I have some writing projects I want to work on, but I keep falling into life’s potholes. Like what you may ask? Ah, let me count the ways. Pothole number one: the microwave. The thing sounded like an airplane when I put a cup of coffee in it. My career as a chef was ruined. Pothole number two: the clothes dryer. It stopped drying. Wet clothes had to hang on the shower curtain rod a la college dorm days. Pothole number three: the lock and handle on the door leading from the garage into the house. Even when unlocked, the thing jammed and “locked” you out. Expletives required to open it. Pothole number four: someone near and dear to my heart – my husband – had to go to physical therapy for a painful back problem. The vow to have a set, disciplined writing time slid into the potholes, too. These vicissitudes of life overlapped.
Now some malfunctions a person can live with. Like a squeaking door or a dripping faucet. But. Some items – like the micro and the dryer and the lock on the door and back pain from hell – you just gotta tend to. No waiting around or procrastinating. But. The whole balance of life in your little microcosm is thrown off. Way off.
While you deal with this stuff, your brain screams at you. It wants to write. It knows writing is more interesting than shopping for a microwave oven or having a thermostat installed in the dryer or finding someone to fix the lock on the door or wondering how a person can hurt his back by just bending over. Your brain sighs, waves goodbye to that moment of writing time, and watches it slide away.
Three writing projects are currently in potholes.
The first one is simple, you’d think. I need a title for a personal essay. That’s it. A title. The piece is written and the current title is just not right. It’s missing the essence, the subtext of the piece. Brainstorming-with-self sessions have been unsettled by the above glitches. Titles keep appearing, disappearing, re-appearing. I’m missing a nice quiet moment of time. (Well, actually, I’m missing an idea.)
The second one is a short story. I jotted down its gist and played with a scene while in the physical therapist’s waiting room during several appointments for said someone. I’m experimenting with voice and point of view. Thoughts are scrambling about. Sentences have been written and crossed out and rearranged. Just need that piece of time, that quiet moment.
Third is a collaboration. A chapbook with an associate. I want to browse through my poetry files in a leisurely fashion and select and rework poems which fit into our developing theme. There are two new pieces I want to write. The project is exciting and in need of that uneventful, uninterrupted slice of time. I keep tossing materials onto the chapbook pile.
These writing projects are accompanied by the recurring theme of “quiet time.” Quiet: the absence of noise; silence; calm. Time: a definite portion of time allotted, used, or suitable for a purpose. (As defined by the dictionary in my Mac Launchpad.)
Quiet time has definitely left the building. I find I’m saving pictures like this on my Facebook timeline.
And browsing ads like the one below in the current issue of Poets and Writers, March/April 2016:
Dorland Mountain Arts Colony located in beautiful hills overlooking wine country of Temecula Valley in Southern CA. Private cottages with bath, bedroom, kitchen, workspace, porch, piano. Peaceful, serene, inspiring.
Well, so much for Utopia. Not gonna happen in the real world. And there’s no crying in baseball – er – writing. (Love that line, Tom Hanks.) Like we all do, I’m going to grab a lump of time wherever and whenever during the day I can. And dig into those early hours when life isn’t awake yet or those late hours when life has calmed down for the day. I’ll hope to receive a dose of inspiration. For sure, I’ll give a dose of perspiration.
I know I won’t leave my projects in the potholes for long.