The sunlight slides down-and-across the wall.
Partly reclined, I sit propped against four pillows
(one too hard, one too soft, one flat as paper,
and one Just Right)
writing notes on Whitman and Miss Emily Dickinson.
He comes in, grinning and waving,
and crawls in beside me,
bed-warm toes against my leg,
reading the words appearing on the screen.
Pointing out my typing errors.
Patiently waiting to tell me about building rockets in fourth grade.
When did I slip my left arm around him?
When did I let go the keypad?
Did I give him all my attention without even
He stays. I type one-fingered.
It takes longer, we both notice.
So he places his left hand on the left-side keys,
fingers curved in perfect form,
and taps out the As, the Ts, the Es in each word
as I handle all the right-side rest.
This moment, with my boy in my arm and our
tousled morning-heads touching, our
hands neighborly on the keypad,
laughing at our spelling errors and our fumbled
at written communication …
this moment is one I want to hold
I know. Life is happening.
And I want you to know that I’ve noticed
That even though you’re managing to do all the things
You have to do, that you’re not doing any of them
I’ve noticed, and everyone else has noticed, too.
And we’re all surviving the fact.
These 242 words are the most you’ve typed in
A Very Long TIme.
We’ve noticed that collectively, your sophomores
Get a great deal of time and attention,
Even though personally, they’d benefit from
Some kind of time-twisting that would allow you to
Really (deeply) communicate with each of them.
Wanting to is a start, but honestly? Not a huge one.
Your house is straightened, though dingy,
And clothes are generally clean,
For which you are allowed to feel generally
We’ve all noticed that dinners are, well, lame
And there’s a startling lack of fresh leafy greens
But, hey, salad and variety are overrated
And nobody’s starving around here.
Noted: You hugged EVERY SINGLE ONE
Of your family members last night before you slept.
You bought the best kind of fruit snacks
Which makes up for some other parts of Lame Bagged Lunch.
You read the assigned book instead of skimming it for the
Nebulous answers Professor Doctor Former Runningback
Is searching for.
We’ve all noticed that it’s not glorious.
And it’s still okay. Carry on. We’ll keep noticing
The parts that work
And working on the parts that don’t.
Is anyone interested in trying a little thing with me? I’m at the knife-edge of my wits these days (I know that is in no way hard to believe) and I actually think that if I manage to squeeze in 30 minutes of writing time I may increase the will to go on. (I’m not suicidal. I don’t need an intervention. Just a nap and possibly a wife, but that’s a post for another day.)
Here’s the thing. I have 2 half-done manuscripts that require way more than I can give them right now, time-wise and emotional-investment-wise. SO instead, I’m going to try the thing my husband has been doing since July: A story a day. It can be a really short thing (ala Hemingway’s famous short story: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”) or a longer thing, or a fragment of a thing, but I want to write from my guts without worrying that it’s not increasing my word count or manuscript output. Anyone want to get in on this with me? A practical flexing of the muscles, as it were. (And I promise to never say “as it were” again.)
It’s sort of “Romancing the Words” — a no-commitment, rediscover-the-joy, dive in and splash around in the puddles of creation activity. Starting now. Ending at the end of the month if you’re one of those NaNoWriMo pros, carrying on longer if you’re like me and unable to commit to 50,000 words in a month.
As far as craziness like planning goes, I’m not actually doing any. But I did think that I could try a few genre-based experiments: One day, write something funny, or sad, or scary. Another day, historical. Or, dialog-only. Setting based, fantastical, child-focused, nonfiction, like that.
So now that I’m putting this onto the internet, I’m all in. Write on.
Here are things that make me happy.
My Husband, he whom I adore, has decided he will love 30 Rock. Oh, the joy. “I want to go to there.”
My Kid 1 came home for hours and hours on Saturday. We loved all over her.
I bought a pair of pants. Stretchy, skinny ones. They are black, and Kid 3 thinks I look “sick” which is, as you undoubtedly know, a very good thing.
For two days in a row, we ate our dinner meal before 2:00 pm. Where in the world could I live where that could be standard? I want to go to there.
Curel hand lotion. It’s fixing the nasties on my poor itchy fingers. “Ultra Healing” is where-it’s-at, yo.
School. I like it. Students are clever and bright and lovely. Work is happening.
Online university English class. I try to like it, even when I have 100-page reading assignments per assignment (which I really want to get to daily, but NO CHANCE), but what’s happy-making is that I am learning fine things (skewed toward revisionist historical theorizing, but fine anyway). I love the learning business.
Fall. Autumn. Leaves are spectacular in my little valley right now. Frosty mornings and sunny afternoons, and a little snow that melted by afternoon. Apple pie made from apples growing right outside my garage door.
What’s happy-making for you these days?
Guys! My cute friend Christy has a new book! And I would like you to know all the things about it! And see its gorgeous cover. Also, Scary Fingernails ala Wolverine. So here you go…
. . . because some Celtic stories won’t be contained in myth.
