No, this isn’t what I planned to post today. My coffee table convinced me differently.
Never considered writing to be anything unusual. Seems I’ve done it forever. It’s been applied in every work situation as well; writing letters for fishermen dealing with new regulations, writing safety meeting material for offshore, writing promotional items for the bands I played with, handling written employee evaluations for the casinos–ones that determined raises and promotions, even copy writing for goods and services from florists to the granite industry. It just seemed to tuck so neatly right alongside everything else. I only recently realized–or maybe finally admitted–writing has been the mainstay, and everything else on the side.
But it was brought home to me lately just how our writing life affects others around us. You might think it doesn’t because writing is so solitary, but it does.
You probably wondered what the coffee table had to do with anything. Now you’re probably wondering about me. Or my sanity, more likely.
I’ve been going over a submission for Samhain with a fine-toothed comb, hoping to rid it of enough petty errors to keep the editor from hitting delete. It’s good it isn’t a printed version. I’d have succumbed to the temptation to toss it on the floor and hop up and down on it. Several times over.
During the editing process I’ve been skating through everything else, doing just enough to hold off calamities. The proof stared me in the face when I shut things down last night. My coffee table was mounded over with it.
There’s a can of compressed air I didn’t put away after trying to clean the vent openings and fan giving my laptop fits. A box of crackers because I didn’t want to sacrifice the time to fix real food. One of hubby Pumas, rescued from the puppy. A moccasin slipper–minus its latigo bow on the top because I didn’t rescue it in time from the puppy. Two empty bottled water containers. Two dirty cups where I’d made revival tea. An owners manual hubby wanted me to peruse to locate parts numbers. (Still haven’t done it. Sorry, baby.) Three days worth of mail I glanced at and dropped. My sewing box, not returned to its place after sewing hubby’s button back on. A football glove, rescued from the puppy. Two hair clips that gave me a headache. A washcloth, rescued from the puppy. TV remote, set to mute. Ziploc bag of cookie crumbs. (Yeah, I’ll pay for those later.) And a blood pressure monitor. Bottle of BP meds added later.
But the most conspicuous thing is the pile of odd-sized papers, carefully kept separate from everything else. Ones with things jotted down on them. Maybe a few descriptive words to capture a place or emotion. An idea for a premise, with a list of important details. A storyline. A perfect name discovered for a character. A snippet of overheard conversation. All those little gems collected from unlikely places. Some are on actual tablet paper. Some scribbled on scrap paper, backs of envelopes, napkins, the back of a student progress report, along edges of a receipt.
It struck me just how dependent I am on these items when each scrap with anything written on it is brought to me first with the question, “Do you need this, or is it okay to throw it away?”
Hubby, kids, grandbabies, even close friends know to check. A single way my writing gives their lives serious pause. It takes time and effort to stop what they’re doing, locate me and ask. I’m sure there are other ways I affect them, too. (One more week, baby, and dinner will be back to pork chops and homemade gravy. Baked chicken with carrots and potatoes. Chevrolet Spaghetti. Seafood gumbo. I appreciate the Subway and side salads, and the Pizza Hut take-out you’ve brought home so we wouldn’t starve. You do so much to help me finish things, and never complain. I promise to dance with the vacuum more often, too.)
So for the next few weeks I’m going to make a point of looking for the ways my writing affects people around me. In fact I’ll start right now. Today is hubby’s birthday. And he just sat patiently waiting for me to finish writing this post, even though today was supposed to be all his.
Notice the ones who support you, people. Be sure to thank them. I’m ready to hit the publish button, and after that I’m done with writing for the day. I have something very important to do. Think I’m gonna go molest the hell out of my grinning husband!