Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Next?

Victoria Horse Riding
by Hilde Garcia

“Ok, now Mommy’s going to write and you two watch your movie.” I quickly shut the kids’ door and breathe. Finally, after 6 months of going crazy, I get a moment to myself. Of course, there’s always laundry and dishes to do, those are a constant I have found, but there were also practices, lessons to attend, lesson plans to draft, homework to review, chapters to read and yes, tons and tons of emails, to which I have yet to reply.

My life does not support a writing habit. I often find myself writing on a napkin so that an idea won’t escape my head. My forties and sleep deprivation have taken their toll. Truly, on most days, writing only happens in my mind.

A couple of days ago, I watched a video of my twins when they were two. I was mesmerized at what my life was like then. It was calm and quiet, well, as much as it could be with twins. I had time in the afternoon while they napped to organize my scrapbooks, return calls and emails, even attend an audition or two and make dinner. I wore make-up in those days, had date night with my husband, and didn’t look as frazzled as I do today. The old video consisted of my kids eating their snack and me trying to get them to say words like milk, cheese and yogurt for the camera. We didn’t have our dog then, so no extra work in cleaning up spilled garbage cans or chasing him down the street. No, that video was serene and beautiful, worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Sam at Soccer Camp
Those were nice quiet years until the Presidency of my kids’ preschool became my life and the PTA chased me down, before I returned to work as a teacher and had to enroll in a credentialing program- I have more homework than anyone in my household. Today, my active first graders thrive on sports, after school activities, and excel in school. They have busy social calendars with parties and play dates. They even create books of their own. I envy them. I cook and clean, and they write. I’m counting the days when they’re old enough to do many of these chores themselves.

But despite this level of crazy, I finished my YA manuscript and sent it off to an editor back in November. Then I sat and thought, “I guess I’m done writing. What else should I do?”

Daughter/Daddy Day
Maybe I should check into our blog. Maybe I should dust off that old picture book that hasn’t been revised in years and see if now is the right time. Maybe I should write another book. Nah, I don’t have time because of course life takes hold of me. There’s always something that needs doing or someone that needs help or a cat in the tree I have to rescue or a boo boo to heal. And yet, here is some time that has just opened up in my life and I just sit. There’s always an excuse to keep me from writing it seems.

22 comments:

  1. The writing that I want to be doing is usually happening in my mind as well! I'm trying to figure out a routine that builds in time each week but haven't been successful so far.

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    1. I know how you feel. I went most of the year without so much as a blog post. But you know, I just let go of some stuff and gave myself a break for other things I just couldn't keep up with like the laundry and said, screw it, I will clean before my in laws visit and that's twice a year, lol. Don't give up and email me if you ever need some encouragement.

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  2. Butt in chair, Hilde. You've got a great start on a mid grade.
    I love Rosa's Talento. Tell your inner critic to Go the F**k to Sleep.

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    1. I love you, Sue. BIC indeed.

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  3. I think I would love having kids around. I don't have kids and have always wanted them. It's interesting how the grass always seems to be greener. I think I wouldn't mind them at all even if they impacted my writing time.

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    1. LOL- Danger- be careful what you wish for... it could come true! But all kidding aside, they are amazing and if I had to choose never writing again or raising my kids, the kids win, no questions asked. I used to be an actor and I gave it up when they were 3 because I couldn't manage it, the auditions, the uncertainty, at least now, I can write when they sleep. But they haven't impacted the quality of my writing, it's deeper and richer, just the quantity, because I do have to sleep at some time.;D

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  4. When I read that your life was more peaceful when they were two I wanted to cry! I have four, from seven down to four months, and I keep telling myself it will get easier, less busy, when they are older. Please don't tell me otherwise! :)
    Oh, and I just have to ask, what kind of horses does your daughter ride?