A little magic has always run in sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery’s family—at least that’s what she’s been told. McKayla’s eccentric Aunt Avril travels the world as a psychic for the FBI, and her mother can make amazing delicacies out of the most basic of ingredients. But McKayla doesn’t think for a second that the magic is real—it’s just good storytelling. Besides, McKayla doesn’t need magic. She recently moved to beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, and already she has a best friend, a solo in her upcoming ballet recital—and the gorgeous guy in her physics class keeps looking her way.When an unexpected fascination with Irish dance leads McKayla to seek instruction from the mute, crippled janitor at her high school, she learns that her family is not the only one with unexplained abilities.
After Aunt Avril comes to Star Valley in pursuit of a supernatural killer, people begin disappearing, and the lives of those McKayla holds most dear are threatened. When the janitor reveals that an ancient curse, known as a geis, has awakened deadly powers that defy explanation, McKayla is forced to come to terms with what is real and what is fantasy.
A thrilling debut novel based in Celtic mythology, Awakening is a gripping young adult fantasy rife with magic, romance, and mystery.
Christy Dorrity lives in the mountains with her husband, five children, and a cocker spaniel. She grew up on a trout ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming, and is the author of The Geis series for young adults, and The Book Blogger’s Cookbooks. Christy is a champion Irish dancer and when she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably trying out a new recipe in the kitchen.
Links for purchase:
I’ve been forty for like four and a half days or something. And it’s going just fine. I know you were worried. But have no fear — turns out I can handle it. And I can handle school and crazy fall sports schedules and even dinner (served over the course of 3 or 4 hours and in as many shifts as there are humans in this house, but I’m counting it). I even started reading (!) another book (!) by my charming and adorable fake-uncle Alexander McCall Smith (who is indeed charming and adorable, but not at all my uncle; I’d just like him to be, if you know what I mean, which you probably do if you’re a person who has ever read his books).
My head is physically and metaphorically above the water, and only a few of my students actively hate me for bringing LORD OF THE FLIES into their lives. I told them it’s not their job to agree with Mr. Golding’s dim view of human nature, only to recognize how he arrives at it and unveils it through the story. Also I geek out about brilliant sentences now and then, and they watch. Perhaps they snicker. Very few sneer. So it’s all good.
I just thought we all might like to know.
Here is how I will spend it:
Wake up at 5:50, in time to get Kid 2 to the Cross Country bus at 6:00. Except (ha!) the bus isn’t going until 6:45. So, fold some laundry and answer email and order those violin books from random internet sites.
Write a little.
Rediscover some blogs (what??) and smile at cleverness. Re-determine not to give in to the lure of Pinterest, especially the Guilt-Breeding Birthday Party posts. (Shudder.)
Go to a soccer game. In possible rain.
Travel down the mountain and attend a football game. Also in possible rain.
Come home, plan a Sunday School lesson, vacuum all kinds of manky carpets, think about tomorrow’s meals.
Go to a neighborhood BBQ (did I hammer in the idea of possible rain?) and eat good foods.
Sounds like a winner of a late-30s day.
I’m wishing some wishes lately.
I’m wishing this: that my kids know how much I like their company (even though it seems SO OFTEN like I’m telling them to hurry up or to get to bed or to hustle out to the car).
And this: That I could be better at phone conversations. They are so hurried these days, and I miss the moments (hours) or getting lost in the laughing and crying conversations.
And this: that I could find an appropriate and believable way to tell my 200 sophomores that I LOVE THEM. Because I do. And you hear those sweet stories of OLD people telling about a teacher they had when they were young’uns, and they just knew their teacher loved them. My younger 2 kids feel that way — their teachers from elementary years loved them (most of them, but not all), and they know it and feel it. But I think my high school girl would deny recent teacher love (but I’d totally bet on it) and my college girl would only feel confident naming one or two high school teachers that loved her (when in fact most of them did, and tell me so). Can my students know I love them without it being weird? Every honorable feeling crosses dumb lines these days. Hey, my students’ parents! I’m not weird! I just love your kid! Okay?
Also: that my sophomore darlings would have believed me when I told them I’d have zero tolerance for cheating and plagiarism. *sigh* I found 3 papers with the exact same wording today, and I felt like I was going to cry. But I can be strong and give them the promised Zero on the assignment. And somehow, I want them to remember that I still like them. How do I balance that? (Mystery of Life, I reckon.) (I”ll work on it.)
And: I wish I could have more hours in a day and night. I’m not completely exhausted every afternoon now, but I wish I could hang out more with my husband, because, you know, I kind of like him. And it’s nice to see 10:00 pm without sleeping, but 5:20 comes pretty early in the morning.
And then: On a totally unrelated note, I wish I had a truly gorgeous world map on my living room wall, and a brown and sepia globe on a stand. I’ve always wanted a standing globe, but I’ve never bought myself one. Maybe next year.
Last of All the Game: I should like to give myself writing time again. I have dedicated most hours of the last month to Very Important Things and People, and I want to add writing to that list once more. So let it be written. So let it be done.