Thursday, June 18, 2009


"So," says Fritz one evening at the beginning of the week, "what's that second thing you were supposed to do?" He's sprawled across the bed with his hands behind his head, one foot crossed over the other at the ankle.

"You read that?" I've just come in to hang up a newly ironed blouse.

"I always do," he says.

"I knew that," I grin.

"So," he lifts his head, "what was it?"

"Why do you ask?" I feel suddenly shy of answering.

He bristles a bit, "You had to know there were those of us reading who would want to know."

"Can't you guess?"

"Just tell me."


"Listen, I ask you a simple question . . ."

"I answered already. It's Write. To write. Which I haven't done very well," I turn away, then turn back, "But I am doing it now."

He considers this, nods, "Yes, I think you better."

Because, gentle reader, it is true. I am writing. And the writing cometh.

The demon chapter that has been giving me fits of rage and paralysis and naked fear, that chapter (aptly: "The Door") that has been blocking my way lo these many days has at last given way and opened to me.

Though I must say its blockage has been strangely productive. To fill its space I have written six or seven different chapters as the Door chapter - but none of them would let the action move forward. Each of these chapters eventually settled themselves elsewhere in the book, giving a shape to what the Door would need to be to allow passage from before to after, but none was the Door itself. It has been as if I could throw pebbles through the Door, but I couldn't move through it myself.

But now! One version of the chapter which seemed most promising I've written and re-written in the voice of three different personas - I finally tried a fourth - and voila! It fits, it opens and closes, it allows passage!

If it weren't for the endorphin-like bliss of getting it right at last, I would forever give over the tiresome and weary, plodding process of writing.

But getting it right feels better than, or certainly nigh unto as good as . . . and that's what I set out to say in the earlier post - (you know, that blank one right before this one) but the gobble-uns are out to get you if you swing too high.

Because I was going to chortle a little, congratulating myself. Not only had I WRITTEN the chapter, but I had EVIDENCE that I have indeed spent sufficient time with my children to teach them well enough and rather than suffering from my pre-occupation, they were actually gaining competence and skills and independence.

The first day of summer break, while I wrote until noon, the same daughter who informed me as a lisping infant, "You just are suffering the quonsekenses of having children," this being her matter-of-fact resonse to my spiralling appeals that she hush because I was waiting for the right words to rise up to the surface inside my mind and her loud bouncy voice was scaring any other words away - this same daughter got up and went running and after cleaning the bathroom and showing her brother how to iron his shirt (both of which I had asked her to do), then cooked lunch for all of us, made bread, started sewing a dress for herself and then went out to wash the car.

What a daughter!

And my son decided he liked ironing so much (plus he wangled a 10¢ remuneration for every article of clothing he ironed) that he ironed everything hanging in the laundry room and then trolled through the closets for more.

What a son!

(And by unavoidable extension, of course, I thus praise their mother.)

And the next day, as the next chapter opened itself like a flower to sunlight, easily, organically (if still painfully slowly), my other daughter suggested she would make soup - Ahhh! The sound of the vacuum. The sound of washer and dryer running and someone assigned to fold the ensuing warm clothes. Peace and order set in motion.

Which led me to rashly begin a post with this my braggy brag - which of course immediately fouled the line and the writing became painful again and then soup-making daughter decided cooking was boring and she didn't feel like it and came down to lean over my shoulder, "Aren't you going to come up and make dinner for us? That's what mommies are supposed to do. They're supposed to nurture and nourish their children. You've been on the computer all day."

"Not all day," because I had in fact been somewhat useful here and there earlier.

"Well, you've been on the computer most of the day."

"I'm writing. This is what writing looks like."



Lisa B. said...

This post just plain old makes me happy. Happy to hear you're writing. Glad to hear about the chapter. And I would like your son to come to my house because I have plenty of things he could iron. I will pay him a quarter per item, if that's an incentive.

Emma J said...

Son says he is interested!

Mrs. Organic said...

If only I lived close enough to take advantage of the ironing entrepreneur...

It's so good to hear about your writing and how it's progressing. I love when the words come tumbling out, it's good for the fingers and the soul!

Melissa said...

Ah, how many times have I made this mistake? Apparently, the smooth-going-everything-right-in-the-world gods don't like it when we praise ourselves for achieving peace and serenity. Whenever I start to feel I've finally figured out serenity, it crumbles away. I'm envious it lasted a whole day and a half for you!

I am anxious to read Chapter 5, and I wish I was around to make dinner for you so you could get on with it. Sounds like Soup-Making Daughter has learned well the art of guilt trips(the little turkey).

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