Today is Monday. I try not to have animosity toward Monday, but it’s hard to remain on friendly terms when I see it as a party crasher. On Saturday and Sunday, I get to sleep in until 7:00AM; then Monday comes and demands that I wake up at 5:10AM. It insists that I get the kids moving and out of the house by 6:30 so I can make it to work by 7:30. I work for eight hours, even though I’d rather be writing, then rush home for a quick bite before taking my oldest to his Monday night class. Sometimes I write for the hour and a half I’m there. Other times I read a book, or if I’m really not focused, I eavesdrop (in the name of characterization, of course). Tonight, I did a little of everything.
When I get home, I make sure to kiss my little one goodnight, or he will find me. By 8:00PM, my older child climbs in bed. Finally–just me, my computer and my writing. I’m behind on my goal for completing my second novel, but in my mind, I can still pull it out just like I did my term papers in college.
I reread the last pages I wrote the previous night to see if they are coherent. Since I write at night, I can come up with some weird stuff; I almost think my writing would be more cohesive if I wrote as an early morning drunk. (Not going to test that theory, though). I fix the pages where they make sense and continue the story.
Soon, I hear little feet slapping on the tile. I hold my breath because it’s only a matter of time until he finds me. I hear my bedroom door open and slam shut; then more feet on tile.
“Mommy?” he calls from the doorway of my living room (which is my office).
Almost every night my little one gets out of bed for something or another. I try to guess what it is tonight…is there a cat under his bed? Sully or Mike behind the closet door? He can’t sleep because his pajama shirt doesn’t match the bottoms? Could it be he forgot to take Kitty (his stuffed tiger) to bed? Or maybe he wants to ask me again if he can take his bear backpack to school tomorrow, even though he already asked twice.
“Mommy,” he says quietly because he knows he should be asleep by now.
“What, dear?” I ask calmly.
He stands just a foot away from me, looking at me with his big blue eyes. “There’s a string on my bed and it won’t let me sleep.”
Okay, this is a new one; and I never would have guessed it in ten million years. I step away from my laptop and follow him to his room. I find it ironic that he’s half-skipping while my feet drag in a heavy shuffle on the tile.
“Show it to me,” I say as he bounces into bed.
He digs out the corner of the sheet and sure enough – there’s a string about an inch long dangling from the seam. It doesn’t look threatening to me and I still can’t imagine how this string could possibly keep him awake, but I don’t ask because he’d probably go into a long, animated story.
If sewing skills were a measure of intelligence, I’d be labeled as a very dim bulb. But I know enough to notice that if I clip this offending thread, the stitching would unravel all the way down the side of the sheet. With the precision of a surgeon with fat fingers, I loop the string several times and manage to tie a few knots in the same area. I then snip the excess string, leaving only about ¼ of an inch after my knots.
“Well, this string won’t be bothering you anymore,” I proclaim as I pull his Cars blanket over him and tuck the corner of the sheet under just in case he tries a closer inspection of my not-so-handy work.
He doesn’t argue with the stub of a string left hanging and seems satisfied that I taught the string a lesson.
I get back to my writing, but my dialog is total garbage. The scene is boring. I’m ready to write, but the writing isn’t ready to happen. It’s getting late; I’m frustrated and banging my head against the wall (metaphorically speaking…I wouldn’t actually do that because it hurts…and the noise would likely bring little one out to check on me).
It’s like my life is a Marine training obstacle course; I’m crawling through mud pits, climbing up walls, swinging on ropes, dragging a hundred pounds of I-don’t-know-what behind me with the drill sergeant (my deadlines) berating me and screaming in my head, “MOVE IT, LAZY! POOR EXCUSE FOR A WRITER; CAN’T EVEN DO 8 PAGES A WEEK! IF YOU CAN’T DO IT NOW, YOU’LL NEVER MEET A REAL DEADLINE! CRYING? CRYING IS FOR BABIES! SUCK IT UP!”
My crazy life isn’t going to let up anytime soon (my day job pays the bills and my family isn’t going anywhere; I’m indefinitely on call for kitty finding, monster chasing, pajama finding and string clipping). So, my solution is to fire the drill sergeant; that yelling in my head was so annoying anyway. Here are my new goals:
(1) Write something every night, even if it’s just the grocery list.
(2) Do the best I can; my novel will get done when it gets done.
If I ever do get a literary agent, I may have to grovel for the drill sergeant to come back, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there 🙂