My friend Adriane calls it "The Great Plague of 2008." Whatever it's called, we haven't had one healthy moment in our house since before Halloween. It's been a seemingly endless parade to doctor's offices and pharmacies. The body count reads like this:
Me: whooping cough, pneumonia, enlarged thymus, sinus infection, Exorcist-esque stomach bug
Tom: sinus infection, throat abcesses, Exorcist-esque stomach bug
Sam: double ear infection, sinus infection, Exorcist-esque stomach bug
John: sinus infection (please let him be spared from the stomach bug!)
It's one thing to be sick when there's only you to take care of. But it's nearly impossible to take care of yourself, two boys, run a household, and write a book. And yet, every day I was sick, I drug myself to the computer and worked. Am I a glutton for punishment? Maybe. But I was also determined to finish my re-write and get the book into the agent's inbox sometime this year.
My greatest frustration this year (and always) is that motherhood brings with it its own timeline. Everything I attempt takes three times longer than it might've without kids. I am forever making aself-imposed deadline and breaking it due to some kiddie emergency. We've discussed this topic in depth on my group blog, and especially the fact that most successful female writers/artists/crafters have no children. In many circles, having a child is the equivalent to dropping a bomb on your creative life.
I was determined not to let that happen to me. But it takes no amount of pep-talking and mantra chanting to get through it. The image I carry with me is that of little droplets of water filling a bucket over time. Enough droplets, enough time, and you have a bucketful of water. That is what my creative life is like these days.
But today I finished the re-write. And even though I was petrified to send that email, wanting every word to be just right, and consulted every writer's resource book I owned, and every website on the subject, I finally took a breath and said to myself, "This is not rocket science. You have a completed 300 page novel. Don't think you can't write an email." The peptalk helped, and I sent it off this afternoon, right before the norovirus caught up with me.
Considering all that has gone on for the last month, it's nothing short of miraculous. And I'm filled with a tremendous sense of awe and pride. And stomach cramps. And nausea.
I'm still waiting for the plague and locusts.