Writing on Life’s Periphery

Most ideal writing days end up like this for me:

a) I get up early, sit down to write, and my dog immediately rings the door to go out (yes, I trained her to do that. Poochie bells; they’re awesome!). She runs to the neighbor’s yard, refuses to come back, and I chase her down. She resents my writing, tells me I love it more than her, and she has a evil plan to ruin my concentration (and if you’re wondering if she can talk, she can. Crazy, right?)  Lesson learned: distractions happen and if it’s not the dog, it’s a person, an ailing plant, or maybe even a machine.  There is no way out of this.

b) I plan for a day off to write, uninterrupted in my quiet, tranquil – Oh, but what, I have to leave my comfy chair? An appointment got rescheduled? The office workload just doubled and I gotta come in?  What an absolute surprise!  Yeah, no. Life doesn’t want me to write, it wants me wade through the to-do list that magically grows BY. THE. HOUR.

Per Virginia Woolf’s advice of “killing the angel in the house” I have tried to ignore the laundry until it starts sliding out of and over the top of the basket. I’ve turned an eye from the dishes stinking up the kitchen, the floors that collect dust bunnnies like they are pets. But as well as being a writer, I’m a wife and a pretty damned good one. Maybe it’s a little 1950s-ish but claiming I’m domestically challenged doesn’t help anyone cause I’m not.  If I learned one thing from my southern grandmother Ruby it was, “you gotta take good care of your man.” And I do.  And although I don’t regret it one bit and my husband helps out at home a lot, all that supportive domestic lovin’ takes time that sometimes I don’t want to give up.  So back to writing. . .

I’ve learned through much trial and error that there is no time to write. It’s squeezed in. I jot down notes when I’m waiting in line, edit in bed, laptop tilting precariously as I nod off. I’ve read about writers who write in the bathroom – not an altogether bad idea if that’s truly the only moment you have alone!  Desperation calls for desperate acts.

I’m even starting to believe that I don’t really need that much time to finish that book, or that editing, or that short story I’ve been dying to get to. I just need a few spare moments and the confidence to know that like pennies in a well, writing on the periphery can add up if I keep throwing my coppers toward a wish. If I’m lucky, my wish might even come true.

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