Monday, February 4, 2013

Ice Cream Sandwiches for Lunch and Frogsicles


Blurred Boundaries                                                  

Where does my writing life end and my normal life start. Ironically, if you think of yourself as a full time writer…everyone else doesn’t. You are the woman or man with time on their hands who types a little every day. You’re suddenly the emergency contact for your neighbor’s child because you’re home. Your sister wants to drop by for lunch because you aren’t working. The list goes on.

Now technically, I’ve only been home a couple of months, and fought the same image as I did when on summer break. Writers who are also mothers, you know that if you have three children, a variety of pets, one minivan, and twenty-seven different activities per week, you don’t have down time. I tried to convince my children they could get a 4H ribbons for making their own meals while I developed characters. They did learn to cook to keep from starving. The non-teacher mothers who chose to let their youngsters under twelve stay home alone during the summer gave them instructions to hang out at my house. (I didn’t find out the instructions part out later until they confessed as teens.) I can take small satisfaction in that I fed their child junk food. That’s why he was so hyped up by the time his parents came home. It was also probably the reason the neighborhood kids chose to hang out at my house. That and the fact I ignored what they did unless it involved smoke and screaming. Words like "your mother is going to kill us," usually got me away from the keyboard. I could worry about character conflict after I dealt with my own.

Oh, I know, some of you are horrified, but it was hard enough trying to accomplish basic tasks with my three children, and my fishing dog. A chapter was forgotten when my dog looked at me expectantly with a Koi hanging out of his mouth. I think he expected praise instead of screaming. Afterall, it takes humans all day to catch a fish. Do Boxers have an aptitude for fishing?

I'd dream of quiet moments when I could write. They usually occur in the bathroom, or at three am. My children, especially those in college, come back transforming our home into a way station for young adults. I find myself at the stove more than at the laptop. Maybe I should be feeding the young adults ice cream sandwiches as I did with my summer visitors.

When I told people I was going to give writing a chance, they were full of suggestions. I was supposed to get up every morning, dress for work in heels and full makeup, and then lock myself in the office for the next six hours. Isn’t part of working at home, the joy of working in pajamas? Scratch that, I was unaware the furnace service guy was coming today. I thought I’d wake up in the morning and write for six hours. Instead, I converse with the furnace man who is only supposed to ready the unit for the season, not replace it. Then there’s the everyday living stuff. You’re familiar with laundry, dishes, cooking, and cleaning up after the dog. It doesn’t always wait until I get 2500 words typed or even a thousand.

My husband helps a great deal, but there still doesn’t seem to be enough time to query, edit, pitch and write. Once a book is out, promotion eats up my day, and often my night. There is very little time for leisure activities. I am sure I must be doing things wrong. If you have a book on being an efficient writer, I’ll read it. Of course, I’d pay more if you could just insert the information into my brain between the grocery list and seeds to plant in the garden. By the way, have you seen my dog? I really hope he doesn’t bring another frogsicle into the house. Maybe not, the pooch hasn't been feeling too good. It may have been something he ate. No doubt, I will be cleaning it up later, between promotions and emails.

3 comments:

Ana Morgan said...

I don't have any advice, Morgan. I think it is cousin to the universal clutter theory: A tidy counter will get cluttered within 24 hours.
Which is cousin to the extra money theory--when you have money left over in your checkbook, something goes wrong with your car.

morgan said...

Hi Ana Morgan,
Instead of the car, it was our furnance. Living in the Midwest, we had to fix it. Sigh. Thanks for commenting.

Josie said...

LOL, Morgan. Surely you are describing my life. :)