” I try to emulate my father’s approach. He took everybody at face value on first meeting and respected those who were honest and hard-working…until you proved yourself to be an idiot or asshole. He didn’t suffer fools at all. And Lord knows he hated politically correct crap. He was considered by many of my friends to be a stereotypical conservative Republican…who invited the gay man he worked with, and his partner, to Thanksgiving dinner at our house because their families wouldn’t accept them and Dad said everyone needs a place to go on Thanksgiving. I believe he’s why my friends group is so eclectic.

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