What We Do When We Aren’t Writing

And by “we”, I mean me.

First, there are cats. I had an older cat, Pearl, who needed a friend. An old bloggy friend rescued a cat in Georgia. She drove him down and voila, Porkchop was added to our family.

We had to put Pearl down. She was 18 and her health failed. Porkchop needed a friend so we went to the Humane Society and Mrs. Goldman joined our family.

My oldest son is a cat lover. His birthday was coming up and he didn’t want anything. Nothing. So as any insane person would do, I thought, hmmm, another cat would blow his mind. My husband, not a cat lover, but a lover of his family, came around. The Noodle joined our family.

We were a three cat family. One more than most normal people have.

Enter Molly. My mother-in-law lives in a small apartment, and as many older people become, she was lonely. She loved being around the cats at our house so for mother’s day, we brought her to pick out a cat. One that she became highly allergic to.

Molly moved in this week and is currently sitting below me, still enclosed in the library, with three cats spying in at her through the french doors. We’ll introduce them tomorrow.

We have become the crazy four cat family.

Instead of writing, I pet cats, clean litter boxes and wiggle cat toys that look like bugs.

My seven-year old loves monkeys. He wanted to be a monkey for Halloween. We found some ears, but no costume. For some reason, once boys are out of the toddler phase, they immediately enter a very specific costume arena. He could have been an angel of death, a ninja, a zombie or a superhero.

I bought some brown fuzzy fabric, and some pale yellow fleece. I hand-stitched an oval on for the belly, and sewed two seams down the sides. Some holes for arms and head, a tail, and oh yeah, he had to have an oversized banana, which he uses as a machine gun. Go figure.

Did I mention I don’t know how to sew? This took me five hours to make.

Instead of writing, I make Halloween costumes.

When I get on the train in the morning, I read. I pretend that I’m not going to work and that I’m headed to my loft where I’ll spend the day writing before headed back home at night.

Then I get to my real job.

I nap on the way home, brain dead.

Guitar lessons, band concerts, dentist appointments, kid’s homework, dinner, shower, put the kids to bed and it’s nine o’clock.

People who love to write, write then. I grab a beer, or maybe a glass of wine and watch people on television renovate houses. I watch people with so much money they’ll buy an overpriced trailer and call it a Tiny Home. I watch Fargo. I watch Dr. Who. I watch bits of movies I’ve seen a thousand times.

I won’t even remember in the morning what I’ve seen because I’ve had four to five hours sleep.

Instead of writing, I watch meaningless television.

My hair was weighing me down. I got it cut. Short. I mean, short short. I found out that some people hate it, some people love it, but I’m still the same person who was weighed down.

Instead of writing, I dramatically cut off all my hair.

I put on weight so decided to start running. In true fashion, I decided I need to run a spring marathon. So I shuffle my heavier-than-ever frame down the block and trip over the sidewalk landing hard on my knees and wrists. I walk home and clean up the blood, bandage the wounds and run a mile and a half.

My knees still hurt from a week ago. My aging back hates the weight, hates me running and begs me to stop.

But I can’t. If I stop the craziness, I’ll disappear.

Instead of writing, I run. Slowly. Painfully.

So this is where I am.

I emailed a friend and said to her that if I was really a writer, I would be writing instead of doing all of this other stuff.

She said when she sits down to write, doing the dishes sounds more fucking appealing.

Yes.

So here I am.

Instead of doing anything else, I’m writing.

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12 responses to “What We Do When We Aren’t Writing

  1. I think about writing and my brain immediately does its imitation of toddler throwing a tantrum. I placate it with TV and internet time wasting. Say hi to Porkchop for me!

    • And there’s my bloggy, cat-supplier, friend!
      Yes, exactly. The tired toddler on the floor crying, “But I’m NOT tired!”.
      I keep telling myself it’s about reworking a bad habit, but the fact remains that by that time of the night, the only time where I have more than an hour, I’m so damn brainmushed, that I have no words.
      I just don’t know which are excuses and which are the truth…

  2. Yes, that’s it. Brainmushed. I get up in the morning with good intentions but the moment I turn on my computer (working from home is a blessing and a curse), I find I’m diving right into work. How simple would it be for me to sit down with pen and paper and knock out a thousand words BEFORE I turn on the computer? And yet…. and yet…… I seem desperate to answer the mundane emails from people too lazy to read a website or use google. I am my own worst enemy.

    Here’s the worst of it – I think I’ve stopped writing because I don’t want to think about the horrible things I’ve done in the last couple of years. Writing for me = examining my situation and I’m just too fucking cowardly to own it.

  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I used to think the idea of fevered writing all night was romantic and true. Then one of my writer acquaintances reported that she did that and that what she wrote sucked. I also think she is bipolar. Real life ain’t like the pictures.

  4. Hey Louie. You wrote a blog post. So there.

  5. This is a beautiful reflection, Louie. I read it and read it again, and then again, and could not stop thinking about it. Bravo.

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