Friday, December 03, 2010

Second Prompt ... Writing

Today's prompt, ironically, came on a day when I actually took some time at my favorite coffee place and wrote. Of course, it is also the day I go to my weekly memoir workshop, which is seriously the one thing I think I've ever done in my life that has been totally motivated by only the desire to have fun. And I love it.

December 2 - Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Today, tonight, really (since I got home from my class after 10), cupcakes didn't contribute to my writing. Sort of. Gabriella is going to be 3 on Sunday, and we're bringing in cupcakes for her to celebrate her birthday with her preschool class tomorrow. She's been talking about the cupcakes all week.

This morning, my husband felt cruddy, and I sent him to the doctor instead of to work. There, he was given 48 hours "quarters" (which, in the Army, means he was supposed to go home and rest for 2 days), but he requested instead to only have to stay home for 24 hours, since that's how we roll as musicians ... we hate to miss rehearsals and jobs. It's totally true.

So, he came home and rested. And I ran errands and wrote, then we picked up our kids from their after school activities and got them going on homework. At that point, I offered to stay home from writing class. He insisted I go, because the kids would all be in bed in an hour and a half, and he knew I'd hate to miss class.

He had agreed earlier to make the cupcakes for Gabriella's class. At 11:30, when I thought I had everything staged for the morning, I realized the cupcakes weren't here. And we had no frosting. I went out to the grocery store, in my pajamas, and bought a boxed cake mix (a first for my kids) and some frosting. (I also stocked up on foodstuffs for next Saturday's long, long job in Philadelphia, so that eliminated one errand for the morning.) I came home and made the cupcakes, and the truth is I did it with great joy. Gabriella is going to feel so special at school tomorrow, and if staying up all night is the way to create that for my youngest child, I'll do it!

But cupcakes aren't what keep me from writing, really. And here's where it gets complicated. On one hand, life is what "doesn't contribute" to my writing ... but, without life, what is there to write about? And, without writing, my life is kind of drab. I am so much more aware of everything when I'm actively writing a few times a week. If I stop, it's like the super-sensors shut down, and I'm ambling aimlessly, not really experiencing anything -- for better or for worse.

On the other hand, and this is hard to say out loud: writing is something I do for me, and for me alone. I like to run, as well, but I have to do that for my job, so there's some extrinsic motivation in that, even though I enjoy it. But writing serves no one, it satisfies nothing. Oh, sure, being able to articulate my thoughts on paper is a wonderful transferrable skill I'm using now and will continue to use later in life, but I'm not going to make money writing memoir. I do it for the sheer joy. But it's selfish. When my family is stretched to the limit (and with both of us working this crazy job and 3 little kids having so many needs, when aren't we stretched to the limit?), writing is the very first thing to go.

Can I eliminate "it?" I think that depends. I could make more time for writing by giving up time I spend doing other things. Instead, I'm accepting that today, I made cupcakes for my almost-3 year old little girl. Before I know it, there won't be any little girl left to make cupcakes for. My guess is I'll have plenty of time to write then.

1 comment:

  1. lordy, lordy... are you spying on my life? I've got five kids and my reverb post is about much the same things as you... motherhood gives us so much raw material, but demands all our time. ah, well. it'll all be worth it when they grow up, strike it rich and support mommy in the manner to which she'd like to become accustomed... that's what I'm telling myself, anyways.