The real world…

…because the perfect world doesn’t exist. Oh, we talk about it all the time, usually starting the conversation (or at least the sentence) with “in a perfect world…”  Why? Why do we bother? We know we don’t live in a perfect world.

But, if we did live in a perfect world, I would have gotten something done yesterday. I would have written and edited Nate’s manuscript, and felt productive.  What did I do instead? Oh well, I played the “this is how a writer gets nothing done” game.

Wake up, get coffee, get comfy, open laptop.

Enter children. Close laptop. Yes we’ll play magic today—later. No we’re not buying a lizard. Yes clean your rooms. No you cannot have chocolate ice cream for breakfast. This is where I start wondering why must they always ask me all the silly questions. Me, with the laptop open, the notebook and pen at the ready, and serious look on my face? While their father sits on the couch, sucking coffee, chain smoking, surfing channels, completely available for them and their questions. IDK.

Children leave, reopen laptop, email comes in. I MUST check the email, because I have a bazillion submissions out there and a few people I’m waiting to hear back from, and (truth be told) I have a weakness. I am completely incapable of ignoring email. Email is not any of those people. Email is JFB, hours before she should be awake. “Coffee’s on. Come.” Ok, so I’ll go have a cup of coffee with her and find out what’s going on that’s got her out bed so early, not a problem. Because we’re friends, and that’s what friends do. When they sense something may be wrong, they drop what they’re doing and go.  I’ll just finish this email to my brother…

“Your phone is ringing.”  Crap, JFB was serious about “come.”

Close laptop, sprint to kitchen, grab cell phone from purse. It’s stopped ringing. Look at screen, that’s not JFB. Hmmm but this person doesn’t call often and considering the last email, it might be important. Call back. Get machine. Hang up and debate calling back because they may have been on the phone talking to my machine. Phone rings. Answer phone to crazy person screaming and spewing and ok… so I need to have some long distance coffee for a moment. Sit down, talk on phone.

Get off phone. Grab smokes, turn to door, house phone rings. JFB is going to kill me through the phone wires this time, I just know it. Caller ID shows mom’s house. Ok, that last email was my brother and I don’t know if he’s at his place or mom’s place, so maybe it’s him.  Answer phone while heading back to laptop because I’ll need to reference stuff for the brother. Instead, it’s mom. Ruh-roh.

“Are you calling to yell at me?”

“Nope.”  Whew. Ok, talk to mom. Find out about dad’s hospital visit, discuss tattoo, comment about blog, check in on life, kids, work, family, reserve a night at the bed & breakfast (mom’s house) for the next convention plane (she lives by the airport that is 1-1/2 hours from me), and other random, rambly, normal mom and me phone call type stuff. Then get lectured for not writing and working on The Neighborhood (because she knows all about that one and wants it finished and sold and published). I wait for the irony to sink in, it doesn’t. Email comes in. Check it. Laugh. Share it with mom.

Do you need directions??

Exit house through back door—immediately take a left
Follow sidewalk past red vehicle—enter alley—Take a left
Follow said alley for roughly 6 seconds—take a right
Follow smell of coffee—enter house.

Really, it’s not hard

JFB would really like me to come have a cup of coffee now. Mom says go, hangs up. Grab smokes, close laptop, head to JFB’s (check how many seconds it really takes in the alley because JFB likes to make up numbers and I’m curious to see how close she gets). Talk JFB off ceiling, offer smokes instead of oxygen and get her breathing back to a normal pattern. Discuss all the other things that have happened today to prevent me from working. Get yelled at for not working because she doesn’t care about The Neighborhood and would really just like me to get done with that and start working on White Picket Prisons (because she knows about that one).

Go home. Make lunch/dinner for family. (It’s Sunday, football is on, this means it’s Packer Soup day. Translation: Packer soup, sliced cheese/sausage and crackers, and sandwiches as they want, need or otherwise throughout the day, aka Football Food Grazing) Do laundry. Clean up shredded paper towel that puppy thought was a good time. Fill coffee cup. Open laptop. Phone rings. Caller ID tells me this time it is my brother. Close laptop, talk to bro. Cover many subjects and talk to both brothers, as one is in the background screaming responses to the other’s half of the conversation. Enter kids. But mom! Ok fine, we’ll go look at the lizards.

Hang up with bro, pack family into car, go look at lizards… Or not, because the pet shop is closed. Console boy child, promise to go tomorrow, go home.

Unplug phone. Make more coffee. Open laptop.

“Mom, you said you’d play.”

Close laptop. Play several games of Magic with kids. Stop playing, more laundry, homework, smile and nod at (ex-)hubby and pretend to be absorbing even a single word, showers all around, bedtime.


Open laptop. Work for twenty minutes. Muse replaced by guilt monkey. Close laptop, pull out Nate’s manuscript and orange pen. Get coffee, get smokes, get cozy. Plan to edit until it’s done—after all, I don’t have to dayjob the next day.

Wake up face down in manuscript pages.

The next time someone asks if I’ve gotten any work done and I reply with, “No, life got in the way,” and they get that confused look on their face… I think I’ll refer them to this entry.

One Response to The real world…

  • Matt says:

    1000%. For me, it’s work all day with mentally ill teenagers, come home and have to write a sermon for Sunday morning. Brain is fried by both. Cook dinner/lunch for wife and I (we pack leftovers). Try to spend some time with wife. End up editing/writing sermon. Done by Thursday. After that? Brain doesn’t want to work until I’m forced to write another sermon. When I’m not helping my mom sell her houses (long story) or doing housework, or restoring cars. Feel crushing guilt over not having written fiction for months.

    I can’t wait until the church can hire a “real” pastor.

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