I’m just going to have to write about the themes of procrastination and writers block today. Again. I’m so sick of having to do seven things at once. It’s maddening.
Since I homeschool my kids they are always around. I mean they are in fact, ALWAYS around. This makes finding time to sit down and write difficult. I can sit down anytime but if I don’t want to be interrupted I have to lock myself in the bathroom and frankly, even that isn’t childproof. They discovered long ago that a coin can turn the lock from the outside and they can quickly gain access.
Also, typing in the bathroom is off-putting. Let’s just all admit that.
This piece is not being written in the bathroom, just to soothe your worries, I promise. You can probably tell this is true because of the spaces between thoughts.
Each space represents a child or my spouse interrupting me to ask a question, solve a riddle, settle a dispute, add time to their computer use account or some other such thing.
It isn’t just the blatant interruption though; the surrounding noise is a factor as well. At this moment I am hearing in the background some loud and annoying dubbed version of a Japanese cartoon, an argument between a couple of boys about said cartoon, a clunking coming from Dave’s office interlaced with singing and the occasional “what’s that smell?” (which is code for, “Ang, can you figure out what that smell is?”) and small but sturdy feet from the 6 year old running into the room, jumping on the chair, bouncing off the chair then running back out. This action is complete with sound effects of machine guns and robot effects.
I attended a session at a conference once about being a writer and being a mother. The sweet woman who facilitated the discussion spoke about the “Angel of Availability.” I LOVE this description. Her point was that as “mother” if we are visible (no matter if we are asleep or awake) we are “available.” I’d amend that to add that if we are within a 6-mile RADIUS of visible we are “available.” (Read: that bathroom sanctuary thing.)
Even if I’m not hiding in the bathroom but rather in there for it’s assigned use I hear my job title shouted. It starts simply enough as “Mom….” (intoned calmly as: where are you?) then followed by “Mom!” (intoned a level above at: where are YOU??) then it quickly ramps up to “MOM!” (intoned firmly and with great distress as: WHERE ARE YOU?!) and then there is the banging and the crying and the wailing and gnashing of teeth. All hell breaks loose. I’m in bathroom.
I’ve had phone calls when I’m out with questions like, “Mom, tell Chet to let me use the computer” to which I respond, “Where’s Dad?” and then silence followed by “Oh.”
Don’t get me wrong; it’s great to have a husband who is self-employed and often works from home. We love that we can take off for adventures whenever we’d like. It’s puzzling to me that even though Dave is home as often as he is home that our children still don’t seem to understand that he actually carries the same powers I possess. I don’t think he says “no” more often than I do so that can’t be their hesitation. I mean, this is the person who bought his young sons pocket knives for fun before the oldest turned 8, an idea I can prove was ill conceived because of the massive holes in my furniture upholstery and their feather down comforters. I’m just sayin.
So how did I get here from writer’s block? Oh right, blaming it on my kids…
The danger in my blaming my writer’s block on my kids is that honestly I’m reluctant to stop being so available. I like being needed, I like, at some level at least, that I DO know where the car keys are hiding, that I DO know what time the mail comes. I like, at some level at least that I CAN mediate with some efficiency, that I CAN offer solutions to life’s little ills as they happen. That’s all true and yet you know what REALLY stops me from being so available? I am completely terrified that if the noise stops I won’t be able to write at all. I’m afraid that it’s the chaos that actually does feed the muse, that it’s the rising above the din that brings forth the great streak of creativity. I’m afraid that if I lose that I’ll sit idly at the computer and let my mind wander away from me. When I have to focus I’ll have forgotten how to focus without the exterior interruptions forcing that.
The “angel of availability” I trust. She’s familiar, long suffering and a pretty good kisser to be honest. It’s the “angel of creativity” I haven’t had a chance to know. I’m most afraid that if I place some hope in that luscious babe she might not even show up. She’s in such high demand, that angel. I see her admirers lined up in every single writers conference, bookstore and internet forum I encounter. What confidence can I have that she’s got room in her schedule for me? Truth be told, the real trouble is that I still feel a decision to trust in her is to be unfaithful to that angel of availability. For all I know my angel of availability could be the jealous type, she may feel dowdy if I leave her for an hour a day to spend time with that well dressed and enticing lovely who promises me backrubs and words of affirmation.
All I know for sure is that right now, I need the soft encouragement those warm fingers offer my heart. I need a few good words to rub together and lengthen out those tight muscles around my shoulders, to push deep into the worries I carry around every moment of every day. All I can do is ask and hope she gave me her real phone number.