This Writer’s Saturday

I stayed up until after midnight Friday, working on the rewrites, and then was later than usual getting up today.   More work on rewrites today, now working front to back to shape toward the new ending.   In amongst the computer sessions came the other stuff.   As soon as the light was bright enough picked up stitches along the heel flaps of the brown and green socks, preparing to join in a round again.  Later, successfully (barring some…um…mistakes and difficulties) joined one sock; the other one will have to be done another day.  Ate a bowl of cereal.  Cleared the bed, stripped the bed, sorted laundry, and accomplished two loads of laundry and handwashing a pair of socks.   Ate two slices of toast.  Fed the cat (who, this morning, allowed me to pet her before I even put food in her bowl.)   Put out birdseed for our migrant population, then several times chased the cat away from the birds.   Walked a little outside in the yard (trying to regain strength after several weeks mostly lying down.)

Years ago, in The New Yorker, a reviewer complained that you couldn’t really look to a novelist for the solutions to life’s problems, but then opined that of course writers lacked experience of the real world, socially isolated and inwardly focused as they were.   It wasn’t phrased like that; for years I could recite that paragraph (because it annoyed me–it clearly applied to the kind of young male novelist (maybe mythical, for all I know) who was supposedly holed up in a studio apartment in NYC writing exquisite prose about young men like themselves, the sort of novels I found boring.   That isolated, ivory-tower sort of thing isn’t how this writer’s life has gone.  It’s mostly, on any given day, a mix of the reality-checks of real life (someone’s computer is making a funny noise…that dead limb looks like it could come down any day, we should get it down now…I thought we had more eggs…there’s the end of the washer cycle…oops, someone left the butter out on the counter…), and the writing, which may be fun (on some days, it’s fast, easy, exciting as a story cooperates in generating itself ) or an exhausting slog (when staring a deadline in the face or rewriting something that you were tired of three drafts ago.  But it’s still not right.)

As a younger person, daydreaming about “being a writer” (rather than about doing the work <G>)  I certainly had in mind the elegant study lined with books, magically kept tidy and clean by someone other than myself,  with a sort of spotlight of genius shining down on me that made every word come out and onto the page exactly as it should be.  There I’d be in my comfortable leather chair, in front of a big desk with my typewriter (no personal computers then) and a neat stack of paper, a (clean) window looking out on a lovely lawn with trees….   No more dishwashing, toilet-bowl-cleaning,  T-shirt-folding, ironing, etc. for me–I would be The Writer.

Reality isn’t like that.  However…and this is important…it’s good that it’s not.   At least for me, the connection to LifeStuff has produced better writing, even when I’m muttering that I could do more and better if the laundry would fold itself, the bathroom clean itself, and I could get more sleep.  (And it’s after midnight AGAIN, so it’s off to bed now.)

2 thoughts on “This Writer’s Saturday

  1. Butter must be a problem where you live. Here in the UK, with our milder climate, it can be left out (the packet one is using, anyway) most of the year, and it is a great nuisance when it can’t be!

  2. Yes, in this climate foods that spoil, melt, go sour, etc. upon warming up must be refrigerated. The first time I read an English book in which someone put cream or milk or butter on the windowsill to keep it cool, I was astonished. Also, windows are always screened, because we grew up with a lot of mosquito-borne illnesses. (And here, because not only mosquitoes, but other local wildlife will come in, including large snakes. They aren’t all venomous, but a big rat snake in the house is a major nuisance. (In the attic, not so much–it may keep the squirrel population down–but in the house proper, if it gets alarmed its defense is extremely smelly and messy.)

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