How Did I Get Here?

First of all, I think you will all be both relieved and heartened that I sucked it up, snagged a monster pile of referrals, did a massive room re-org and started Tuesday (Writing Prompt Day) off with twenty minutes of silence in which to write.

I have no idea how well they did–I was planning to do critique-alouds today, but felt like crap so didn’t follow through, but I’ve got to tell you, that quiet time in all five classes was better than a nap. And the classes themselves have been quieter after the new seating chart etc. Somedays you win some…huzzah for the silence in the head and the time to write!!!

Which sort of brings me to today’s post… I’m here writing, with CSI NY on pause, and I realized today that I’ve missed a whole bunch of my blogging buddiess–Knittech, Netter, Louiz, gemma–all sorts of people that I don’t hardly say hi to anymore, and not through lack of wanting that oh-so-elusive peer group contact either.

It’s this writing thing. I think it’s taken over the knitting as my # 1 obsession (which is too bad, because I’m still actually spending more on the knitting…) I should have seen it coming.

Ladybug was born at 6:00 a.m. on a Monday. At 2:30 a.m. on that same Monday, I woke up, said several bad words because my contractions stalled out, and came in to A. Type two totally incomprehensible e-mails to my co-workers–they still laugh at that, because the time stamp was 3:12 a.m. and B. Work on BOUND. I know I’ve said this before, but that fight after Cory and Bracken get busy in the smaller Goddess Grover after their big fight in front of Green? Yeah. I was working on that part when the mother fucker of all contractions nailed me to the chair and cracked the core of the world in two. A few more paragraphs, and then the mother fucker’s mother came and repaired that hole in the world, and that’s when I stood up, stalked into the bedroom (pausing for two contractions on the way) and told Mate to wake up. “Why?” “Because I have had enough of this shit.” Oddly enough, those were the same words I used when the embryo with nicotine breath who felt me up said, “Jesus, you’re seven and a half centimeters dilated–what made you decide to come in now, after four days of labor?”

So I should have seen it coming. I should have prophesied that the knitting would give way to writing at 10:00 p.m. when the house was totally quiet. I should have seen that when I couldn’t be alone in the living room with five other human beings I would retreat to the silence of my laptop and somebody else’s world.

I remember taking a trip to L.A. with my best friend in high school–on the way there, I closed my eyes and when my friend tried to engage me in conversation, I replied, “I’m trying to nap–I do that in cars.” It was a total and complete lie. I wasn’t trying to nap, I was pretending I was someone else with a really hot guy and he wasn’t elbowing me in the ribs–sue me, I was 16, my repetoire of tragedy wasn’t quite as developed. The fact was, I had reached an uncomfortable social situation, and I was using my ample and lecherous imagination to cushion the enforced exposure to so many other human beings.

I do this at home sometimes. The kinderbraten have gone to sleep? I’m ready to be ALONE ON THE FUCKING PLANET? I’m in here, typing away, or checking my standings or my e-mail or, usually, blogging–blogging was the ultimate for me. It was socializing while enjoying that all important silence in my own head.

And then I had to give myself a deadline. A serious deadline. I had to promise myself (and my fans…my tiny legion, we will grow…) that I would get BITTERMOON II out by June. And it seems realistic to me. I’m on page 50 already. But I didn’t count on a professionalism that I thought fifteen years in public education had killed dead dead dead to emerge and suddenly suck out all the wiggle room in this well meaning promise. Suddenly, I’m not just giving up knitting time, I’m writing until 11:30–that’s giving up SLEEPING time! And then I’m getting up early and taking 10 minutes to write some more. I’m giving up that all important thinking time on the john for sweet Triane’s sake…and then I’m staying after school an extra ten minutes… and…

And suddenly my obsession, my ‘little hobby’ has taken on the overtones of a job, and if it was only that, I could quit it at any time. But it’s more than that. It’s a DREAM, and I’m hot so sure how to quit or even to cut back on a DREAM. DREAMING is addictive stuff–DREAMING is like neuro-heroin, and I can’t stop injecting it. I DREAM of people reading my books and telling me that they were moved by them. And I know how great this dream is because it’s already happened–and I ride those highs with my hands in the air screaming “WHEEEEEEEEE” even though the lows…well, you’ve all helped me past the lows, right?

So I guess I know how I got here…I guess the question is, how do I live here? I miss my blogging peeps. Hell–I miss my IRL friends, not that I would see much of them anyway. I miss my little ones–I need to be there earlier for them. Do I cut back a little at a time? Do I blow off the deadline? Do I give up more knitting? (Impossible…I feel like I hardly knit at all.) I mean–I don’t eat lunch with my peers as it is–I’m too busy on the computer doing the small amount of blog reading I actually get in. Can I really be a decent mother while I’m working a job and a dream?

“I can’t figure it all out tonight sir…I’d just like to hang with your daughter.” (Name that movie, anyone?)

I guess maybe that’s where I start. Mate’ sitting on the couch, watching Avatar reruns…I love Avatar–one of my favorite shows to watch with my kids–who are all asleep. Maybe, I’ll go check a blog or two, and then go sit with him and, well, knit. Yeah…maybe that’s a place to throttle back. I mean, I wrote three pages after school today already…

0 thoughts on “How Did I Get Here?”

