Contrato Firmado

Yes – we have a signed contract. Because El Jefe is here it’s now a done deal. I clutched the pen with my tiny female claws. Barely able to put pen to paper. But Jeff’s large paws made up for my short fall. Eye roll.

We met at the imobilaria to meet our new landlords, to sign and get the keys. They are lovely people – a father and daughter. They speak zero Ingles, and our Spanish is pitiful but we muddled through. You can always tell about people through their eyes. The father clearly laughed a lot – lots of lines and he was very animated. And his daughter was a very nice person. After we signed multiple copies of the document and the imobilaria explained all the terms to the landlords (and nothing to us), we made our way to the space.

They seemed excited to show it to us. I performed much miming antics and broken Spanish. Finally the father looked at Jeff and proclaimed him ‘Santo’. It means ‘Saint’. I think he was referring to Jeff’s obvious patience being married to me. I laughed and told him my Mother says the same thing. I have referred to him as Santo for the last 24 hours. He seems to like it.

They seemed skeptical at first, us being American and all, but quickly warmed to us when Jeff changed some light bulbs in the high ceiling without using a ladder. He is ‘gigante’ and it does come in handy. I thanked them profusely for letting the space to us and the daughter told me ‘we are in this together’ so I take that as a sign of a good landlord/tenant relationship.

Since we moved here were have heard disparaging comments about Spaniards. People have said they’re lazy and they lack ambitions. I’m sure they don’t understand the culture. And I’m always offended by this and I’m not even Spanish. But let me tell you, since we moved here if we need anything delivered like an appliance or something from IKEA or a service performed, the Spanish outshine anyone in the US and it’s not even a close contest.

Now that I have the new space, I headed down to the local internet/mobile provider to arrange to set up our service. I also decide to switch who we’re using at home and change the house and our cell svs over too. That was at 10;30 this morning. At 2pm the installer called me and they were standing outside the space to install it. Yup! Same Day. Not 3 1/2 hours later. On a cold day in HELL would that ever happen in the US. There, you’d wait for the installer to call. He’d tell you a week from Tuesday between 8-5. You’d take a day off work, or work from home, and he would show up at 4:45 on said day and tell you he didn’t have everything he needed and would have to come back another day. Like installing internet was a mystery to him and he invented it afresh each day. Seriously.

Today these two guys had ladders and put it in the back of the space where I wanted it, after drilling holes in the outside of the building and then running a 100 feet of wire. And they did it all in a hour. Like clockwork.

Tomorrow they’re coming to the house to install it here, and on Monday our mobile phones are switching over. Just that quick. So anyone who wants to tell me the Spanish don’t understand process and technical service delivery is an idiot and has never really lived here. I will defend them vigorously, to any foreigner from now on!

OK – I’m not including Correos or Amazon.es delivery in that, though while quick, they’re wildly unpredictable.

Just now, I lined up a moving service to get all our relevant stuff moved over by the 16th and then I’ll be up and running in 120 sq meters -Painting,writing, and doing yoga in my own studio. It doesn’t get better than that!

Red-lines and Edits

Writing is my passion, and I’m looking to make it my profession. To that end, I now have an editor in the UK who is helping me shape my first novel. It’s a hard process. I wrote the first draft in 8 weeks, after I got back from my Camino. When I was in the thick of writing, it was as if the characters spoke through me. There were days it felt like I was just taking dictation. And I’ve spend the last year editing and polishing and, well, stalling. It’s OK to say it, I know myself.

At first, I thought I would have a bunch of friends read it. I pretty much made the offer to anyone willing to put in the time to give me feedback. But then I realized it wasn’t so easy. Writing a book is like having a baby. And giving that baby over to someone who will tell you that parts of your baby are ugly? Well, that requires a lot of trust. You certainly learn the friends who you really trust to hand over your manuscript, and who you don’t.

But more than that, I’ve always been a person who was brutally honest. I am who I am and I’ve never tried to hide that. And sometimes that makes other people uncomfortable. Because most people are not this way. And that’s fine too. But you’ll rarely wonder what I’m thinking, and I’m well aware there are upsides and downsides to this.

And when you write a book – if you write from the heart – it gives the reader insight into even deeper parts of you that you might not normally show, no matter how much of an ‘open book’ you usually are (excuse the pun). It cracks open your heart and your brain, and lets people who know you see inside. More than they ever did before. And also, strangers who have no context or even a small appreciation for your origin story. This is probably the hardest part for me. How do you publish your writing, tell the story, and protect your own heart from those who might break it?

But I’m going through that process now. The ‘This doesn’t make sense’ and ‘I’m not sure what you’re going for here’ and the ‘I would cut this section out entirely – it doesn’t move the story along’, when I think it’s a pivotal part of the arc. The red lines. The slashing and burning. I’m welcoming it from a pro.

This next phase in my writing process, I’m trying to approach like it’s a whole new story. Sure, I know the arc and what I want the ending to be, but I have no idea how I’ll get from here to there. Sharon, my editor, will have to lead me through it. Like my book, this path will reveal itself over time. And hopefully, in the end, the hero of my own story won’t have a broken heart.