It’s Saturday morning, as I write this, and I’m sitting at my desk, watching the world go by. Which is to say, a whole lot of bird traffic at the feeders — grackle and red-winged blackbird families, the lovely red-topped house-finches quarreling with garrulous sparrows. Every now and then, a hummingbird whizzes by and pauses, ever-so-briefly, for a sip at their feeder. This is why I don’t sit here to write fiction, there’s far too much distraction.
Speaking of fiction…
Work came to a bit of a pause this week, after getting off to a rollicking start on my current project. What started as a quick overhaul of my novella, Skelly, has turned into what will be an almost complete re-write. The story will be essentially the same, but deeper and more involved. Truth be told, I was never completely happy with it…but I was feeling harried by expectation (of the indie publishing world) and rushed it out…along with the others. It was good, but it’s going to be better.
In this particular season of my days, writing, although much-beloved, must fit into the spaces-between, rather than be my entire focus.
Home, you see, is where my time and energy must be.
A combination of things — energy, hormones, tasks-needing-attention and most importantly, a Wobble for deer-girl — pulled me away from my words towards the end of the week and while at one point I would’ve thrown hands and despaired over the unfairness of it all (so cringe-y and precious of me, I see that now), I simply closed my laptop and my notebooks and set it aside.
I’ll get back to it when I can.
I suppose its dreadfully old-fashioned of me, and, some may argue (although, dangerously, I believe*), anti-feminist, but I’m truly most content when I’m tending home and hearth.
Even my writing — the quest to earn a bit of a living from it — is geared towards allowing me to spend more time at home, doing exactly those things.
In that ever-popular, motivational, live-your-dream-life exercise that asks you to imagine your “ideal day” — mine is heavily populated with domestic things, with a couple of hours of writing tucked blissfully into a convenient place…probably somewhere between pegging out a load of washing and going to pick some lettuce for a dinner of salad.
It’s why I love reading, and writing, stories that are full of domestic details — the making of tea, the baking of cakes, the tending to chickens and ducks and vegetable patches. It’s why I love reading blogs about people living quiet, unadorned, non-glossy, everyday lives. It’s pure swoon-fodder.
(I just finished The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher** and it was true, clutch-to-my-bosom-and-sigh, delight. This was my second reading of it — prompted by our summer book club at Wisteria and Sunshine — and I’m so glad I revisited it)
I wasn’t always this way, but at the same time I was. In my teens, I was certain I would never, ever get married and have children (the horror!) but I was always drawn to the idea of living a quiet life in the country, with chickens and vegetables and books. I feel so incredibly fortunate for having realized many of those childhood dreams — far beyond my expectations, in some ways.
And that’s really the crux of things for me these days — gratitude and contentment — recognizing and cultivating both…and not trying to rush madly off in all directions to the Next Thing.
Because I Wobble easily . I had one this week, an minor tremor really — where I was getting my priorities all muddled up….trying to move myself at a pace faster than is either sustainable or desirable. I got caught up in the numbers — word-count, deadlines, proposed publishing timelines — and while that’s all very exciting in its own way, it also left me feeling a lot like poo.
Then Life popped up and reminded me where my heart lives.
And it’s been gloriously productive and fulfilling in its own way. I started back to work on my decluttering tasks and did some long overdue tidying around the garage. I read, I re-potted my jade plants and watched the last few episodes of The Gilmore Girls with deer-girl (SO good and happy-making). Then, when deer-girl was feeling a bit better, I took both kids out to celebrate the end of her summer school courses. I also spent a lot of time staring out of the window, thinking thinky-thoughts.
It was simple and quiet and moment-by-moment living.
And I slowly started to feel less like poo.
The pendulum had swung too far, I think. I need a steady infusion of domesticity to ground me — home and family comes first - and it always has, I just didn’t realize how absolutely necessary it was to my creative health, as well as my mental and emotional health. The clues were always there, I suppose - my preferences in books and films and television; my fascination with times-past and analogue things - but I’m only just now understanding how it all fits in to the warp and weft of my days.
Because it’s very much a tapestry — this balance of online and analogue life. If I’m to pursue my publishing goals — and I very much intend to do so — then opting out of the digital world isn’t an option, as attractive as it often is! I need to sort out a pattern that works for me — that takes into account my need for time to tend to my domestic heart, as well as the demands of my paid, away-from-home work, so that all of the threads weave together happily.
And that’s where I find myself, this gloomy, humid morning in late July…waiting for the washing machine to finish so that I can hang up a load of laundry before venturing out to hack down the burdock that’s threatening to take over the world. It’s the perfect sort of activity that lets my mind drift between working out plot details and what I’m going to make for supper that we’ll all eat and won’t involve having to turn on the oven. All good things then.
And you? Where does this day find you? Hopefully with companions of wonder and delight…and tea**,* of course. ;)
ps. If you’re like me, and in a seemingly constant struggle with the online world, have a read of this post of Lesley’s ….it felt a bit like coming home itself.
*I’m a firm believer in the tenet that “feminism is freedom” — which I take to mean the freedom to do, choose, be anything and everything one’s heart feels genuinely called to. No explanations or justifications required.
** I’m encouraged by the fact that R.P. didn’t start writing The Shell Seekers until she was 60 years old, finishing it when she was 62. :)
*** or whatever your preferred comfort-and-joy beverage equivalent :)