I’ve been really sucking at writing lately. I did not write for almost the entire month of November. The month when so many people are busy writing their novel for National Novel Writing Month, I was doing the opposite. I took some time while we were at the lake Thanksgiving weekend to work on my novel a little bit, but that was it.
As I sat at the table, reading and editing and strategizing more than writing, J was sitting on the couch, playing his guitar. And for a moment I thought- this is what our life would be like if we could do what we loved instead of what we had to. I would write and he would play guitar and we’d be, well, SO POOR.
“We’re too old to be starving artists,” we agreed, when I told him about my thoughts. Retirement goals it is.
I also skipped my annual trek to Madison, Wisconsin for Weekend with Your Novel, a fabulous workshop and critique weekend, because what are you going to have critiqued if you haven’t even worked on it? I can practically feel my mentor Lisa giving me “the look” as I write these words. She was the kind of writer who got up every morning at five am to write for two hours before she came to the office. I was more of a stay-up-late-after-the-kid-goes-to-bed kind of writer which meant there were lots of nights I was busy or too tired or whatever other excuse I had. I am very familiar with “the look” as she would give it to me anytime my answer to her question was, “No, I haven’t written anything lately.”
I really miss her. I need someone to give me “the look” sometimes.
Also, November was a bad writing month because I thought I was hosting Thanksgiving. I used to really like to host Thanksgiving. That was back when I lived in a bigger house, with enough room to put extra tables on the three-season porch. These days I spend most of the getting ready for Thanksgiving trying to figure out where I am going to fit everyone. This ongoing dilemma led me to decide this year that I should repaint Bunny’s old room, clean it up so we could stick a table in there if we needed to.
Bunny painted some red vertical stripes in her room when she was a teenager and I found myself feeling kind of sentimental about them so I decided that instead of sanding and painting and getting rid of them, I’d just restore them. I’ve restored them with love, thinking of them as an art project she did when she was fifteen.
I tell you what, if you want to hear a good story about a fight a couple had, just mention interior painting together. It’s like everyone has had a fight. Let me give everyone a tip, because I am sure it can go both ways: your spouse does NOT want your painting tips while they are painting, or when they have finished painting, or ever, really. (The only exception being if they ask for them, of course)
It has taken a lot longer than anticipated to restore the room, the most recent delay caused by me overextending myself on a chair instead of getting a ladder, and making my back muscles hurt. The next day, with my a-little-bit-sore-back I coughed, and my back did something that I have no words for, and all of a sudden it was very-bad-back-injury.
Thanksgiving morning, as I was ready to go out the door with a hot cup of coffee in my hand, the cat poised with her nose on the door crack ready to go out with me, my left leg gave out. I tipped over before catching myself and my hot coffee spilled on the cat. She tore up the stairs, I hobbled after her and grabbed a towel and we both cried about it.
Bunny came over the next day, because she needed some repairs done on her car, and walked into her old room.
“Doesn’t it look nice?” I asked, hobbling in to admire it with her, “I’ve been working really hard on restoring your red stripes.”
She shrugged, “I thought you’d just paint over them.”
So anyway, I spent a lot of time in November painting and it’s still not done, but all I have left now are the solid walls, at least.
I also read two memoirs by one of my favorite authors, Pat Conroy. (Author of stories you know like The Great Santini, Prince of Tides and whole other list of fabulous novels) I just found out actually, that he was dead, even though he’s been dead for quite a lot of years now. The first book of his I ever read was “Beach Music” and I was totally amazed by his gift for dialogue. In awe of a master. I thought I had read all of his books but then I searched him on Amazon just in case and found two memoirs, “The Death of Santini” and “The Water is Wide” that I had somehow missed. It was like a precious gift and for a moment when I finished them I felt inspired but then…you know…it wears off.
I started a new book last week while I was traveling and I was totally blown away by the frozen water experiment. Have you heard about this? I am paraphrasing here but basically some scientists yelled at some water and spewed hate at it and then some other water they told they loved and gave it affirmations and the waters froze in different states. The happy water was all crystal-y and rainbow-y and the sad water was all jagged and sharp with no rainbows. It sounds like mumbo jumbo, I know, so that’s why another group of scientists tried it and were able to produce the same results. Your body is at least 65% water. Be nice to your water.
I think that about exhausts the Long List of Excuses for Not Writing.
I’m giving myself “the look”.