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Monday, August 27, 2007

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The lost and found of time

Somebody asked me this weekend how I find time to write.

I shrugged. "My kids watch a lot of television," I said. "My house is a wreck. Laundry piles up. I am not the friend who shows up at your door with a casserole when you are sick."

Repeating it now, I realize I was exaggerating somewhat. Except the bit about the laundry. That was an understatement.

The truth is, I don't know how. I just do.

For a long time, I was a blocked creative person. I told myself that in order to write, I needed to find the right time, the right space, the right pen, the right notebook, the right words. I built myself a snug little prison cell with all my pre-conditions. I thought they were bricks of concrete.

They were nothing.

It's late, and I'm tired from the day's travel, overwhelmed by how domestic life rises up to engulf me the minute I walk in the door. It's like floating into rapids. The kids are in bed, and there are at least six baskets of clean laundry to be folded. There are all the tasks I could do now that will take me twice as long to accomplish in the morning. There is my bed, and the tv.

But I'm here at the end of my dining room table, my laptop propped open between the children's homework and household papers. It's not a designated spot. I could just as easily be writing from any other cleared place at the table, or the end table by the sofa, or my bed. And although the light isn't great, and I am hunching in a chair that is all wrong for this task, none of it matters once I begin to type the words that came drifting through my head as I loaded the dishwasher, intending to call it a night and watch a little tv:

"Somebody asked me this weekend how I find time to write..."



Blogger Maia said...

Very nice!

Yes, there was definitely a moment not long after I became a Mom when I realized that I no longer had the luxury of any kind of ceremony around my writing. Gone were the days when the house had to be spotless, the perfect pot of tea brewed, the hour and place and mood exact. It became snatch as you can - no time for ritual. And, strangely, sometimes I actually think I might be a better writer for it. No time for bullshit. Just get right to the work!

10:44 PM  
Blogger patsyrose said...

You are a unique human being and you will always be driven to do what is right for you personally.

Anyway, clean houses are vastly over-rated.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You find time to write because you are a writer. Some of us are. Some of us aren't. Some of us pretend to be.

Some of us would explode if we didn't have a journal tucked in our bag, a blog tucked in our head or a envelope we dug out of the trash because if "I don't write it down this minute I will forget the thought ever came into my brain!"

Some of us have clean houses, some of us have seen clean houses before....

8:31 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

What a terrific explanation of what writing is all about.

9:07 AM  
Blogger alice c said...

That is me you are describing. But I have also discovered that the format suits my writing style and this has allowed me to write.

4:25 PM  
Blogger rowena said...

Thanks for this. Struggling with finding time to write and create in this whirlwind of motherhood is crazy.

I am surrounded with the detritus of Hurrican Toddler. I am drained from nursing and being only six months out of pregnancy.

This is loads harder than I thought it would be, when I imagined young angels playing quietly with paints at my feet while I wrote a brilliant novel.

The poetry of that sentence reeks of fantasy.

Anyway. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one, and that it is possible.

Damn the dirty dishes.

7:38 PM  
Blogger marta said...

I've just discovered your writing here, and know I will come back. I struggle with the family, work, writing, rejection, blah, blah, blah, I get tired of hearing myself. So, thanks for having a fresh voice.

9:48 PM  

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