"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lots of non-political animals--and Me

Before yesterday, the description above could've described me. Maybe not now.

First, many thanks to my blog readers and those who emailed privately. Such an outpouring of congratulations enhances the total awesomeness of what happened to me. My comments section is exploding!

This is not at all the sort of day-after-the-election I anticipated, on every level. The morning began with putting together a "thanks for your vote" ad to go in the local papers, from our candidate group. While working on it, I was calling or emailing people who helped me/us along the way. I received numerous telephone calls from veteran House members and various friends. I've had emails from all over the globe.

There are plenty of people who didn't even know I was running for elected office, a category that included my literary agent--proof of my extremely low expectations of winning! I told her today, because so many fellow writers, several of whom are also her clients, were cheering me on. I didn't want her to hear it from somebody else first!

Some persons within the Porter inner circle (non-blog-reading category) didn't even know I was on the ballot yesterday. And some still don't know, because they're travelling or otherwise unreachable. Needless to say, they're in for a huge surprise.

Let me repeat, for I can't stress this enough, I didn't expect to win. My devoted husband, who loves me dearly and was supportive of me in this seemingly mad quest, did not expect me to win. Why go around for 6 months announcing to all and sundry, "I'm in this election but I know I'm going down in flames." I was very selective about who to tell and who not to.

This morning's paper quoted me accurately. Here's hoping for the same tomorrow (did it help that I'm a sometime columnist for said paper?). This afternoon I spent a good 15 minutes on the phone with a colleague of last night's reporter, assigned an article on the political sea change. She was interviewing new House members in the area as well as analysts and pundits. Nobody really knows what it all means, or the impact.

I can say with certainty that a bi-partisan effort will be necessary to meet the challenges of the coming legislative session.

The outcome in our state reflects the national trend, only more so. Every chamber, every power position will be held by the same political party, and not the one we're all accustomed to. It's truly unprecedented.

I did encounter a few real obstacles on my road to victory. As I set out for my first polling place, in the next town, a pair of deer blocked my driveway. I soon discovered there were two more lurking at the edge of the wood.

Wish I'd got a shot of the foursome, but I had to be somewhere!

Driving home from polling place #1 for a quick lunch and a hot cuppa, I had to stop for a flock of wild turkeys crossing the road.

The flock was about twice as large as that photo. My lens isn't wide enough to include so many turkeys.

Passing the pasture nearest my house, I saw the neighbours' horses grazing. They formed a picturesque silhouette up there on the ridge.

Today's victory lap around the district consisted of removing my campaign signs in the rain. Prior to last night, it loomed as a very dreary but necessary chore. But because I did it while imbued with the thrill of victory, rather than depressed by the agony of defeat, it was painless. And I didn't get too wet.

This remains an alarmingly busy week. I thought so much activity would be a distraction from not winning. Now my overwhelmed brain struggles to cope with all the other stuff that's going on, and tasks to accomplish, between now and Monday morning.

How will this new responsibility affect my writing career? I can't say yet, but probably not much. The Legislature meets from January till about June, but not every day. Fortunately, some of my current volunteer commitments are ending soon, or, like the new library, reaching completion, or simply entering a new phase that doesn't include me. I've developed really good multi-tasking muscles.

Admittedly, I'm never making as much progress on the novel as I'd like, and that's not likely to change. I should be able to get lots done before and after my next London trip, and up to the end of this year. There are some really positive recent developments--although they won't make me write any faster, the book is becoming even more a labour of love. And that's saying a lot.

I found out the dates for House of Representatives new member orientation. The swearing-in will be December 6, sooner than I thought.

After that, I'll be The Honorable Margaret Porter. (Must remember to spell it US style in this context.) I've said repeatedly today, this leaves me very little time to be dis-honourable so I mean to make the most of it while I can!

Last night I missed several victory parties. I was exactly where I most wanted to be--here at the Lodge with the Chap, Lola, and Ruth. The dogs slept peacefully on carpet (Lola) and sofa (Ruth). He stared at the tv, tracking results, and pumping his fist whenever my name and vote totals crawled across the screen. I mostly freaked out--loudly--about getting elected.

Again, thanks for all the warm wishes. And your faith in me!

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