Children blinking through binoculars, squealing at scuttling lizards, swinging very, very high on playground swings, holding hands, but running too fast towards crosswalks, scaling small boulders, building sandcastles for naked Barbies and a collection of Skylander figurines that should never be taken to the beach, but explain that to a 5 1/2 year old who doesn’t know, yet, that a Wii-ish game goes with his prized figurines—doesn’t know because we don’t have Wii or its ishy accessories, nor do we have a flatscreen TV in our home, but a giant tubes-powered model trapped in a wood frame with wheels and which, although it looks fancy in a 1/2 mod/1/2 retro sort of headed-for-the-museum manner, is technologically challenged in this century, but we don’t have cable, anyway, so we miss out on commercials letting us know what we’re missing out on, like 500+ channels no 5 1/2 year old needs to surf through, not when there are beaches and botanical gardens and parks within walking distance in a summer of blueberry skies and tank tops. Although–this mini-break I did serve children breakfast in front of a portable DVD player small enough to be a finger or a foot or a tiny silver cap for our beast-sized rolling TV back home…Eat! I encouraged children. Seriously, guys! Watch a movie and eat! I did sneak carrot puree into the pancake mix. And I used coconut, not canola oil, for frying. And it was veggie bacon. And a Sid The Science Kid flick. So…
So day 3 of this mini-break I realized I was tired. So I fed children a snack in front of that small portable DVD player (wot!) and carted chapters 3 and 4 of my middle grade novel outside to the patio. And I sat and sucked in ocean air and revised my vaguely crinkled stack of printed pages for almost the entire duration of a Pokémon movie. And then I rested my cheek on my work, feeling the wrought iron chair’s pattern tattoo itself into the backs of my bare thighs, and (I swear I heard a fog horn from the harbor) I napped—a respite about which I had conflicting feelings when I woke up. Because of what SHE wrote over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing: CLICK TO READ. Brief article. Poignant. Spiky. For instance: Are you 1 through 5, or simply 2 and 4? 1 and 3? 1? Bueller?
After my nap I zoomed children to the beach—again—because children and people like me are endlessly entertained by the beach, whether the scenario is sun, fog, misting-fog, clouds pressed to sun, wind, ice-air, etc. And while I watched children scream as they tested the frothy tide with first their toes, then their entire bodies, I character-plotted and plotted more writing time and remembered I’m in the first quarter of Muriel Rukeyser’s The Life of Poetry. Too far! I shouted at children. Come back!
Yours in writing between everything else,
Yours in writing even when you think you’re not,
Yours in writing-like-breathing,
Yours in writing-like-eating (Oreos, or a box of Cracker Jacks, or Thanksgiving stuffing)
Yours in brief naps between revising,
Yours in making sure kids don’t get sucked out to sea by an undertow (all writing aside, shoved aside, quickly, in a sand-kicked-on-beach-towels type of one-woman stampede),
Thanks, Beth–so true: just ideas. And naps are so important, you’re right. Sleep is good, sleep is good. I remember reading an author interview. She was a new, sleepless mother and decided her writing time would be at 4am. But she stopped that quickly as it was just “making me old”. You write when you can write. And live, live, live.
I am #s 1 through 3. Definitely not #4 although I fantasize lots. And flail at #5.
But if you’re not any of those? You might be another kind because like so much out there, these are just ideas. And if someone is all of them? They still might never publish a book.
Also, I don’t think I want to reach goals of #4 (whatever they are – I’ll figure it out someday) if it means I don’t get to take the occasional nap, even if said nap happens while wrought iron thingies dig into my thighs.