There's a computer in there somewhere.

Just kidding!  I know exactly where my laptop is: safely on the backseat.  Want to see?
In case you can't figure out which bag holds the laptop, it's the black bag underneath the lime green bag that contains two pairs of cowboy boots.  I know you won't believe me when I say that I like to travel light.  Ten years ago I spent twelve days in Scotland with just a bag the size of a small toaster.  That packing challenge was a personal triumph but, alas, life is more complicated now.  Besides being a writer, I am an amateur musician.  Along with writing notebooks, boxes of papers and books, the trunk holds two lap steel guitars, a fiddle, sound system, microphone stands, boxes of assorted important cords and my husband's banjo.  I had to leave one acoustic guitar behind, plus two pairs of my son's shoes (he is traveling with us, for all 3000 miles, bless his heart).

We've been on the road for nine days and tomorrow we arrive at the summer house.  A few hours after we unpack I have a gig at a local farmer's market.  And the next morning, in the blissful quiet, I will dig out the computer and the boxes of writing "stuff" and set up my little office with its view of the mountains.  I'll happily drink too much coffee and luxuriate in the silence.

Most of the writers I know enjoy the solitude of the writing life.  Luring them out of their caves takes a lot of persuasion and offers they can't refuse, such as the promise of dark chocolate and a chance to brainstorm a new book.

While I cannot be driven out of  my office when I am on a deadline (in fact, I think my expanding rear end is cemented to my chair at those times) I suffer when I spend too much time away from friends and family and the band.

Finding a balance between work and, well, life is something I've struggled with for almost thirty years now.  It doesn't get any easier.  And, as you can see from the photos, neither does packing the car.

How do you find that balance?  And what is the craziest thing you've ever packed in a suitcase???


  1. When we went to Texas in 1980, I packed a whole bag of powdered Gatorade mix to make up and keep us hydrated while we were on the road--it was on sale really cheap. Before we even got out of Indiana, someone had spilled the Thermos of Gatorade all over me and we all figured out we hated it. The bag of unopened mixes stayed in a rest area somewhere--I hope someone found it and liked it.

  2. Kristine, if we ever decide to move, I would love for you to come and coordinate our movers. With your packing skills, we could use a truck half the size of what we would otherwise require!

    If we are driving somewhere, we have to be selective in what we pack, as the back of my SUV is strictly reserved for our dogs!

    I hope you are having a wonderful vacation!

  3. This picture made my morning, Kristine! Nothing like starting off the day with a good chuckle. :)

    Finding balance is probably the hardest thing for me, especially when deadline looms, but giving myself one day off seems to be working (6 days on, 1 day off)...necessary to recharge the batteries (and stop the dreaded butt spread ). Have a great vacation--looks like you're off to a fabulous start already. :)

  4. Kristine, I'm impressed with how much you managed to pack. And I'd love to hear you play all of those stringed instruments. Love steel guitars and fiddle music. And cowboy boots---must have those. Balance, what is that? There must be an art to finding balance. Have a wonderful, productive vacation. That sounds like a good balance.

  5. Balance. That's tricky. I've learned to plan my time, especially with deadlines, but at times things get crazy!

    I've never packed anything crazy, but once when I was at a conference, the zipper on my suitcase broke just as I was heading to the airport to come home. All I can say is, thank goodness for duct tape!

  6. , last

    LOL, soon I'll be packing our mini van. Way back is for suitcases, last row of seats will be made into a play area for son (pillow, sleeping bag, electronics, books, his little boy cave. Middle seats hold computer, food, necessities. LOL fun fun fun.
    If you were going to RWA, we'd have you play for us.

  7. Kristine, what an amazing life you have. I would love to hear you play someday, too. That's my kind of music--grew up listening to old country. Going to blue grass festivals was one of my dad's favorite family activities. I think balance will always be my challenge as well, but clearly your books are an indication that you are doing something right!

  8. Sounds as though you are the perfect combination of artist and woman. I, too, would love to hear you play. I move in and out of writer, caregiver, cook, lackey - all day long. If I just respond to whoever or whatever needs me, I feel balanced. (obviously, no children around, so life simplified.) On a cross-country flight when my daughter was a teen, I carried four pairs of tennis shoes for her (4!) "The green swoosh matches the green pattern on my blouse, the blue one goes with . . ." You get the picture.

  9. must have a lot of energy!! An office with a view of the mountains sounds amazing. It would probably be difficult for me to get anything done if I had a view of the mountains outside of my window. As for me, I'm not a writer or even employed secularly these past few years, but I still find balance to be the most difficult thing to achieve. Caring for my home and husband (we are currently empty-nesters) is still a lot of work, and I'm not getting any younger, so vigor is lacking these days. Too many spills over the years have left me an achy mess!! Nevertheless, I try to find time to do what I love, READ, at least a little each day. And I am so happy there are works from wonderful authors like yourselves to choose from. And oh, I've never packed anything crazy, but we went on a cruise once and I took so many books with me I was afraid the poor porter was going to break his back trying to help us with my bag!! I hope you enjoy your vacation!!

  10. You are a renaissance woman :) I would love to hear you play those instruments! It must be a challenge to pack all of your gear- but necessary. The strangest thing I ever packed was a styrofoam, glitter pink sprayed lollipop tree for a YA conference/signing... Def didn't look very cool rolling into the Marriott with that sticking out of my bag!


Post a Comment