Sunday, October 26, 2008

So Yesterday I Went To Write

So, yesterday I went to write.

No, Dear Reader, I did not lose my petty loathing of a common grammar slip. This is not a "She went, 'blah blah blah,' and then He went, 'so and so' before she went wee wee in her pants from the shock of the news..." moment. It's not like that. And it's not that either.

Yesterday I actually went somewhere to write.

I packed up my trusty laptop in my beautimus bag (reclaimed leather 1930s briefcase from St. Vincent De Paul's... anyone?). I packed up my gem of a camera in its own non-reclaimed but still essential cordura case. I crammed my watercolor case in for good measure, then I packed my own self into the driver's seat of the Suburban with a mite of guilt over driving the Sub all by my lonesome.

Well, I did have to drop off ALL FOUR kids at Grandma's house on my way to "somewhere to write."

Yes, Dear Reader, you read correctly. I dropped off all of my children. Thank you, Mom. (Are you on the internet yet, Mom? I know Myrrh has been messing with, I mean fixing, your computer and connections for some time now.)

The car has a particular quiet when one can hear the road noise. Ah, the lovely shush-shush of the tires on asphalt. The crackle of the leaves as they pass over the windshield. Yeah, maybe that one's stretching it a little. But it was quiet.

I drove 25 minutes to find the Backstage Bakery where the tables are barely big enough for a laptop computer and a cup of coffee. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of solitude. I stopped only once to take a picture of a decrepit barn. (Haven't uploaded it yet.) The anticipation of the writing time was nearly the most exciting thing I've done for weeks.

Did you ever feel Bohemian and spirited, right down to your marrow? Did you ever feel as though you were free of others' expectations and lucky enough to be conscious of that? Well, I did, yesterday. I know that a major component of my luckiness is the fact that I have tiny dependents who will still be expecting of me when I'm through with my four hours of solitude. It wouldn't be the same at all if I were lonely instead of blissfully alone.

The Backstage was closed for an Obama rally. Of about four people. They invited me in, but it messed with my alone-time fantasy. Cursed politics.

So I ended by typing furiously in the alley. I kid you not.

I wrote like a literary bandit in the alley behind a bakery. Yes, I wrote furiously. I pounded out words, clacked the keys in the uber-productive way that drives my husband crazy. I stopped not even once for tiny person requests. Did you know that I often inadvertently key in the words of my children to my journal? It will go along swimmingly upon reading, and then there's a random "peanut butter sandwich" in the middle of an otherwise normal sentence.

So yesterday I wrote like the wind.... I wrote a proposal for the asphalt paving and stormwater management design of a large school district's nine sites.


Yes, I did. I wrote a 27-page response to a "request for proposal." I wish I wrote a beautiful stanza or a perfect piece of prose.

But at the end of the day, I hit "save," sent the document in for review, and closed the laptop. I took a few pictures of the alley in the right-angle light. I capped off the day with a kid-free trip to a thrift shop, where I found a random glass light shade that will fit our ancient laundry room light fixture perfectly (hurray!).

So yesterday, I went to write. I remembered what it is to be alone. It felt good to come home to make loaded broccoli soup and cheesy biscuits. It felt good to read in the paper the quote of a much-published author and sometime writing teacher named Francine Prose. She said of the urge to write, "You have to have a particular kind of temperament... Oh, I think I'll spend the next three years completely by myself, working 14 hours a day, with no idea of whether it's any good or not, taking out commas, putting back commas..."

I think the "next three years" of my life, in four-hour increments, interrupted by peanut butter sandwiches, broccoli soup and horseback riding lessons, might take me a bit of time. Taking out commas, putting back commas.


Misty said...

i loved this post. It reminded me of the feeling i get when I've successfully accomplished something artistic or creative. Even if it was boringly work related...

now i want some of your soup.

Katie said...

What exactly is "loaded" broccoli soup?

I. AM. So. JeAloUs! You and your alone time (insert comma, take out comma)


Barb said...

See, I've found that after a decade of writing with kids crawling around my feet, I can write ANYWHERE at ANY TIME. I could sit in the middle of a highway on the median and bang out a blog post.

What's harder for me is just finding the time to sit down. It seems like as my kids have grown older, we spend a lot more time on the go. I get more knitting done--but not so much writing. I need a new laptop, for one thing, since mine isn't actually, um, mobile.

The other thing I seem to be lacking lately, though, is a passion for a good story. But November is coming! Are you going to do nanowrimo with me?