I have re-read and re-written the same paragraph about fifteen times in the past half an hour. Why? Am I struggling to get that perfect word and just can’t find it? Putting those final touches on what will soon be an epic paragraph, one that will be underlined and quoted for many years to come?
No. I’m trying to work at my kitchen table while the rest of my family goes on about their lives. Which means that my kids are arguing and crying, whining and wandering, one keeps popping her head around my laptop and reading over my shoulder, one is needing things from his bath, and they’re both incapable of keeping quiet for a minimum of thirty seconds.
They are asking to play video games, asking to watch TV, asking where things are. And do you think they notice that I am frustrated and trying to concentrate on my computer screen? No. Why? Because they are children. And children have no idea there’s another world in existence that might not revolve around them…or more importantly, might not WANT to revolve around them, even for fifteen minutes.
So I have given up on my attempts to edit the opening of Chapter 4. That chapter will have to sit idle for a little while longer. Probably until September. Or, realistically speaking considering the fact that there is to be an ongoing teacher’s strike into the fall, until November. Months to go until I can think clearly in my house without the jarring interruption of tiny voices in my head.
Why was I not one of those mothers gifted with the ability to tune everyone out and hone in on what I’m doing? I’ve heard of people able to read books while their kids tear holes in the walls, while they have epic battles with high pitched screeching. I’ve heard that there are people who can tune out their houses practically burning down. Why can’t I? If I could do that, I’d have written dozens of books by now. I’d be famous.
But I am not, because I can’t. I can’t seem to do anything while my kids are up and running around. The moment I open up my project folder on my computer my ears are drawn to every single noise coming from every nook and cranny. The squawk of the cat (which I heard, but did not realize was locked in the bedroom), the digging through Lego, the stomping of little muddy feet carrying dirt throughout the house, the working out of deals and the subsequent battle of broken promises between the kids. All of this makes me lose my place to the point that I forget entirely what my book is even about. My characters lose their places and their thoughts. They no longer have motivation for their own actions and I no longer know what to do with them. It is rather amazing the kind of power my children have over me. The way they can mess with my sanity in a few short minutes.
It’s raining outside. Actually full blown raining, where rubber boots and umbrellas are a definite requirement. And I think I am going to go outside and work in my office. Because last year we moved into a house that had no extra rooms. None. Hence, me attempting to work at my kitchen table. But outside is the skeleton of my office. The concrete and rebar that will one day hold up walls and windows and doors and even a roof. But, I don’t think I need that right now. Despite the wet and the cold, I think I’ll go find a little corner where my desk will go and sit there until the rain shorts out my computer. Why? Because although I’ll be wet and cold and most likely miserable, I’ll at least be productive.