Monday, November 12, 2012

Sharon Ashwood: I don’t have time for an apocalypse!

According to the Mayan calendar, December 2012 marks the end of the world. Honestly, as if the holiday season wasn’t busy enough without adding an apocalypse!

Inconvenient, to say the least. If time came to a standstill only came one month earlier, I could avoid a book deadline—although with my luck my editor would survive to demand the manuscript anyway, perhaps in fiery letters across a hazy, ash-strewn horizon. Editors are like that about due dates.

Of course I’m joking here—about the calendar, anyway. For one thing, the world doesn’t end whenever my diary runs out of pages, and I don’t see this any differently. But what makes it interesting is the fascination our society has with the cessation of time because, well, it’s the one thing that always seems to be in short supply.

I really felt that while I was on holiday.  This autumn, I went to England for three weeks on a research trip for a trilogy I’m working on. I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish while I was there, but 20 days of perfect fall weather, no day job, limited Internet connection, and a steady stream of interesting things to do and see had their effect. There were moments when I lost track of time, and for a little while I wasn’t a body hurtling through the day, I simply was.

And when one’s focus is on the here and now instead of a to-do list, great things can happen—like a long ramble across the moors. To say Dartmoor feels ancient is an understatement—history seems to ooze from the ground (right along with the mud puddle I fell into). This is where the Hound of the Baskervilles was supposed to take place. I didn’t see any hounds, but there were a lot of cows. Cream tea, anyone?

 Speaking of timeless, this is a medieval bridge in Dartmoor.  Talk about building to last! That is one of the wonderful things about England—architecture from the past and present is mixed together and somehow it all seems comfortable side by side.

And for the Regency junkies, a shot of Bath. In places, it’s hard to remember you’re in the twenty-first century. It still looks like a piece of the Georgian era.

Of course, all holidays end and the daily round of have-tos and deadlines start up again. But what I really notice is how well I remember the places I went and the things I saw, because I made a point of paying attention to them. This must be what people mean by “being present,” and I find myself wondering what miss on a day to day basis while I concentrate on the ticking clock instead of the world that’s unfolding right before my eyes.

A lesson learned? Maybe. Bad habits are hard to break, but I try to remind myself to make the effort to slow down and enjoy what’s around me. And if I’m a little late with that deadline?  I guess I could always blame it on the Mayans for reminding me to enjoy things while they last!

What’s your favourite method of kicking back and slowing down? I’m giving away a copy of Ravenous or  Frostbound to a commenter (winner’s choice)! Visit my website at to read excerpts and watch videos for the whole Dark Forgotten series!


***Sharon's winner is Lory Lee!  Please email with your mailing information.***


Stefanie said...

I try to plan a peaceful afternoon once in while. It's an afternoon where I'll take a relaxing bath while reading a book. I don't come out of the bath until the water is cold and I look like a shriveled prune. :p
Or I take a nice long walk with the dog.

Lory Lee said...

I listen to music a lot, sing my heart out (actually croaking is the right word) and dance a bit. If it's not enough, I sleep. :D

Lil said...

Family dinner, oddly enough. We gather around the table and eat, drink, share our day and linger over stories or debate over topics. It is my regular time to recharge and to connect with my husband and kids. We usually have either the radio or a cd playing in the background, and this can lead to strange and fun discussions, to0.

The rest of my day is usually a hectic attempted to meet various deadlines, but I try not to miss that evening meal, even if it means taking a break from work and then heading back out into the thick of things.

Pat Cochran said...

I kick back by snuggling up in a corner
of my big comfy couch with a Diet Coke
(with lime) or a cup of tea and big stack
of books! Heavenly!

Pat C.

Eli Yanti said...

Reading or listening music :)

*yadkny* said...

Some of my favourite methods of kicking back and slowing down are reading, listening to my iPod, watching romantic comedies with my sisters or just vegging out in front of the tv:)

Mary Preston said...

Your heading for the post made me laugh. I'm with you all the way on that.

I love to read, of course, but enjoy my crafts & walks

Di said...

It seems every do often some prophecy predicts that the world will be ending - I wonder if that means totally gone or just different from how we know it. I guess I better either finish up all my projects soon or not bother.