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    1. OK, I am going to give you some wisdom and you are going to tatoo it to your forehead. JUST SAY NO. Get your kids into pre school or school or both and then DO NOT VOLUNTEER FOR ANYONE. Have them think you don't care about your kids' education or school events and stay home, in your PJ's and write while they are gone. Tuesdays is my solace day, the only day I get to do just that, because it is the one day that no one finds me on campus. I have a classroom that I hide in and leave the lights off. After I am done planning my lessons, I write. And if they call me at home, I am not there. If they call my cell, it's on vibrate, so i ignore it. It does get easier when they go to school because you will have time back... but not if you say yes to the PTA. Be strong for me as I suck at saying no and I am the volunteer coordinator for my school, on three committees, two boards and also a teacher. You see how your time gets eaten away? DON'T do it. And that was a friend's horse my daughter was riding. We want to give her lessons, but haven't started yet, maybe this summer.:D

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  5. What a beautiful post! I have felt this way so many times, trying to write in the negative space of being a teacher, a mother, etc.! I started getting up a 5:15, so I could get in the time. Crazy as it sounds, it actually worked. Even if I only got that forty-five minutes (or half hour after the cobwebs cleared out!), I felt like I wasn't giving something up.

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    1. @Annie- I can't function at 5:15am unless I have stayed up all night. I usually write around 1am, when the house is set, the laundry is done, the desk is cleared and all kid and PTA duties have been met. Then I write and finally fall asleep playing FISHDOm on my iPad around 3am. That wouldn't be so bad, if I didn't have to get up at 6:30am to go and teach 160 elementary school kids and my own. OY VEY.

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  6. Just stopping by to say "hi" after seeing you listed on the Comment Challenge.

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  7. I can totally relate. 5 kids. In my forties. I'm just plain tired.

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    1. You and I have passed just plain tired into eternally exhausted. Five kids, I thought twins was tough. I love reading everything you post, so you know, we all are in it together. Keep on writing and remember, sleep is overrated. It's for the weak. LOL.

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  8. Great to hear I'm not alone. Children really are a blessing, but I understand the time issue. Seems like I have little time to work and when I do find the time the house seems to crumble around me. Before I know it the kids have done quite a number in every room of the house. I have three kids ages 6,13 and 16.

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    1. If I fall asleep unexpectedly in the afternoon, I am always sure to regret it--- every house and part of the back yard will be destroyed. The good thing is, I make them clean it up or they loss a lot of fun stuff. SO far so good. But I told my husband I so want someone paid to clean my house. The good life...

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  9. Hee hee! I like that you refer to your writing "habit". And the scrawled fragments on napkins. And the stories that keep playing out in your head. Only one available diagnosis - you're a writer. You'll find the time from somewhere!

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  10. And I did. When I gave up some chocolate and decided enough was enough, the dishes could wait, time showed up. And the kids help and cooperate. They will most of the time leave me alone, but it seems that when I most want to write, is when they most need me. But it is a habit, like crack, I love it, I can't get enough of it, so I should just be a full blown addict and throw caution to the wind and write like a maniac. But then what would my kids do? Burn down the house... ok, so I will be a moderate addict- a functional writer so to speak. Thank you for your words.

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  11. Just sitting...a very important activity, if you ask me. :)
    Don't all those into balance and Zen say we should just "be"?
    Thank you for visiting my post on Cornelius P. Mud which was part of Susannah's PPBF. I love the way you write...and I was nodding my head in agreement as I read about how you became involved in PTA, etc.
    My children are grown with families of their own now...but I have less time then when I had three little ones and was running a home daycare with 6 children, a big vegetable garden and I canned and preserved stuff and made crafty needlework gifts for family Christmas presents.
    So I do understand what you are saying about no time for writing...does anyone out there have the answer?

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  12. I had my first child when I was twenty and my fourth when thirty two. There was a big gap in between. All those years I was itching to write but couldn't. I did manage to make mental notes and sometimes physically wrote sketches and outlines. Now that the children are all grown-up and I find I have time, those mental notes, sketches and outlines are coming in handy. I pick and choose from them. I do get a head start because all along I've been thinking about them and developing them in my head.

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  13. its so easy for life to get in the way isn't it? thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment :)

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  14. I've been feeling the same way, Hilde. There's always an excuse, or a million excuses. At this point, I'm really fed up with my own excuses.
    Thanks for reminding me... to write!

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