Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And so it goes...

Scene: PC at her computer, mumbling to herself, eyes focused intently on the screen as she types. It’s a love scene and the wording is critical. A CD of music specifically designed to inspire creativity plays. Through the half-open office door, the characters from The Wizards of Waverly Place can be heard. PC’s fingers move faster over the keyboard as inspiration strikes. The office door flies open, bounces off the wall, and Amazing Child runs into the room.

AC: Mom! Mom! My gerbils got out of their cage!

Sigh.

You’ll often hear writers lament that no one respects our writing time. So many people think that since we’re home all day in our sweats, we have loads of time on our hands to do all kinds of things – organize PTA bake sales, run errands, make costumes for the school play, etc. I’ve worked very hard over the last year to try to make people understand that I’m working. I may not be in the office, and I may not have bathed, but this is my job and it’s just as demanding and time-consuming as theirs. “At home” does not equal “available.”

But, no matter how I try, there’s one thing I can’t make respect my writing time: Life.

Take the gerbils, for example. I don’t even like the ugly rodents. But I get out of my chair – leaving my hero and heroine panting and frustrated – and go help AC catch the things and return them to their cage. This action is not entirely motivated by parental love; yes, AC would be heartbroken if her gerbils disappeared into a vent to never be seen again and that would hurt me, but the reality of the situation is that my office is right next door to AC’s room. If the gerbils are loose, there’s a very good chance they’ll make it into my office and run over my feet (thereby guaranteeing squished gerbils and upset child. Not to mention the ICK factor.).

Life just gets in the way sometimes. John Lennon said “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” And what’s that saying? “Man plans; God laughs.”

Oh, yeah. Life loves to screw up your schedule.

I’m not saying my situation is any different than any other working parent’s. If the child gets sick, someone has to take off from work to do doctor runs and push the orange juice. It doesn’t matter where you work; “child with fever and vomiting” is blind to career choice, deadline, day of the week, time of the night, or vacation plans. Gerbils escape. Roofs spring leaks. Tires go flat. Goldfish die. People die. Someone falls and needs nine stitches on their forehead the day before school pictures. Ants invade the pantry.

And my hero and heroine are left breathless and on the edge while I go take care of it. What else can you do?

AC started back to school yesterday, which means that I can get back on my schedule and, hopefully, get this book back on a timeline that includes making my deadline. (Note to self: remember the craziness of summer when we go back to contract and plan accordingly.) I'd appreciate it if Life laid off me for a little while and let me get caught up.

Any blog readers good at keeping Life under control? Care to share how you manage that? Heck, I’d settle for a link to an escape-proof gerbil cage…

PC

12 comments:

Playground Monitor said...

About the only way to keep Life from interrupting is to die, and well, that's not so good. I thought once my kids were grown things would be different. They aren't. You just trade one set of interruptions for another.

Here ya go: http://www.ehow.com/how_4549024_make-gerbils-home-escape-proof.html

PM

Smarty Pants said...

Here's a start:

http://www.ehow.com/how_4549024_make-gerbils-home-escape-proof.html

Ack. Marilyn beat me to it.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Life usually interrupts me in the form of cats during the day. Especially one super destructive cat named Nimitz. *sigh*

Better than a rodent though. Eeewwww!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Oh, and were you channeling Vonnegut on purpose with that blog title? All I can think of is Billy Pilgrim. So it goes.

Playground Monitor said...

Vonnegut? Not sure. But there's the song by Billy Joel.

Problem Child said...

Billy Joel, Billy Pilgrim -- same diff, right? :-)

Although, I could sound really smart and say, of course I was channeling Vonnegut, because Slaughterhouse 5 also has the Serenity Prayer in it, and that would go with my topic for the day...

Problem Child said...

Oh, and I'll check the link (thanks PM and SP), but the plexiglass DG installed around the cage is helping a lot. (Both with the escaping and the mess factor.)

Playground Monitor said...

You English majors...

::grin::

Problem Child said...

We English geeks gotta get our kicks somehow...

Otherwise, those degrees are just dust catchers :-)

Angel said...

Yep. Life gets in the way all the time around here. Just when I think it will let up, something else comes along. I just think, "If it isn't one thing, its another." :)

But I have no coping strategy other than doing the best I can. Oh well.

Angel

PM's Mother said...

There is a saying among the natives here on St. Simons Island about how life is --"If it isn't cockroaches it's piss ants!"

Christine said...

Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5? The first fictional book I forced my hubby to read... love Vonnegut!

Gerbils escaping hasn't happened, but life does happen. Regularly. Summer is tough. No routine. And then school hits and I spend a week cleaning and organizing my new empty space!

And as for cats......... we love em and we we we we... well today it was clean out the entire laundry room and wash off the mat and refill all things kitty litter... and clean up dear 19 yr old Clancy's pee pee before husbandy comes home to it cause she was so terribly confused.... oh catz