Perhaps this isn't the case for others, but for me The Writing Life carries with it a great deal of Guilt.
A feeling I dislike immensely, as I’m sure most people do.
Maybe if I were making a bazillion dollars a year writing I wouldn’t feel so guilty.
Or even a few million dollars.
Or a couple hundred…
Anyway - when I venture up onto my Writing Loft for a few hours, leaving my children to tough it out alone, (though all of them are certainly old enough to tough it out on their own), I do feel guilty.
Though I no longer fear they’re going to set the house on fire (well, aside from Girly Girl perhaps. She does like to cook and we do have a big ole gas range with a choice of six open flamed burners). Or eat those little dish washer detergents which some children evidently imagine look pretty tasty, or wander out into the street and become lost. Still I worry.
I write a sentence, a paragraph, a page and then pause to listen: What are they doing? Is it too quiet? Was that a scream?
I write some more. Stop… Are the dogs barking? Was that the doorbell? Has someone let in the UPS guy only to discover he isn’t actually the UPS guy but a homicidal maniac who murdered the UPS guy, stole his uniform, left his body in a gully and is, even now, standing in my foyer?
Then the door to my Writing Loft slides open, or a head pops up from the spiral staircase and one child or another (usually Girly Girl or Little Bit), Files An Important Complaint.
Which (thankfully) does not include fire, blood, or someone being unconscious – The Only Three Things, (so they have been repeatedly instructed), For Which They Are Allowed To Interrupt Me.
Usually it’s something like Coyote won’t let me have my turn at the playstation! (Little Bit.) Or I needa ‘nother coke! (Girly Girl.)
I kick'em out - and continue on.
Sitting. Thinking. Trying to think. Remembering how to think.
Which is about the time the Need To’s usually begin.
You know the Need To's – those nasty little voices in your head, berating, nagging, coating what remained of your Writing Resolve in the thickest of guilt and Should Do.
The pantry is a disaster – the five parts which compose the blender are all in different places – seriously how does that happen! The rice maker is balanced precariously in the wooden salad bowl on the top shelf, the cans of tuna have been mixed in among the oatmeal packets, lord knows what state the cereal area is in, no doubt the sugar bag has a leak, and it’s entirely possible the freezer door has been left open…
The laundry isn’t done… (Like the laundry is ever done. Still…)
Dinner isn’t planned. I can’t send someone for pizza again. We had pizza last night… I think. Or was that Taco Tuesday? Which means it’s Wednesday. Is it Wednesday?
What about homeschool? Did I correct Little Bit’s math? Did I edit Coyote’s paper? (Pretty sure I printed it out. Where’d I put it? Is it on my desk? Oh crap…)
And scouts – he needs to get those badges signed off before the next Court of Honor.
Wait - when is the next Court of Honor?
Eventually I’m able to cast the Need To’s out. Burying them firmly somewhere in a redundant area of my brain.
Remember how to think.
At which point my cell phone inevitably dings
(Yes I brought my cell phone into my Writing Cave.
No I’ve no idea why I’m still that dumb but there it is.)
Bringing us to:
Worst Case Scenarios for Cell Phone Dings
Someone calling to tell me someone’s dead.
Someone calling to tell me there’s a wildfire, we needa evacuate.
Someone calling to tell me Turn on your TV – a nuclear bomb has gone off.
My mother calling to complain about my brother.
My brother calling to complain about my mother.
My aunt calling to ask What are we going to do about your mother?
My mother’s neighbor calling to tell me mom’s carrying something on fire out onto her driveway. Again.
When I think about it, it’s honestly a dadgum miracle I get any writing done at all.
Does Guilt haunt your writing hours?
I’d love to hear about it – misery loving company and all…
Originally brought to you by the Letter "G" in association with The Writing Life