I half-way figured it out back in May, after listening to this Hope*ologie podcast. It was revolutionary, like someone had called me up on stage and handed me myself, with a bouquet of roses. Yes! I have a job! This is who I am! This is what I do!
But summer vacation came along, and I forgot again. (In our defense, we were busy.)
I didn't realize it until I was out at dinner one evening with my book club ladies. We started talking about keeping our houses clean (or not.) Both full-time working women, the other two dished on how they make it work (a cleaning lady, a slight touch of OCD, etc...) I panicked when it was my turn to weigh in. "My house is hardly ever clean, and I don't even work!"
Those were the actual words that my actual mouth said.
My little kids still can't grasp that I work. My big kids call a couple times a week and say things like, "What are you doing tomorrow?" or "Are you busy today?" and 99% of the time I say, "Uh...I'm working." I honestly don't think they believe me. Then, when it's my turn to own that truth, I bail out. Makes no sense.
My reality is that the manuscript for my first book is due in a little over a month. I've put myself on home detention (it worked for Robert. And Ruby) and every day is now an exercise in falling face-first onto the grindstone and spilling my guts on a Word document.
When I can't write another sentence, or when I'm in so deep that the words start to lose their meaning and shape and I sound like I lack a basic understanding of both the English language and common sense, I do things like bake a peach pie (I finally executed a delicious pie crust. (It tasted better than it looks.)), clean out a closet, or read.
It turns out all those years I spent lolling about as a pre-teen, reading every single teen romance our public library had, they meant something, man. I'm a big, ol' reading geek. Best kind there is, if you ask me. And I feel like you might be one, too. I can sense it from here.
I especially read a lot over the summer, while I was unable to write, on account of all the people underfoot. Reading and thinking. That was how I clocked my hours. Both kept the beast at bay, limber and ready until I could give her some attention. (Yes, my writing beast is a she. Duh.)
This week, I'm taking time to acknowledge some of what I've read, and how it's shaped me, along with a few books I cannot wait to start.
Get your notebook ready, because you're guaranteed to end up with a few new titles for your list. Trust me on this. In turn, I hope you'll pass along all your good bookish dirt.
In a perfect world, I could have you over for a slice of pie and we could talk nerdy to each other in a face-to-face sort of way, but we'll just have to make the most of this little internet living room we've built together. It's not nothing.
You'ns are my people forever, you know.
PS - Full disclosure, because I'm all about it:
I have a catastrophic literary situation on my hands, along with a mid-grade thrift-store linens condition, both of which are exacerbated by a small-house reality. But at least this is proof that I sometimes wash the sheets.
Let's forget I even showed you this.
Go in peace.
*Most pics courtesy of CMB.