Totally excited to have just purchased the kindle version of this final chapter in Hugh Howey’s wonderful Wool series.
I think I may have found my path to becoming a night owl again after ten years of going to sleep early. Yesterday’s yoga session ended with a 15 minute Yoga Nidra guided meditation that put me in a state of deep stillness so complete that when we were brought back to the surface, I felt as if I’d slept nine hours.
At 9pm we all made our way upstairs to get on jammies, brush teeth, snuggle, and then go to bed. Chris was asleep a minute after his head hit the pillow. I read until midnight, and even after I put the iPad down and closed my eyes, I’m sure I was awake for another hour. This could be prime writing time if I work a recorded Yoga Nidra meditation into the middle of my day.
I ordered a new battery and charger for my ancient 13” macbook this morning - the little workhorse is six years old. It finally dawned on me that part of the reason I’m getting so little writing done is because I don’t work well at this horrible desk situation in the living room stairwell corner. In the past I’ve taken my laptop out in the shade, or up to my room, or to the comfy chair by the window, and tapped away with my headphones pumping ambient or instrumental rock into my skull to drown out the living noises the family makes.
For the last six months, or maybe even longer, the second I unplug the laptop to move it to another location, it shuts down. I have to be plugged in to work, so can’t easily take it to a cafe with the guarantee I’ll be able to do what I planned because so often the outlets are full. I don’t know why I didn’t think to order new parts sooner. I think I thought they would be outrageously expensive, but for $42 with free Amazon Prime 2-day shipping, I’ll have them in my hands on Tuesday.
In the meantime, I’ve taken to sitting on the front porch for a bit first thing in the morning, and at the end of the day, to take analog notes for the novel, and for the memoir that keeps off-gassing snapshots like holograms into my day and into my night dreams.
I was afraid that I’d lost sight of how good it felt to read my work to the group on the last day of Camp Makearoo. That I’d lost the thread of story that picked up when I read through most of the draft. But the notes are flowing, and I see how the protagonists will collapse into their hells together, and am beginning to see how they will climb out - sometimes together, sometimes one stepping on the other.
Wednesday morning, I will take my laptop out on the front porch, along with my notebook, and begin. For now, it’s time to head out there with my coffee before Lila wakes up, bringing her eight year-oldness into the day.
Words on a Wednesday
That’s some moon out there, this morning. It woke me at 3:30, and I never really fell back into sleep, so when the alarm went off at 5:10, I reminded myself that today is the day I do things differently. Today is the first day of my 30 day habit change experiment, which started out as me saying I will get up and write every morning for an hour or so before the mad rush to get ready for school/work. But a closer look at my morning routine reveals an ingrained, unhealthy, time-wasting habit that’s squarely blocking the road to writing.
Every morning for the last I don’t even know how many years, I’ve gotten out of bed, made a cup of coffee (well, now chai tea, because I don’t drink coffee in the morning), and sat down at the computer where the browser window from the night before waits. I check email, answer anything pressing, then move on to Facebook, the weather, a quick look at headlines, and then Tumblr. Usually I’ll read all the way back to where I left off the night before. By the time I’m finished with all of that it’s 7:30 like it is right now, and it’s time to get my ass in gear. No real writing has occurred.
So rather than a goal of writing in the morning, I knew that my goal has to be not checking anything first thing in the morning. As a matter of fact, I need to not keep my browser windows open at all during the day either. I need to limit my email/social networking time to specific times during the day. So, I’m giving myself a half hour from 7-7:30 am, and another half hour at lunchtime, then one hour after dinner/homework/freelance work is completed at night. I had to bury my mail, FB, tumblr, and pinterest apps several layers deep on my phone so I can’t easily check every ten minutes like I’ve been doing since forever.
This morning has been a success. I got out of bed, did 40 minutes of yoga, qi gong, and meditation. Then I made my tea and sat down at the computer, but first I wrote a page in my analog journal. I’d closed the browser last night and left my memoir document open, so when I woke the computer up, I wrote 800 words about my dad, and decided a few things, and asked a few questions to answer later.
Then I read and answered email, did my quick browse of FB, checked the weather and the “news”, and then opened Tumblr. I only let myself go back five pages. Now it’s time to wake Lila up and get our asses out the door in 45 minutes. My back feels looser, my mind feels awake, yet calm, in spite of being nervous that I won’t be able to do this thing. It’s challenging to not give in to the nagging suspicion that I’m missing something important.
