Sunday, July 27, 2008

We interrupt this broadcast...

So I've been a bit quiet as of late, despite the abundance of topics about which to write. The trip with Becca to see my grandparents? The unpleasant weight of old age? An unexpected downturn? The somber increase in responsibility that comes with being the oldest child? How about being an unfortunate disseminator of information?

I could weigh in on all of these topics right about now, but I simply don't have the heart. Right now I'm charging into unknown territory. And right now I'm not ready to reflect about any of it in words.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A creative labor

One of the most aggravating parts of making a "living" as a writer/editor, is the relative ease friends and family treat what you do. I don't know how many times someone has cheerfully chided me to "just write that children's book already," as if to do so I would need merely to concentrate really hard and POP! out a manuscript, much like a chicken lays an egg. Viola! There it is. Such a marvel and produced so effortlessly. (Now I think if I'd shown an interest in writing a novel, than that would be a different story. That invokes images of angst-ridden time alone in some dimly lit room, writer's block hanging like an albatross about the neck, causing the gnashing of teeth and ripping of hair.) But no, writing a children's book must be so EASY. After all, every Hollywood star has managed to do it. How hard can that be?

I have trouble explaining to people that there's this small thing called inspiration, which I've been sadly lacking lately. And then there's the whole other issue of quiet, private time in which to write. I can't even go to the bathroom unassailed anymore let alone write much for myself. Between the parenting articles I spit out every month, the inane work I'm doing at my old Really Big Company (part-time brainless data entry that the other editors never get to because they're doing CREATIVE things), and the move, there's been precious little extra time.

But really, I'm making excuses. Because I have one story written and another two so well outlined that it would take little blood, sweat, or tears to bring a rough, rough draft into existence. It's the next step that has rendered me powerless.

I know enough to know that getting a book published is damn difficult. I know that self-publishing entails monetary freedom I don't have. I know that, for the most part, you have to have an agent to get published from a reputable publishing house--but to have an agent you need to be published. Catch-22, anyone? And I don't live in a publishing mecca. There are some small local publishing companies, but not many. And what few contacts I had while living in Chicago have grown so stale as to be useless. So I'm at a standstill. I've always, always wanted to publish something of my own, (and have all the writer's guides and background research to know a thing or two about the process), but knowing where to go from here has left me feeling creatively stalled.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Umm, hello again?

I know it's been awhile--almost a full month by my count. And to be honest, I've been avoiding this simply because I don't know how to encapsulate everything that's happened during this time. Do you have four hours and a drink?

Living at my parents' house for the two-and-a-half weeks before the new house was ready was stressful. Angst-ridden. Difficult. My parents have a gorgeously decorated house that doesn't exactly scream "Children and ill-behaved dogs! Come in! Play! Make yourself at home!" Because of this and because I knew we were inconveniencing my parents, I walked around on eggshells for two weeks. And can I tell you it took all of two days before one of the dogs peed on my parents' super-expensive white rug? Yeah. And it's hard when other people pipe in--as well meaning as they might be--on your marriage, parenting skills, and general lifestyle.

And then an unexpected angst came from living in my old neighborhood again. I never set out to be just like my mom, and here I am, 29 years later, a stay-at-home mom living in the EXACT. SAME. NEIGHBORHOOD. What would the 12-year-old me think of this? I think she might be disappointed.

And as I watched the neighborhood kids walk home from swim practice, something I did for 9 or 10 years myself, I was struck by the irony that even at that young of an age I didn't like my body. Oh, sweetheart, I wish I could tell myself. It really only goes downhill from there. Enjoy your taught belly for all it's worth before it turns stretch-marked and stretched out.

So those few weeks of internal and external onslaughts were tough. But we survived.

And then the movers came.

I could go on for hours about the incompetence of our movers. We used a well-known, professional moving company. They sent three men to load up our things, store them, and return our items to the new house. Sadly, these men were poorly motivated and educated. Our invoice is littered with terrible misspellings. (Did you know we have four blue tots in our house? We do! Except that's supposed to be blue totes...) While this made me incredibly sad, a number of other things made me fume with anger. Such as the process taking triple the time promised. Or the fact that EVERY SINGLE PIECE of wooden furniture was somehow scratched, dented, or otherwise marked up.

So as we struggle with the moving company, the cable guy who accidentally drilled a hole through our wall, the survey that shows our flower bed and sprinklers on our neighbor's yard, and the fence that is two weeks behind, I've kinda avoided posting. Because it looks like one major bitchfest.

But we're in the house. We're getting settled. We're establishing a new routine. Things are coming together. Artwork is being hung. And while there's still work to be done (painting! new ovens! new stovetop! selling a kidney to pay for all of this!), this place is beginning to resemble a home. Thank God.