  1. roxie says:

    You can’t stop writing? How many writers in the world would surrender body parts to have your problem? Accept that this will be a recurring theme in your life, taper off a bit when you can, and know that we are rooting for you!

  2. sheila says:

    Say Anything…That was a great movie!! I love it when he questions the guys hanging out at the gas-n-sip!! Too funny!

  3. Siercia says:

    I know that movie! It’s from Say Anything – the scene where Diane’s father asks Lloyd what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

    I’m glad you gave your kids some quiet writing time – it’s good for both them AND you!

    And I have no constructive advice for balancing DREAM, job and life – only sympathy, since I know how hard it is to balance just job and life.

  4. Kate says:

    You know, I’m slowly progressing with my own writing endeavor (and I mean SLOWLY) and reading about you not benig able to stop…I’m jealous, almost! Until you get to the part about writing eating up your life. I know how that goes, I’ve been there before.
    Then the typewriter ribbon began to run low on ink and I have yet to get a new one.

  5. Goals are a good thing, but (you knew that was coming) goals need to be reevaluated on a regular basis. Things change, life gets in the way. Your fans will understand if you need to push out your release date. Sometimes you need to knit more then to write. Sometimes you need to play with the children then knit.

  6. gemma says:

    I like what Knittech said. Reevaluate the goal chick. There’s an author Isobelle Carmody, who keeps telling fans the last Obernewtyn book is almost out (6 or so years late). Strangely enough we still love her and wait.
    hugs to you, and keep it all in perspective and keep it fun …. work sucks enough of the time without bringing it into your fun time.

  7. darkhearts says:

    Just a few words from a newbie to your blog: a) love love love your novels…so beautiful, as poetic as cory ever is…they make me cry at times, (sometimes often ….Wounded!) even when there are 40 kids 10 feet from me who might see….see d) below…
    b) I too am a high school English teacher (11th year) of 10-12 in LAUSD….often 45 kids in my senior british lit classes. and sometimes in my 10th gr. classes too. fun stuff
    c) I have a group of girl readers who read anything I do…they love you too! Most borrow my copy, and read it twice before giving it back to me. I’ve had to buy second copies cuz I’m this weird book freak that likes my books in pristine shape even after I read them…so they get the thumbed over copies to use… (same with JR Ward’s series. I’m always recruiting a fan base for you!–They usually don’t get to buy books for fun–parents will only spring for books required for the class…otherwise I’d make ’em buy their own)
    d) how I keep my sanity: Every friday, in every class, is reading day(all 6 –I have 201 kids this semester…argh). The lower level classes get to read any novel they choose. The honors kids get an assigned novel. All read for 1 hour silently, uninterrupted, no sleeping, no moving no talking. Once they get used to it, its bliss for me…I can read your novel, or grade, or write… They get a journal question for homework that I grade once every 4 weeks. Even the low kids can get used to it…just encourage harry potter or some other high interest YA text…You can’t imagine how lovely friday is after 4 days of intense lecture/discussion. (I rarely do deskwork or group work in my classes…so by friday i need some downtime for sure…)

    I hope my everlasting love and suggestion help…oh, I knit too –endless numbers of scarves…so I can get the meditative benefits of knitting without having to be careful. autopilot, for sure…

  8. darkhearts says:

    okay, I should have read your previous blog about the admin-nazi before I advised a silent reading day….My school is so big (4000 kids) that no administrators show up ever in my room, but I do have a question….can they actually DO anything to you for not ranking well on their ‘engagement matrix’? — god, I want to kick some teeth down some throats just hearing that–if you have tenure can you just ignore them?
    I pretty much go my own way despite the constant demands to teach to tests and use ‘designed lessons’ handed down from administrators who never were in classrooms, but want to ‘help’ me be a better teacher by giving me big binders full of lessons to use everyday, which will optimize performance on state tests….blah blah blah I just put them with all the other ‘newest teaching tools’ of the year in a big dusty pile and go on with my business of teaching real literature….What are they gonna do, fire me? HA! Like there’s a line of people wanting my job. Are you in a unionized school?
    Anyway, this doesn’t really speak directly to this particular blog, but your situation annoyed me so much I had to put in my 2-cents…feel free not to post it.)

  9. Galad says:

    I like what knittech said too. Remember the day your “sposta” broke? That kind of self-care will help keep your life in perspective. From a reader standpoint, if you have to push back your timeline, I just get to anticipate longer. It’s kind of like the excitement of waiting for Christmas as a kid!

  10. Susan says:

    You can’t stick a timeline on Creativity, dearest. Goddess knows that! She’ll tell you, in her usual subtle way until you’ve ignored her for too long at which point she’ll drop you and kick you repeatedly in the head until she either crushes your granite skull or you Learn! The! Damned! Lesson!

    Take a big deep breath. Or 10. (Please, not while driving. Won’t do to have you hyperventilating with a car full of kindersĂĽĂź depending on you to remain conscious.)

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