March 09, 2010


Moms often get through a day, look at the list of things they intended to do (perhaps were even looking forward to doing, though cleaning my floors just doesn't do it for me), and wonder how on earth they could be so tired. Today? Today I already know why I'm tired.

1-Woke up and left bed ~7:50 a.m., almost an hour later than usual
2-Changed diaper and got milk for the 16 mo. old, who is teething (and not happy about it)
3-Got kids (and self) dressed, which necessitated digging through some laundry baskets & the dryer
4-Got breakfast for kids and self, the fed 16 mo. old and self
5-Let dog outside
6-Assemble needed paraphanalia for MOPS meeting this morning
7-Load kids into the car
8-Let the dog back inside, then closed him in the laundry room (thanks to his muddy paws)
9-Load tub of items into the back of the van
10-Drive to the next town for the meeting
11-Drop kids off at their respective places for childcare during the meeting
12-Return to van and retrieve my books and materials (in the rain)
13-Race to meeting room
14-Return to the rain outside to get tub of cloth diapers from another mom, then place the tub in our van
15-Meeting time (eat, watch video, dismiss for discussion time)
16-Lead/facilitate discussion
17-Hear familiar crying across the hall, and go to investigate--yes, it's my child.
18-Realize it's close to time to leave, so change child's diaper, pack up 16 mo. old's things, and return to meeting room
19-Explain that I need to leave early and arrange for my materials to be gathered together so I can get them some other time
20-Pick up second child from care site
21-Load children into the van
22-Running late, race home in ~10 minutes to pick up the dog
23-Load the dog into the van
24-Take the dog to his grooming appointment, 10 minutes late (just a bath, but most necessary!)
25-Return home to pick up parents' tool that we borrowed
26-Go to parents' house to return tool
27-Drive to store to pick up groceries
28-Return home to unload groceries
[aside from coming into the store itself, yes, the kids have been in the van since #21]
29-Return to groomer's to retrieve dog
30-Return home to unload dog, children, and various things from the morning
31-Put away groceries, feed kids lunch, unload dishwasher, put away dishes and reload dishwasher
32-Sit down and (gasp!) eat lunch myself

I may not have gotten things done on my mental list (fold laundry, put away clean clothes, organize/file paperwork, clean the floors, clean up toys, shower, work on afghan, put tub of scrap-booking supplies away), but I'll extend grace.

Today, I know why I'm tired and my to-do list is undone.

March 03, 2010

Writer's Blockheadedness

I love language, and somewhere around freshman year I had a teacher ask to submit a writing piece to a lit magazine. I took a lit course as an extracurricular in college and got reamed for my writing style; such is the result of getting reamed earlier in college for being 'too literary' on engineering lab reports, I suppose.

What I'm trying to say is that I don't ever remember dreaming of being an author. It's only as I've been writing and submitting a piece here and there that I look back over my shoulder and see earlier things scattered along the path that led me here: the book I wrote that took me to a Young Authors convention; the poems I wrote for sports seasons, family birthdays, and just because. The persistent (though sporadic) journal entries. I think I have writings/journal entries for every year going back 20+ years.

In spite of writing being a long-standing way in which I express myself, I often dread it. Sitting at a keyboard means facing down internal daemons.

"Just look at how long it's been since you wrote anything of importance."
"Why do you keep putting this off when others have told you this is a gift?"
"What kind of a writer are you, that you can't even sit down for 10 minutes a day to write about your kids and keep regular updates in a file for them?"

When I do sit down, I can type in stream-of-consciousness (like now), and it feels like a release of pressure. Whether I write a publishable piece or not, framing my thoughts/struggles on the page has always helped me. When it comes to making words say what I want them to, though, they become unwieldy and my lexicon is suddenly insufficient.

Communication has the possibility of telling someone what you're thinking, but also how you feel about what you're thinking and perhaps a shade of how others have felt about your thoughts. I'm all for denotation (the technical definition of a word), but it's connotation (the social perception and mood surrounding a particular word) that drives me. 'Dark' and 'inky' could be interchangeable, but the latter sounds and feels more image-oriented and poetic. A person can lecture or berate someone about a poor choice, but a berating implies more scorn and contempt. It is possible to paint with words; their colors just aren't visual.

I think most, if not all, writers have a vision of what a finished piece could say; most, if not all, will feel deflated after finishing something because it falls short of that vision. Sometimes by rewriting, sometimes by editing, that vision is reached, but rarely.

I promised God several years ago that if I got a solicitation for a written piece, I would submit at least one writing to it. I have not succeeded in keeping that promise, since I didn't write or submit a piece for this last request. Now I have another request from the same individual; the deadline is May, but the earlier I submit, the better. I think I know of something I could write, but words cannot express how I dread facing a blank page to start writing it out. Once written, I'll have to leave it alone for at least a week or two before I attempt editing. I rarely like anything I've written right after I write it. It seems to take somewhere around 2 years before I can read a writing and not feel like I dropped the ball somewhere.

So... I'm off to spend some time with my journal, then hopefully to shower. The writing piece will hang over my head for a while longer, I think.