December 2: Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
Hmmmm…. five kids, running my own business, a husband working insane hours…. nope. Can’t think of a thing.
Oh, I’m sorry. Did that sound bitter? I mean, really. What DOES contribute to my writing, might be the better question.
It’s not like I’m devoid of inspiration. I used to hear stories about the son of a well-known local author. According to my then-boyfriend, this son was a bit, shall we say, rambunctious as a teen. Whenever his father was called to shepard this wayward youth home, the poor man would sigh
heartily and say, “It’s okay. I’ll just write about it.” Which is totally, totally dead on. Kids are a freaking gold-mine of material. Take my daughter; last night she mentioned that she had redesigned the robot she’s programming in school. Clearly, she’s a genius, right? So why did Young Miss wake up, look at the clock and think, “Ten minutes until my bus comes….A PERFECT opportunity to take a long, hot shower.” She can redesign robots, but she can’t tell time? That’s writing gold, that’s what that is.
The irony, of course, is that while my children’s antics leave me with no end of things to write about, the last thing I can imagine doing after working at the shop and making supper and checking homework and folding laundry…is find the strength to pick up the laptop and write about it. Write about it in the way I want to, that is. A way that shows the fun and the humor and the joy of just being a family. After dragging a kicking and screaming seven-year-old out from behind the sofa and upstairs into his bed, I don’t feel joyful at all. I feel like I need a drink.
So, no. I don’t think I can eliminate my children. Or my husband or the million other things that demand my time and attention each day. What I can seek to eliminate is the idea that writing is less important than every single one of those things.
I’ll be honest. It doesn’t seem to me that expressing myself is the most crucial of endeavors. If I stop being the mom, our little world grinds to a shrieking halt. The little one will be running naked in the back yard within a week. But if I don’t write for a day or a week or a year….?? The world continues spinning — granted, without a hiLARious post from me about the time hubby set the turkey on fire (true story) or the wee one giving the cat a haircut (I give it a month before it happens, tops) — but spinning just the same. When so many people are depending on me, it’s very easy to push writing down to the very bottom of my to-do list…and trust me, that list is long. Like, I think I still have “buy acid wash jeans” and “get Grandma to give me a home perm” on that sucker. Sigh.
I bet that there are things that could go, however. Things like cleaning behind the refrigerator…okay, I’ve never done that. But some things like it. Writing for all the satisfaction it gives me has to be as important as bleaching grout…okay, I’ve never done that, either, but you know what I mean.
So it’s decided. Writing is above cleaning behind the refrigerator, bleaching grout and, say, folding socks (which I do quite often, in fact) but below feeding the children and providing transportation to the emergency room. In an ideal world, the nanny would take care of the rest…hell, in an ideal world, I would be typing this on my ruby-encrusted iMac atom (“so thin you can’t even see it!”) while my publisher shoveled mountains of cash directly into my basement. As it is, I’ll have to make do with fawning off bleaching grout on my husband…
…yeah, he’s not going to do it, either.