Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Things Work Themselves Out

I'mpretty sure that the worst thing that can happen to a writer is when her space key starts tomalfunction. Well, actually all the keys on mykeyboard are starting tomalfunction,andjust when I was getting into a good writing groove too.Yesterday I wrote anentire scene inmy novel after dinner.Today Iresearched 1916 women'sclothingto fillin someof theblanks. Itwas the first timeIwrote likethat in along time.

And now this.

It's like a bad joke. How do you make a writer go insane? Deactivate her space key. And some random consonants. Make the e stick every other time. She'll lose it. She'll wind up screaming and poking at the keyboard like a possessed Donald Duck mid-tantrum.

I blame the cats. They won't leave my laptop alone (it purrs at them), and it's constantly covered in fur like some kind of wierd electronic chia pet. Then again, it might be the boys with their grimey little hands, trying to surf for diesel engines on YouTube. And maybe its the fact that sometimes I snack while I'm writing. I just blew a whole lot of fur and crumbs and little boy cooties out of the keyboard with a can of compressed air. For now, I'm back in business.

Anyway, if you've been reading my blog with any regularily (and if you don't, you really should), you'll know that I've had a little situation lately--where I've been a tad grumpy over the (ridiculously unhelpful) childcare schedule at the Y and my inability to work out there and do anything else at all productive while Sam is in preschool. But I have hit upon a solution that has produced some unexpected benefits.

Last week, the preschool orientation for parents was scheduled at the exact same time as my mother and stepfather's arrival at the Albany airport. I decided to go to the orientation and send Tom and the boys to the airport--only I can't drive a stick, and my husband's car (if he'd ever let me drive it in the first place) is a manual. I decided I'd just walk to the meeting. It's really not that far. Maybe four blocks. So I walked to the meeting and then walked home, and thought to myself, "That was quite nice actually."

It reminded me of living in Europe, where I walked absolutely everywhere. And on foot, I could smell flowers, and fresh cut grass, watch for squirrels and chipmunks, meet the neighborhood dogs on their walks, take in the neighborhood houses' architectural details close up, and get some much-needed exercise.

It was so enjoyable, that I decided to do the walk again, with Sam, for Meet the Teacher. He also enjoyed the walk and asked if we could do it again.

The wheels started turning...

I mapquested the route and it's .6 miles one way--or a little over a mile round trip. If I walked Sam to school and picked him up every day, I'd end up walking almost 2 1/2 miles a day. Not a bad workout. Plus, I'd save gas, and have a nice transition with the boys before and after school, where we could have a pleasant talk about the day and get some nice fresh air before lunch. One of my biggest annoyances with the boys lately has been the transition between two activities (one invariably refuses to leave), getting them to the car and into their carseats without someone attempting to bolt into the street, climbing all over the seats, turning on all the interior lights, wanting to push all the buttons, and generally being a pain in the butt. When it comes to hopping in and out of a stroller (which is a must with John, because walking anywhere with him is like trying to herd a cat), it's easy peezy.

 All of these are wonderful reasons to take advantage of the village sidewalks.

But there's been an unexpected benefit. As I'm walking, I'm taking in so much sensory detail (things I would miss in a car). This gives my brain a little jolt, and once we get home, I'm ready to write. The last two mornings have been an amazingly productive time for me (just don't come over unexpectedly because my house is a wreck!). John happily watches the Wiggles, and I sit beside him and work on my novel and my blog. It's been really nice.

Things have once again come together much better than I anticipated.

The solution to a problem isn't always obvious, but once you've acknowledged the need, it seems like the universe rushes in to fill it. This is why it pays to complain (see my Stay-At-Home Mom Tantrum).

3 comments:

  1. Walking to school each day sounds so idyllic. I'm glad the Universe is conspiring in your favor! :-) Keep up the good work.

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  2. I agree with solutions just arising. I too recently went for a long walk with my two year old boy and got inspired to start writing my blog again after a couple of months off. Everything got out of whack, couldn't get inspired and the writing just wasn't flowing. Now it has started again.

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  3. excellent solution on every level.

    i haven't been walking nearly as much because of my ankle trying to heal over the summer, etc. but i am right there with you on the 'european' walking city. one of the main reasons i miss living in boston is exactly this. it is a walking city, and i loved being in the seasons with the old trees down comm ave and through the parks from back bay to beacon hill and downtown's route.

    yes, that exercise and sensory awakening is exactly what my writing needs a jolt of right now, too.

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