Choices. Day 58 of 100 Days of Writing

The 100 Days of Writing have not been consecutive.  That’s one of the perils of attempting this over summer break.

I’ve spent a lot of time writing essays and screeds (mostly unshared here) about lack of time, lack of quiet, lack of head space.  The last few days I’ve raged in my writing against someone who, in another blog, basically said anyone not doing the work is making excuses and is “a lazy shit.”

Not directed at me, not directed at you, but brought ME to tears. It’s my deepest worry…I mean if I really wanted this, if it meant anything at all to me, wouldn’t I move heaven and earth to make it happen?

This on the heels of reading how Maya Angelou rose at ungodly hours to write, seeing memes about how Beyonce has the same 24 hours a day I do.  And I’m sure that, like me, they’re waking up every night for a week to a child’s nightmares and their kids are loud and invasive. I keep looking for solutions and the only solution seems to be to parent less, and that’s not ok.

I wipe faces and tushies, do loads of laundry, and parent three little hurricanes. I want some time: Quiet time. Private time. Writing time. I feel misunderstood and unheard: that my being on duty for 18 hours a day and too tired, too numb to write before or after that is only seen as being a “lazy shit” who has only excuses. I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to wrestle with that as I am folding laundry and answering bad knock-knock jokes and getting milk and playing Monopoly and driving and grocery shopping and teaching alphabetizing and helping piano practice and being talked to (/at/near) 18 hours of those days. Am I making excuses? Am I a lazy shit for wanting to not be exhausted, for wanting to not rush, for wanting to enjoy the process, for wanting to write while the sun is up, when it’s quiet, when I can indulge in my own thoughts?

Often I feel I am making excuses..and then I resent that I feel that way. I also feel tired and alone in this.

A few weeks ago, I asked someone who has had works produced to mentor me in the process:  keep tabs on me, keep me going. I didn’t ask him to read a script or a page. I would talk through what I had written and what I planned to do the next week, and maybe he could give me some feedback. I needed someone to talk to about it, to bounce ideas off of, to “keep me honest.” Someone to listen. I offered to pay for his time.

He told me, “Sure, I’ll do it. But I don’t want to do anything.”

I said no, thank you. After all, I have a blog that does the very same thing.

The boys had a party yesterday at a nature preserve. I was excited to have 60 minutes to sit and write. I brought my pens and my notebook and my oh-so-good intentions with me…I wasn’t going to lose any time driving home after drop off.  And the nature preserve was filled with…people! People who were very excited to be there and weren’t going to keep that fact a secret. Or quiet. Also the preserve was filled with mosquitos who seemed very happy that I was there. I am a buffet.

Undeterred, I went to work in the car. There was a five car parking lot at the preserve, and I got one of the coveted spots.  One of the other lucky ones belonged to a recently engaged couple. A third spot, to their photographer there to help them take beautiful engagement photos.

And talk. They talked outside their car. Outside my car. For 45 minutes.  I tried. I tried to block the noise. I crumbled. I wilted. I raged inwardly. I thought about any other quiet places, and realize how few there are in my life. Our local library is, without joke, one of the noisiest I’ve been in. The librarians are the social hub of my little town.

EXCUSES, YOU LAZY SHIT! 

BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. WAIT. WAIT. WAIT.

I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of being compared to excrement and Beyonce and Maya Angelou, as though I can suddenly wave away precious opportunities with the kids or make them quiet rather than loudly curious and happy. I don’t want the Little Little to grow up too fast. She is in the full-need stage.  I don’t want Big Little to quiet down. He’s repressed, he’s anxious, and his shouts of joy and sportsmanship are healthy.  I don’t ever want Middle Little to stop telling awful knock-knock jokes.

I’m tired. Middle Little is having nightmares this week. He stood outside my door last night and sobbed because he didn’t want to bother me again…he’d been crawling into bed with me for a week, and he tends to sleep perpendicular to me. Feet and legs everywhere. I held him and rubbed his back for 45 minutes until he fell asleep. It took me another hour to get back to sleep.

I don’t feel inspired. I can barely think of a thing to say other than to talk about where I am in all this…

EXCUSES, YOU LAZY SHIT! 

I don’t want to miss their childhood. I want to be there for scrapes and bumps and ice cream trucks and baseball games and tye-dying.

I’m not lazy. I’m not making excuses. I’m not running from this. I’m just running in circles.

EXCUSES, YOU LAZY SHIT! If you REALLY wanted to do this, you’d find a way.

I don’t procrastinate by doing chores. Laundry and cleaning and shopping and cooking need to be done to keep my family going and keep them healthy. Things get lost easily, and I’d rather not lose time and temper looking for shoes and papers. I spend time teaching my children how to do chores as well. This takes time. And patience. And practice. I try to fly through them, but I also know that I work best in an uncluttered space. Is that selfish? Is that an excuse?

YES, OF COURSE! YOU SHOULD WRITE NO MATTER WHAT.

Today as I did some cleaning, I found a book of writing assignments and prompts that I’d long forgotten. I will be using these for the remainder of this 100 Days of Writing. As with the last 58 days, I won’t post everything, but I will post.  The prompts may result only in a paragraph or two, but I need a silent partner in this…

And I hear Beyonce is damned busy.

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