Well, if writing is the kitten….you get the idea.
I love writing. I really, really, really, LOVE writing. So why do I go through these periods when writing can barely tolerate me? There are always stories rattling around in my head and inappropriate but funny crap is bound to fall out of my mouth on a daily basis in conversation. The question then becomes, why can’t I string three words together when I sit down at my computer screen?
I have a co-worker whom I love to tease. He made the unfortunate mistake of blushing when I made a borderline inappropriate joke at his expense. He went home and brushed up on all his comebacks and I’ve never known a moment’s peace since. It’s become a challenge everyday in the lunchroom, who gets the last word because the other can’t get that rapier out quick enough. Today, he scored first blood by casually asking me what I was going to do without him around to harass next year.
I had nothing, not a single word came to my defense. He won. Hours later I hit on the perfect reply but it was too late. There is no new battle till Monday. In the midst of that chaotic lunchroom, he got the best of me in a match of wits.
The sad part is, I already knew he was planning a transfer, he had mentioned it weeks ago. I’d even thought about it a time or two, how terrible next year would be without him to joke with. A job I’ve tolerated because it’s a good job, turned into something I looked forward to because of friendship, but now I’m faced with the realization that it will be back to something tolerated very soon. That realization left me inarticulate today.
I know there are many authors who have written their best novels under onerous conditions, circumstances far worse than my own. Even so, in the past year I’ve come to realize that I need, space and quiet and room to let my voices talk to me, if I want to write.
I don’t like saying that out loud because the first thing I think is oh aren’t you the precious one. Poor little girl can’t write AND work, poor lazy thing.
It’s my mom’s voice, I hear it in. Not that she ever said those exact words to me, but it’s heavily cloaked in her inability to sit still with her own thoughts. She never just sat in a chair and daydreamed, if she sat down without handwork in her lap, it was to nap, never to dream.
I grew up in a hardworking home. Only after the chores were done, the meals taken care of, the younger children put to bed, the showers taken and the pets and plants watered, the last dish washed, dried and put away, only then were we left to our dreaming. By that time of night, you fell into your bed and were unconscious in moments. I’ve realized that daydreaming is my stories lifeblood. I’ve come to understand that I need quiet places and undisturbed hours to tempt my characters out of their corners.
But here I am, counting down to bedtime on Sunday night because I’m back to work tomorrow morning. I’ve managed to string a couple of words together today, yay for me! I’d love to hear what you do, how do you balance writing and the work you get paid for? In the meantime, here’s to another week of being able to buy food!