I'm most recently a writer. In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot. As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades. An unwilling transplant from the South, twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US. Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect. When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do. Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Driven to Distraction
We've all been there, that place that fractures our focus and foils our efforts. As surely as a goal is set or a deadline looms, the universe conspires to thwart our best-laid plans. Some of us have a gift for tuning out, others have the option of privacy, but for most of us, distractions just plain distract us.
This weekend is a perfect case in point. My husband sings with a wonderful choral group in a town about an hour south of our home. Once a week during the school year, I enjoy a little getaway for browsing or even shopping, or just sitting somewhere reading for the two hours he rehearses. For the three or four weekend concerts each year, we treat ourselves to a hotel getaway from home renovations, geriatric dogs and the general demands of our everyday lives. I always anticipate putting in some quality writing time, and this weekend should have been no exception. Should have been, she said.
First of all, I was tired, sleep deprived even, so sitting in a warm car with my laptop on Saturday morning was merely an invitation to nap. Bleary-eyed and cotton-mouthed, I stared at the steady stream of typos and weird phrasing until at last I gave up and stumbled into the mall in search of caffeine. Hours lost, failure acknowledged.
After lunch and check in, I left John watching basketball and sought the sweet solitude of the hotel's business center. I've really rocked out some pages in that cubicle in the past, and I was looking forward to more of the same. Right. The temperature was close to that of the average hospital surgical ward. My muscles contracting and my joints aching, I gave up after an hour, when the chattering of my teeth drowned out the words in my head.
I next tried the lobby, where it was at least warmer and a hot cup of coffee jolted me awake. There, however, I found another annoying element. Too much light. Do you know how distracting it can be when the screen of your computer sends back a glaring reflection of your pathetically exhausted face, resplendent with every wrinkle and sagging jowl magnified to horrifying clarity? I cannot write about beautiful young people making love with their eyes when my eyes are constantly going to a cavernous line in my upper lip I've never noticed before!
After dinner, I did finally put in a productive two hours. It felt good to at least get that much done, but the other six hours I'd hoped for are gone forever. Maybe the words weren't really there to begin with. Maybe later they'll come with the ease and speed I expected yesterday. Or maybe, as I'm beginning to accept, this book is not only different in subject but a different writing experience altogether. Either way, Shannon's Daughter has reached roughly 47,000 hard-fought words and I'll go home tonight determined to keep up the fight. Maybe after two hours of the gloriously romantic music of Lerner and Loewe, a trip to Camelot and My Fair Lady's London, I'll be inspired to new heights. And maybe, with a little bit of luck, I'll get some sleep and give myself a facial. Heaven knows I need both!