But, I’ve been missing out on something that’s very important - my writing. Time is flying past me now and the words are always there waiting to make it to the page. Today I got some down. Tomorrow I will get some more down and I will create this new habit and learn how to not be so enslaved to the constant distraction of the intertubes.
Wish me luck.
Write one leaf about watering the plants.
We haven’t had any real rain for two weeks, and i’s 90º out there right now so the garden is looking limp and exhausted. Last week Chris set up the plastic kiddie pool at the base of the slide with the hose attached to the top of the slide (hillbilly water park!). The water in the pool quickly became a fetid mosquito breeding tank, and I keep forgetting to empty it out with my one woman bucket brigade.
At around 11:30 this morning Lila wanted to play outside with the neighbors, and the swing set was still in the shade, as was half of the back yard garden. The kids chattered about earrings and hula hoops and American Girls dolls while I scooped big buckets of the water swarming with what looked like tiny tadpoles, and carried them splashing all over my legs to the garden. I poured the buckets out slowly to soak the soil around the plants deeply. Thirty trips with the five gallon bucket had me drenched in sweat and flecked all over with what I can only assume was mosquito larvae and decomposing yard debris.
Now I see a giant red mass on the radar, just moving through Detroit and we’re under severe t-storm watch. I hope it changes to warning soon, because a 40% chance isn’t good enough odds for my farmer friends who are watching whole acres of organic vegetables die in the heat and dry soil of northeast Ohio. Most don’t have irrigation systems yet, and there are only so many hours in the day for running buckets of water down 400’ rows of onions. They do it anyway, though.
Hey, do me a favor folks. Thank a farmer today.
Almost sixty degrees out today. Most of the snow in the yard is gone, and the driveway is only icy at the crest of the hill. I spent my day in a cubicle with poorly controlled temperature and air flow, and when I walked back out to my truck to go home, the air was different. I could feel the moisture in it.
On the drive, I was amazed at the sight of everyone’s yards with streams of runoff rushing through them – racing to drainage ditches and culverts. I thought about how I loved this late winter thaw when I was a kid. How all of the kids in the neighborhood would tromp through the fields and the woods, up to our shins in slush and frigid water, kicking through stubborn slivers of ice that bridged the gaps between dried grass hillocks. I felt like a pioneer, new to the world that was just waking up. I thought it was waking up for me.
When I stopped to pick Lila up from her friend’s house, all the kids on the block were outside in the front yard without coats or hats, splashing through slushy puddles, and dragging sticks through the mud, skipping, singing, and spreading their wings.
The ice on Erie is melting, which means next time a storm comes through when the temperature drops again, we’ll get buried in snow. But it will melt fast, and mud season will go on and on until we’re just as suddenly in a draught and swooning from the heat.
So much is changing right now that I find myself paralyzed in between tasks and unable to do anything but watch it all rushing past. It’s as if my life is thawing in this sudden warm spell and everything is coming unstuck at once and racing like the runoff I’m watching spill down the driveway to the street. All I can do it is let it flow.
One more time with feeling
Last time, I promise.
Voting closes tomorrow for that Medium Raw Challenge essay contest, so I’m hoping I can annoy a few more of you into popping over there to read my essay and vote for it. If you already have, thank you so much, and I’m much obliged if you have time to do it again (you can vote once a day).
I’m now at #245 of 1832.
I posted a new installment.
I might be having a little too much fun with this.
I think I understand now
I couldn’t really figure out why I stopped working on my novel again. I was rolling along so beautifully. The ideas were flowing fast and the characters talked to me constantly. Then I just stopped. I think I get it now…
I don’t accomplish much else when I’m writing fiction.
You want to eat? You want clean laundry? You’re sick of tripping over my piles of crap? You’d like to sit at the dining room table with your takeout?
Well, la-di-da and kiss my ass and tough titty said the kitty.
Not really, though. I did cook. I made ratatouille and am baking squash and the crepe batter is resting. I washed, dried, folded and put away two loads of laundry (out of nine). I cleaned off the nightmare at the top of the fridge and sorted everything into neat baskets. I booked the final musical act for the fundraiser.
Still, I keep going back to the next installment for Shorpy Shorts. I tell you, this kid, Andy? He would much prefer it if I would keep my ass in the chair and get his story told, already.
Shorpy Shorts - Short Fiction
Write one leaf about corn.
Chris told me about this one day when his brother Paul walked out of the bathroom at the shop shaking his head. As he walked past Chris he said, “I don’t remember eating corn.”
Love when this story gets trotted out (pun intended) at Christmas Eve dinner.