J. Dianne Dotson – Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer – Reflections

Summer bleaches everything in sight in mid July. Short shadows distort everyday objects, making them seem two-dimensional. The pastel haze of sky blends into water blends into land. Humidity rises along with the temperatures, and torpor seeps in.

The post-vacation, post-holiday summer feels like a syrup. Like Popsicle mouth. I emerge each day blinking at the bright light, and feel energized before the heat sets in. Then I slow down. And the rest of the day undulates between wanting to be out and about, and wanting to hide from the shimmering brilliance that is high summer. I opt for after-dinner walks, when the light slants, and things feel real again. Not everyone may like it, but in the summer, I live for the golden hour. I can breathe again, I can pump my legs up the steep hills, I can watch the few clouds tint to cotton candy as our local star descends, mercifully, into the sea.

This is how summer goes for me. Creativity comes at night, after I’ve struggled through the heat of the day, and the house grows quiet. My brain nearly creaks in relief as I fire off the words under the ceiling fan.

So now you know why I haven’t posted as much. I can only do so much in high summer, my mind distracted by the children’s nosies, by the thousand work-from-home distractions (a leak/an insect/a problem, something always happens to a house in the summer). But now it’s time to realign myself and move forward.

My dad told me last week that he was halfway through my book, and I think I stopped breathing for a second. What if he doesn’t like it/thinks it’s ridiculous/etc. and yet he knew, of course, that I had spent much of my life planning this series. But not once had he read a word of it, until now. And today he told me he finished it! My salty-dog sailor of a dad, now in his late 80s, he read this science fiction/fantasy thing I wrote myself. And he said it was like an opera! An opera!? I said, “Really? How?”  “Well, it’s like you said in the description, it’s a space opera. But it’s an opera because of how the characters talk to each other and interact.”

I’ve sat with this thought all day, mulling over it. My unintentional yet intentional opera. Dad has always been fond of Wagner particularly, when it comes to opera. So I suppose he knows his stuff. And it suddenly perked me up again. Because I thought, Wait until you read Book Two! Talk about an opera! And now, suddenly, the urgency returns. I have to finish Book Two, and soon, because I’m being asked about it. Friends really want to read what happens next.

Upon reflection, I’m truly happy I wrote this book and published it. Or is it an opera? I suppose you’ll have to let me know.

Image credit: Fisherman’s Landing, Point Loma, San Diego, California by J. Dianne Dotson Copyright 2018