The Writing Life: Girl, Interrupted
Any writer or artist knows that when a spurt of creativity hits, the last thing you want is to be interrupted. But life happens. Especially life with kids. And most especially life with four preteen and teen daughters. Oh, the drama. Oh, the angst. Oh, the “Moooo-oooooom!!!!!”
And of course, this “life” always seems to happen right smack-dab in the middle of one of my highly-coveted creative spurts. I’ll have prepped the children, “Girls – I need twenty minutes. Twenty alone minutes to get this down. If you let me finish, I promise to make chocolate cookies and peanut butter balls and let you watch 3 episodes of Merlin. What do you say?” And they always say, “Yes, of course, Mom. Please – take twenty minutes. We’ll be fine. Silent as church mice.” I then scurry down to The Hole and begin whatever creative task I’ve been trying to get to all day.
(Aside: My office is named The Hole because it is a hole. It is a spot in the basement that was supposed to be a storage closet. When I needed a dedicated work space, we turned it into my “office.” But I don’t sugarcoat things – it’s a hole, in the ground, under my house. Lovely.)
After I am hit with creativity and have bribed the children I scurry down to The Hole and begin to work madly, trying to use every second because I know – inevitably – it will not last. This is precisely what happened last night.
No. It was me telling my children in a rather scary tone that they all needed to go to their rooms and sit. In silence. Forever.
I don’t always become the crazy, quiet-voice-that-is-more-dangerous-than-the-loud-voice mom … but I’d had a day. And this was the proverbial straw.
Here’s a glimpse of how it went down:
Me: (Scurrying into The Hole) Ahh. Quiet. Let me slip on my headphones and start typing for NaNoWriMo. (I may not have actually said this out loud, but I’m exercising my creative license for the sake of effect.)
… One minute passes … Sounds of massive crash and yelling above. Thump thump thump … I ignore the sound of footsteps on the stairs.
DD3 (“dear daughter”): Mooooo-ooom!!! SHE (referring to DD4) is so annoying! MOM! She took out the sugar. And she POURED IT IN THE SINK. Moooo-oooom!!!! Like, a whole bag of sugar.
DD4 (in the distance): It was an accident!
Me (yelling to DD4): How on earth can an entire bag of sugar in the sink be an accident? Why was the sugar out? What was that crash — NEVERMIND! Clean it up and I’ll be up in (consults time on computer) 15 minutes to make sure.
… DD3 huffs and puffs away mumbling under her breath … I put my headphones back on and start typing away.
… One minute passes … More screaming, more yelling and hollering. The phone rings … I ignore it.
DD2: Mooooooo-ooom!!! Dad’s on the phone!
Me: (To myself) Of course he is. (To DD2) What does he want?
DD2: He’s on his way home!
Me: (To myself) So? (To DD2) Okay! Tell him I’ll talk to him soon then. I’m writing!
... Resume typing … Two minutes pass … Screaming and hollering resume … Thump thump thump … someone is on the stairs but I turn up the volume on Pandora and try to ignore it until I feel a tapping on my shoulder … I jump.
Me: What?! What on earth? What is it?
DD1: Mom. Did you know that The Littlest Pest (nickname for DD4) poured SUGAR all over the floor? It’s like, a total mess. It’s like, so slippery that I seriously almost just fell and KILLED myself. Mom! She is AWFUL!! I’m seriously going to die if I have to look at her ever again!
Me: Did you say the sugar is on the floor? I thought she poured it in the sink.
DD1: Moo-oom! She did but of course she sp-illed it on the floor, too. OMG like hashtag-I-Hate-Little-Sisters.
Me (consulting clock): Okay, well, can you clean that up for me?
DD1: WHAT?! That is so not fair! Mooo-oom!!! (insert typical teenager eye roll and arm crossing)
Me: I’ll pay you five bucks.
DD1: Fine. But I need that cash tonight. Hashtag Moms-are-so-mean. (stomps away and commences yelling at DD4)
… I slip on headphones and face the screen, determined to type but forgetting what I had been writing … I just start typing when –
DD3: Mooo-oooom!!!!!! (Thump thump thump – scream – holler – scream – thump thump – she enters The Hole) MOM! That little PEST, I can’t – I just – I’m so – ARGH!!!!!
Me: (slowly taking off headphones and sighing) What? What happened now?
DD3: She (referring to DD4), she, do you know what she did?!
Me: Uh, does it involve sugar?
DD3: Ugh! Mom! No! I was making tea because my throat hurt and I don’t really know why b-
Me: Probably from screaming at your sister.
DD3: Whatever. Anyway I was making tea and the water dripped the counter so I picked up the sponge to wipe it up and DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED?
Me: (Cringing) No, but it sounds like your throat recovered.
DD3: Mom! Seriously! I picked up the sponge and IT WAS FULL OF SOAP. I mean full. Then I looked in the sink. And SHE had dumped the entire bottle of dish soap IN THE SINK and the sponge was FULL!
… I sigh. I push away from the computer and trudge upstairs …
only to slip on the sugar that is still on the floor …
And that was when I went all Girl, Interrupted. And in the middle of my crazy-eyes talk, my husband walked in, promptly turned around, and went back out.
I can’t blame him.
Needless to say — not a whole lot of writing accomplished yesterday. And THAT is the story of my writing life for the week. Thanks for letting me vent.
Is your writing life ever interrupted? What or who disrupts your creative time? And have you ever gone a little mad because of it? I’ve love to know I’m not alone!
Posted on November 13, 2015, in The Writing Life and tagged #amwriting, crazy writer, life and times, real-life writing, sad but true, stories from the hole, the writing life, writing interrupted, writing life, writing with kids. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.