Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Death, Taxes and the Writer

Kim Watters here. Today I wanted to talk about death and taxes. Yes. That’s right.

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

Thanks, Benjamin Franklin. True today as it was two centuries ago.

So how does this relate to writing? Interesting question. Well, sit back and grab a cup of coffee see if you can agree with me.

My daughter’s robo dwarf hamster died a few weeks ago. Tragic, I know, but not completely unexpected for the two year old hamster. I knew by how Twister was acting a few days before that something wasn’t quite right and had tried as best I could to prepare my daughter. So on that fateful day when I went to feed Twister, I knew the inevitable had happened. Now I had to tell my daughter.

I cried as I held her trembling body, but this is a fact of life. We are born, live and die. I hate to tell you folks it’s inevitable. Some of us just hang around a bit longer than others and some species are just blessed with longer life spans. Between my two children, we’ve gone through 4 hamsters already; each one receiving a proper burial befitting their family status.

I think she recovered quicker than I did and is already talking about her next ‘best friend’. This time we adopted a cat. Two actually. Of course my son’s still alive and kicking hamster is throwing fits about that. Hmmmm. I wonder why?

Anyway, I must admit I kind of feel like a death has occurred when I finish a manuscript. I’ve spent so much time with the characters that once I’ve finished their story and have to say goodbye, it feels so final. I know it’s coming and I can only prolong it for so long. Deadlines, you know? But each time I type ‘The End’ a part of me has died; the relationship ended. The funeral takes place as I ship the package off to my editor. As authors, how do you feel? For you readers, what do you feel when you finish a book?

The other certainty in life is taxes. While that part isn’t quite so traumatic, it does leave my checkbook lighter. Because we’re considered self-employed, writers have to pay their own taxes, and Uncle Sam really likes it when we send in quarterly estimates to avoid penalties and interest come tax day.

So there you have it. Death and taxes from this writer’s perspective. Anyone else care to elaborate?

1 comment:

Caris said...

The funny thing is, I've never really thought about it. Usually, I'm just so relieved to have gotten close to my 'deadline' that I don't think about the 'passing' of the story. But I think you're right. It is so final. It is an ending.

I've been having fans of my series already express this kind of grief...they want the next book to come and the next, but the idea that the series will end seems to be something of a looming shadow. I've been trying to encourage them with thoughts that the first ten books is only the beginning, that we'll get to live in this world a long time (*she says, hopefully*) But the reality is that this part of the series, with these specific characters, will come to an inevitable end, one way or the other.

Sigh...such sweet melancholy on a Tuesday!

Thanks for the thought-filled blog!