Balancing Children and Writing and the Magic Woman Inside

The Essence of Emjai


     Today, the Sizzlers welcome author Emjai Colbert.  Emjai, who writes for Ellora’s Cave, is in Part II of her writing career.  Her first book, If tomorrow Never Comes, was published by Cerridwen Press in 2005.  She recently rejoined the Sizzlers’ own Gulf Coast RWA Chapter and returned to writing.  Sunny with a Chance (Ellora’s Cave, 2010) was released in May.   Emjai will share with us how to balance writing and children with designer duct tape???  Thanks for visiting, Emjai.  RitaVF  

     On the one hand, I am a mommy. First and foremost, above everything else, I am a mommy. On the other hand, I am a writer, or rather, I am a vessel for all sorts of craziness that swirls and whirls around in my head that eventually makes it down to my fingers and onto a computer screen. On the third hand, I am this magic woman who controls a vast empire complete with flying monkeys…what you don’t have a third hand? If you are a woman, especially a woman with children, you have a third hand whether you know it or not, and eyes in the back of your head, and let’s not forget your own mother’s voice, yes I know, I know you will never turn in to your mother.
     What are you talking about, Emjai? You don’t know me.
      Of, course I know you—and every other woman who has given birth to at least one child. I have four. I know therefore what I speak of…children that is, the flying monkeys are too numerous to count. There are those days when all you can do is run herd on your child(ren) and fall exhausted into bed at night, probably still fully dressed with spaghetti noodles in your hair. There are those days when your darling angels make you think of mayhem and madness best left unspoken. My favorite saying to date has to be Silence is Golden but Duct Tape is Silver. It helps me cope with those days that I channel my mother. BTW, duct tape now comes in many decorator colors such as pink and turquoise, I’m just sayin’.
Wait wasn’t this supposed to be about balancing writing with children and other fantastical shenanigans? Well, yeah, of course it is, I think, okay, how do you balance children and writing you might ask? Eff if I know. What I do know is what works for me. And there are flying monkeys involved I assure you.
     First off, let’s talk ages here. I have three teens and a pre-schooler. Therefore, one would think I have all of the built in help I need, wouldn’t one. Well no, my teens are my worst offenders. Only one has a driver’s license but instead of doing my bidding like that license is supposed to be for, she prefers to do selfish things like go to class or club meetings. The two middle kids are band kids, one in pit the other on flute so their practices never match up. I am constantly on the run to school to drop off or pick up a kid or two sometimes three or four.
     Then there are the various other chores associated with running a vast empire. Groceries don’t just buy themselves, and my six-foot two sixteen-year-old son can certainly pack away the food, not to mention the trips to the library, the park, the mall, and the various historical destinations in town in the hopes of alleviating boredom and broadening little minds. If I am ever home much less alone, it’s because I release those flying monkeys I keep on retainer and my husband takes pity (or was freaked completely out) on me and whisks our minions away for their own safety.
     So when do I write? When the electronic baby sitters (television, computer, and video games) are all synced up and there is peace in the land… barring that I lock myself in my bedroom put Pink’s Funhouse CD in my little player, hook the head phones on and crank up the volume. I don’t even care if the house burns down around me, let it, just so long as I get a couple of thousand words pecked out and the insurance is paid up, then all is right with the world.
     No really Emjai, stop kidding, you promised us a sure-fire way to balance our hectic life, our children and our muse now pay up.
     Well there is one sure-fire way that I know of.
     Yeah, we’re all ears, what, what, what?
     Easy, you just hire a full-time housekeeper/nanny/super woman.
     Or revisit that duct tape idea.  

Thanks so much, Emjai.  Check out Emjai’s stories and more at     Tomorrow, Slush Pile Hell.  RitaVF


11 Responses

  1. Great post. I only have one child but between his activities and mine it is a juggling act. As much as I hate the X-Box when grades aren’t what they should be, I do love it when I need some quiet time. Thanks for sharing and for lots of giggles this morning.

  2. Have to share this, Emjai. “A REAL woman can fix anything as long as she has a butter knife and a roll of duct tape!”

    Our five children have turned into 13 grandchildren. All believing they should live with Popa and Mawmaw, so writing can be difficult at times. I’ve learned to threaten them with food. Or rather the lack of it. A number of our negotiations begin “If you want fried chicken (or pork chops and gravy, or chicken and dumplings, whatever favorite fits the current being in front of you), you have to leave Mawmaw alone for two hours.” Sometimes it even works. lol

    Love the reality of your post — because, yes, flying monkeys do exist!

    • add a can of WD-40 to that and you’ve got my home tool kit Runere. Of course flying monkeys exist, if only to keep the wicked witch’s dirty work so she doesn’t have too, and now I want fried pork chops with potato salad and creamer peas, yum. Darn gotta run to the store now.

  3. Great post, Emjai. A nice giggle for the morning,

  4. Great post. Holy cow your life sounds so full. P!nk’s funhouse CD–that’s the best music to write to. I have Sober, Funhouse, Who knew rocking all the time on my headphones when I’m writing.

    Write on!!

    • Pink has been the soundtrack to all of my summer writing. I love her strong voice, the turmoil in her songs speak to me, love, loss, and breaking bad. Glitter in the Air is by far my favorite on that CD. I think I’m about to burn a groove in that song.

  5. I can so relate! It’s still summer vacation here…school starts in two weeks and I’m counting the days. 🙂

    • I wrote this just as my two middle kids were starting band camp and summer was still in full swing. They started back to school last week, the oldest starts back next week then I will be left all alone with a four year old, thank God for Nick Jr. Somehow I want to go back to those days just before band camp when all I had to do was break up bicker fests.

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