The Write Way Café welcomes author Alice Abel Kemp, who is practiced at juggling multiple plates.
Back in the days of black and white TV, one of my favorite performers on the Ed Sullivan show was a juggler who could keep several big white dinner plates spinning on long wooden poles. He’d start with one pole and toss up a plate, and then add more and more. Soon he’d have to run back and forth to catch poles that were starting to bend as the spinning slowed.
I share this because this is how I feel sometimes. Any day I don’t have a chance to write leaves me cranky. My routine is Write First, although it’s hard some days with other commitments to get up at five a.m. in order to do that. I have a new book coming out March 2nd—Annabelle’s Dilemma. That’s Plate Number One.
The second plate is my family. My husband is still working, and my son and grandson who live with us have divergent schedules. We have three cars for four people, and if I’m needing to go somewhere, I have to make sure I’ll have a car available. Plate Number Two.
Next, we have four dogs who need to go outside frequently across a day. Every time I move away from my desk, to get tea, to check on the laundry, to defrost something for dinner, etc., they all jump up and race to the back door. If I let them out, I’ll spend ten minutes or more trying to get them back in the house. Plate Number Three.
I belong to a Unitarian Universalist church here in New Orleans, and I treasure the friends I’ve made there. I love being a part of this beloved community. However, this year I’m president of our Board of Trustees. So far, it’s been a year with many one-time events with a new minister and the ten-year anniversary of Katrina. I have trouble saying 'No' to requests for me to do stuff. Plate Number Four.
Lastly, I’m a quilter. I love making quilts. The best part is even though it takes a while to complete one, there are multiple steps along the way that give me the satisfaction of accomplishing something. Writing fiction is a long process, and even when you sell a manuscript, it could be a year or more before it’s published. I have a sewing room with three sewing machines, one of which does machine embroidery. In this picture, the fish are machine embroidered. With many projects in process or planned, this becomes Plate Number Five because the projects call me to work on them.
Don’t read any of this as complaints, please. I have a great life and am grateful for the support of Debby Gilbert at Soul Mate Publishing, my husband and family, and my friends to pursue these many projects. Managing them requires dexterity, commitment, and speed.
What plates are you trying to manage?
Alice Abel Kemp retired from the University of New Orleans as a professor of sociology and women's studies. Devoting herself to fiction writing, she has three publications, a novella, and two romantic suspense novels. A third romantic suspense, Annabelle's Dilemma, is forthcoming March 2.
A long-term resident of New Orleans, she lives with her partner, Wayne Moore, and her son and grandson. Also, they keep a menagerie of four dogs, one cat, and two birds. Her hobbies include quilting, machine embroidery, and crochet.
Life in New Orleans can be a rich resource for writers and a distraction, too. There's always some kind of food and music festival and numerous fabulous restaurants. Living near to City Park, she often takes an early morning walk with the dogs or goes for a bike ride.