Yes, when I heard that phrase last night on NPR, I grinned. I was listening to an interview with Colin Firth on Fresh Air, and he is so wonderfully intriguing. So when he described what he loves about acting, that it is a form of creative promiscuity, I knew exactly what he meant.
What Colin Firth was describing was the excitement and passion that an actor (or in my case, a writer) can put into projects, because the work we do is so finite. You start a film, you finish a film, you go to the next project. You sell a book idea, you write the book, the book is published. But while you are on that project, it takes all your attention and passion. And you love it, embrace it and revel in it, because it won’t last forever and there is a shiny new project always glimmering on the horizon. And the best part is that sometimes you have no idea what that next project will be, but you know that it will fill you with a brand new excitement and a new joy.
Someone asked me recently how it felt to have written 17 books. Wasn’t I afraid of running out of ideas? Wasn’t I worried about doing the same old, same old. Well, yes sometimes, and definitely no.
Every book is like meeting a brand new lover, my own secret creative promiscuity. It really is why I love the work I do–every book has its own challenges, ones I create and ones that are unanticipated. I love getting to know the characters in the stories and I adore the secondary characters who can be as quirky and devilish as they want. I love the surprises that writing brings, the “aha” moments, the days when the words sing in my ears as if they are being whispered from on high. When Colin Firth talked how he loves acting because it is a distraction from life, I knew exactly what he meant and I grinned. My writing, like his acting, is a place to escape. For me and hopefully, for those who read my stories.
I suppose this got me grinning because right now I am between projects. I am in that small, rare (hopefully rare, because I do like working) black hole in a writer’s life where you have turned in a book, the proposal for the next one and am in a holding pattern until all the answers get shaken down from on high, ie, my beloved editor. And while it is a mini-vacation, I find it disconcerting not to be knee deep in a book.
Of course, the first two days I totally played around. Got a pedicure and went to the movies. But I am too practical to live like that for long, and my “vacation” since has been organizing my taxes, cleaning out files and basically getting the decks cleared for the work to come. Honestly? I am lonely. I want to get on with getting to know Minerva and Lord Langley. I want their love story to fill my heart with smiles, and I look forward to the secrets that I have yet to unearth about these two characters. In other words, I am ready for a new affair.
What is your passion?