"Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work." -Rita Mae Brown, "Starting from Scratch"
It’s Sunday, and my son, who is entering the army, called the night before to inform us. He wonders, “if it’s not too much trouble”, if I could host a family dinner so he can say goodbye to everyone before he leaves for training.
Of course I will, I replied, even though I am hopelessly behind in my co-authored manuscript and my fellow author, Carol, has been waiting on my additions for days. I had been busy all week with my other two sons, along with other obligations I had foolishly made. But this was important; even more important than the other important things that had to get done.
So I fired off a quick email Sunday morning early apologizing for the third time to Carol and started my non-stop day. Between making numerous phone calls, shopping for the meal ingredients, running to the Farmer’s Market for farm eggs, rushing to the garden to pick the beans and dig up potatoes for the dinner, throwing laundry in the basement to get it out of the living room, (I still haven’t run it through the washer), putting the ribs and the roast beef on to slow bake so they were ready for the barbeque, wiping up dog pee because I forgot to put the poor thing outside to do her business, and then running my badly overdue books to the library, I doubt I remembered to even breathe.
Finally, I was able to sit down. As I gathered my wits and sipped a coffee, I stared at my neglected laptop mournfully. “I have missed you, my darling,” I murmured as I stroked her shiny lid.
Then I glanced at the clock. I had a spare fifteen minutes. Did I dare? Could I get 300 words typed down before everyone started to show up? Was it worth it to start only to have to stop in so short a time?
Without hesitation, I opened up her lid, fired her up, brought up the manuscript draft and started to type. The words flowed…too well. I couldn’t stop. I was like an addict who was only trying to inject a half a shot of heroin. It can’t be done. It felt so good. It felt like someone was gently rubbing your back when your muscles are tense and sore. (I had another description, but this is a general rated article).
Too soon, I heard the first car pull up. I quickly typed the rest of the sentence, closed the lid reluctantly, and pasted an eager smile on my face.
When did this happen? When did the writing become more enjoyable than seeing my family for an evening? Perhaps that’s unfair. It’s not more enjoyable, just a different type of enjoyment, one I have put off for years and ignored because my family came first, like almost every woman, wife and mother in existence. Now that they are grown, and my last son, who is physically disabled, is finally housed where he is safe and happy, I can realize my dream, my aspiration, and my obsession of writing.
The reunion was wonderful. It is so seldom recently that all the brothers, my sons, were in the same room together, along with their Gramma, my son's common-law wife and the sweetest person you could ever meet, and my other son's girlfriend. My husband held court on the couch, as he usually does, quiet but happy to have his prodigy around him, a silent pride that men feel about a life fulfilled. How I envy him. I too have pride, but it’s a restless pride, a sensation of aspirations still unfulfilled. But that evening, I felt no regret. Looking at those beautiful boys, men now, milling about and talking about motors, cars, and whose vehicles would blow the doors off whose. My son went out to fix the defunct tow gear because his father happened to mention it didn’t work and despite the fact this son was leaving in three days to join the army. I told him to forget it, but he waved my objections aside. Soon his and his father’s heads were together intently working under the dash of the truck. I realized this was their way of bonding and enjoying their time together. I remained silent after that.
When everyone left, I stared at the plates and cutlery piled on the table, the drink glasses and pop cans scattered about the rooms, and for the first time, I smiled and sat down, opened my laptop and just wrote. The glasses stayed where they were, the dishes weren’t disturbed, and I didn’t even fret about the forgotten jacket one of my boys left behind. I was in a haze of contentment, a joy of temporary fulfillment, and I wrote my thoughts down in this article.
If you are a writer, you write. It doesn’t really matter what you write, why you write, or how you write, as long as you write.