Thursday, August 5, 2010

On Writing

My husband played in a golf tournament yesterday. The grand prize was $28,000.
He came home with a frying pan.
Oh, I suppose I should be more excited about the frying pan. Apparently, as my husband says, it can boil water in less than sixty seconds.
Which is great for those need water boiled STAT situations, like if someone gives birth on my kitchen floor.
Although I'm not sure, what precisely, the boiled water is for.
I guess I'll just cross that bridge when I get there.

Anyways, today I took the kids school supply shopping.

Alex is now officially a night mare to shop with. I realized this a mere five minutes into the event when he started pulling every back pack off the shelf and loading it into the cart. Trying to remove the back packs from the cart produced high pitched squealing. Other people were giving me that look, the one that says "Can't you DO something with your children."
"Just leave them in there," I told the kids. "We'll take them out later when he's not looking."
Meanwhile I'm shopping with a cart FULL of Buzz Lightyear back packs, like I'm one of those people with a TLC reality show about having fifteen kids. Then I started getting that other look, the one that says "heard of birth control much??"

The next stop was the mall for school clothes. I had a plan. Get a stroller from the mall -they have little steering wheels and Alex likes to drive them. Then go to Kernels and buy a bag of popcorn and then I can shop virtually uninterrupted.  (And if you're saying to me now- give popcorn to a two year old?? Neglect your children much?? I say to you: yes. If it keeps them quiet, I'm willing to try it, even if there is a moderate choking risk attached to it. I do know the Heimlich, after all.)
Easy peasy.

I wasn't pleased, suffice it to say, that after hefting him half way across the mall to the stroller depot, to see a makeshift "Out of Order" sign taped to the machine.
Somehow, I think that the sign is wrong. As though, maybe, there was some kind of a typo. It was meant to say "In order."
It had to be wrong!
I tried in vain to extract a stroller. I asked the security guard to fix it. He replied enthusiastically that the part might be in next Monday, as though this could possibly help me.
From then on out I alternated between carrying Alex and extricating items from him while trying to herd him into stores that he seemed averse to going into.

Our last stop was the bookstore.
For some reason, I felt vaguely flaky asking the salesperson for Stephen King's "On Writing."
(I've already read enough of the book to know that Steve would not like that sentence. "Adverbs are not your friends," he would say. But there it is, modifying the word "flaky." But, Steve, I can't help it. I want to use that adverb so bad. I need it. Because I didn't feel totally flaky, I only felt flaky in some murky way that's hard to define.)
I don't know why I should feel flaky asking an acne prone teenager for a book at a bookstore. But I didn't want to come across as one of these people that has the notion to write a book, picks up a paper back copy of "On Writing" for ten dollars and thinks that publication will ensue.
I simply wanted to read the book.
So far it's going pretty good.
He says this of writing: that you need a room to write in- any room, even. But it must have one thing- a door which you are willing to shut. "The closed door is your way of telling the world and yourself that you mean business."
This makes a lot of sense. The first commitment I made to my writing was the buying of my laptop, "Lappy."
I thought that I needed it to write, because with the kids being all up in my bidness all the time, I wanted something that could be portable. I could take it to the park, or to the lake, or write outside when the kids were playing out there, or write at the kitchen table if I could settle the kids for a few minutes with a craft or something.

And by craft I mean: popcorn.

But this has not been very effective. The kids know now exactly which button to press to turn the thing off. I literally have to hit "save" after every word, having lost many chapters to their impromptu fits of not so random button pressing. And even short of turning the computer off they are absolute terrible distractions. They climb on me and shriek in my ear and ask endlessly for things that they NEVER want when I'm not writing, for example "mom, can you cut me up some carrot sticks and celery."
What's wrong with popcorn, kids?? What??
Anyways. I think that my next commitment might be a dedicated writing space.
Although where I'm going to put it is another issue. A three bedroom house and five people=no space for a writing room. But I guess I can always put a small computer desk in our bedroom. The key is the door.

Bloody brilliant.


Joann Mannix said...

I feel you in so many ways on this post.

First of all, when the girls were little, my first stop was always the popcorn. It was the greatest babysitter. And no stroller? Egads!

I love, love, love Stephen King's, On Writing. It's plainspoken and full of such good advice. But it's also coming from a view point of a man.

It is easy for men to say, find that space. My girls are teens and it doesn't matter how much I decree that I"m off limits when I write and I do lock the door sometimes, they're still in there, just needing a word or a touch or whatever. So, as much as Stephen knows his stuff, he doesn't have a clue about motherhood. None of them do, actually. I'm not trying to slight men in any way, because I love men, but they don't have the capability to be as sacrificial as women. That's my truth and I'm sticking to it.

Good luck finding your space. Stay diligent. Write strong. Write hard of course, while you're wiping noses.

Lorrie said...

Now that you have a working light why don't you use your laundry room? Hang some motivational posters like that little kitty cat hanging from a tree with the oh so hilarious saying, "Hang in There!". Oh...and a potted plant...a MUST for writing...did Stephen get to that part yet? Oh yeah, also, a little cup with pencils in it...just for show of course.
Room or no room...a wise kitty cat once said, "Hang in There!"