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Friday, February 25, 2011

Right now.


I was all set to blog about my favorite writing books. Or websites I refer to again and again. Or building the iceberg of a story, what’s underneath the text that the reader never sees. But I had some trouble in the writing department this month.

My mother in law, on the lam from the chaos of a home under construction, came for an extended stay. Followed by my god-child, bless his heart, who’s struggling right now.

Oh, and my husband had a party at our house for friends. Fifty friends.

Whoot! My Speech Team kids, (I’m a speech coach at the local high school,) made it to the state level meet. State competition happens in Peoria, a place renowned for being in the middle of nowhere. (“But will it play in Peoria?”)

Then my sister lost her job. And my best friend’s husband had to have a biopsy.

Life and death. Family and friends. Urgent. Necessary. The real stuff of life.

This morning, I went digging in the refrigerator. I found the box of raspberries bought while party shopping. (“Who put the berries in the cheese drawer?”) The poor berries were beginning to mold, one or two, right in the middle of the pile.

I started to cry.

Those berries reminded me of my manuscript. The one I’d hoped to finish editing a month ago. Juicy, ripe. Ready to devour. To be devoured.

Rotting.

Hidden behind my MIL’s milk, and party leftovers, and the meals I packed for my sister and my friend, and the pizza my daughter and godson shared last night, the berries couldn’t wait any longer.

I haven’t worked in weeks. Maybe I squeezed in a few edits. I dragged my manuscript pages to Peoria. At the end of the day, half asleep, most of what I wrote read like this: “Thes aer the tmes that fry wo-mens douls.”

As a wife and a mother and a person whose gender creates the hormonal tendency to connect and care take, sometimes, I go a little mad.

Writing requires a certain amount of isolation. It requires quiet.

Life isn’t that way. Not my life, anyway.

I washed the berries and ate the good ones, all at once.

They were juicy and ripe. I devoured them.

9 comments:

MaureenAMiller said...

It is so true. My heart goes out to you. I recently had a family emergency as well.

Somewhere in the midst of the chaos the next sentence to your novel pops into your head-and it is beautiful. It is like that scene in The Perfect Storm when the rough seas stop, and the sun casts the ocean in pink...and then someone demands to know where the berries are, and that beautiful sentence is gone.

Stay strong!

Elise Warner said...

And this too will pass--true but hard to believe sometimes. Despite all your "busyness," your blog today was beautifully written and I know we all identified. Look forward to your next work.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Yes, indeed, we can all identify. Chin up. You know the craziness will pass and you'll be in a better space. What doesn't kill you...

Toni Anderson said...

I remember going to an agent panel at a conference and them talking about how successful authors write even when their world is falling apart. One woman put up her hand and described sitting at her sick child's hospital bedside and working because she had edits and a deadline. Now, I'm all for it, but if my baby was dangerously ill in hospital the only thing I'd be writing would be prayers. I need quiet and space to write--mental space, not necessarily people space.

Take care of yourself J, get yourself into your story when you can and remember our family and friends sometimes need us as much as we need them. Give yourself a break. It'll come.

J Wachowski said...

Wow. Thanks for your kind words.

I wrote the post because sometimes we seem as if we have all the answers, because we are "the published ones."

But there's no such thing. Just the discipline of trying again.

And again.

I sometimes joke to my family that I'm the career Churchill around here.

"Never, never, never, never give up."

Then I puff on my cigar and blow some more smoke. :)

Wynter Daniels said...

I've definitely been in that boat. Luckily for you, the manuscript doesn't really mold like the berries. A fresh read usually sets it all right again. Good luck!

Julie Moffett said...

I SO get you! I've definitely been there. Writing so often takes a back seat to everything else I have to do and I miss it. Eventually things even out and that manuscript will be there waiting. Not rotting. Waiting for a fresh read and a new perspective. :)

Clare London said...

My goodness, I know those feelings and I send you big sympathetic HUGS.

It's all too easy to let things get out of perspective. I may complain I can only write part-time - which is NOT the same as being a part-time writer (and may well be the subject of my next blog LOL) - but I can't complain too much because my life is full of caring for and about my work and friends and family. Which is of primary importance to me.

My writing always grinds to a halt when I'm swamped with real life stresses - but it comes back, and will bring joy back to you soon.

Take it easy
Clare :)

Shirley Wells said...

Oh, I sympathise. I've definitely been there.

If there's any stress in my life, the first thing to be ignored is the writing.

Hope life soon settles down for you!

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