I am in a fog. Last week when our water system sprung a leak, I didn’t notice (“Didn’t you see the water all over the basement floor?” my husband asked. “Well, yes,” I admitted. “I did see water, now that you mention it, but, um, it didn’t register.”) I put a pot of rice on the stove and then promptly forgot about it…until the smoke alarms reminded me. Once I even forgot to drink my coffee.
My older son, in particular, takes offense at my glazed-over eyes. “How much longer are you going to be like this?” My answer—at least a couple years—did not sit well with him.
See, a few weeks ago a publisher approached me with an idea. We met the very next day to bat around ideas, and the next day I stayed home from church to Google “How to write a book.” (!!!) That afternoon my husband and I rearranged our bedroom so I could have an official book-writing place, and the next evening he built me a table-desk from an old door in three hours flat.
I got some plants from the greenhouse and stuffed them in little pots and old bowls (oxygen for my brain), and I scavenged a white board and bulletin board from the thrift store.
I read about quaint writer sheds and sleek studios and offices that take up entire rooms, but let me tell you, not a one of them has anything on my nook. What with the tall, breezy windows and high ceiling, an entire floor and bed on which to spread out my papers, and a desk that has a hole in it from where the doorknob used to be, I couldn’t be happier. Plus, the room has a closeable door, and when my time is up, I leave everything where it is and no one messes with it. Oh the glories!
(Also? Our bedroom has been severely underutilized. Why? Why?!)
Actually, these last couple weeks have been spent not on the book but on the seminar I’ll be giving at our church’s national convention. But since the seminar is on homeschooling (“Skipping School,” Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in room 2104A—COME!) and that’s what the book is about, it all blurs together.
Last week my children were all otherwise occupied thanks to their regular work schedules, my mother and a girlfriend, and an Interfaith Peace Camp, so I had six hours each day (and nine hours on Thursday!) to spend writing. I’ve always thought that I can only stand to write for about two hours at a time, so my endurance has come as a complete surprise. It certainly hasn’t been all roses, but the overwhelming feeling is enjoyment. Which is, to say the least, encouraging.
I haven’t sunk into a project like this for…well, for since forever, I guess. I live my life on the surface, only dipping into projects here and there, always prepared to be yanked from whatever it is I’m doing—perhaps this is a side-effect of mothering?—so to sink into something this deep feels luxurious. I have permission to go inward. No, scratch that. I have been asked to do this. In a way, I’m off the productivity hook. While there is the goal of a finished product (which is actually a very large and pointy hook, ah!), daily productivity is not the expectation. For now, the process is what counts. Consistency. Plodding forward, one new idea, vignette, and researched idea at a time.
And now, if you’ll excuse me. I have an outline to tackle, and a working title and table of contents to conjure out of the thin air of my brain. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can I think I can I think I can IthinkIcanIthinkIcan TOOT TOOT!
This same time, years previous: mud cake, spinach dip, the quotidian (6.16.14), the smartest thing I did, the business of belonging, street food, language study, Greek cucumber and tomato salad, a glimpse, sourdough waffles, and when I sat down.