Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Write Time to Right

The sun creeps up over the horizon, sending a beautiful orange rippling over the lake. Sitting on the rocker on my wraparound porch, lazy cat by my side, I fire up the MacBook Pro and open a blank word document. A bird sings a merry song to my left. A deer rustles out of the woods to my right and looks me dead in the eye before saluting and diving back, inspiring me toward the days first work of flash fiction. I cut through the dew and the New England October chill with a large cup of Dunkin white hot chocolate. My big boy coffee. Creativity brews like morning java straight through to lunch. Alone I conquer the worlds I create. Alone I thrive.

Yeah, right!

Of course YA Highway's road trip Wednesday asked when I LIKE to write. So with that in mind, I've told the truth. That's how I imagine it. That's how I'd be most productive. The fact of the matter is, this little fantasy is just that. It's impossible. Reality bites.

First off, my house--with no wraparound porch--overlooks a pond, not a lake, and until the dead of winter, my view is completely obscured by trees and pricker bushes. It's nice enough--sure beats the two bedroom apartment in New London--but a New England retirement treasure it is not. Unfortunately, October only lasts thirty-one days, and my cats are indoor only. I can't afford the white hot chocolate daily, and the birds just yelp and shit on my deck furniture. The MacBook Pro was a fantasy, too.

Alas, as a writer struggling to make it with a full time teaching job, which includes advising both the school paper and the yearbook, two young children demanding time, and limited funds, I have to make due. So when do I really write? Ugh.

Summer is the easy answer. I'm unemployed for lack of a better word all summer, so there's ample'd think. But with the children and other facts of life, it sure doesn't seem like it. My routine goes as follows. Wake up. Eat breakfast. Brush teeth. Sit at computer checking facebook, email, Twitter, etc. Send out 1000 emails to my editors at the paper and yearbook. Figure out what's trying to derail that program and stop it. THEN, I set to writing.

My daughter has been going to Girl Scout camp this summer, so only my son is home, but so is my wife, and he's kind of docile until after his nap anyway--the kid loves to sleep--so that is when I go to town. Will it be a blog? Some chapters of novel number three? Revisions of number two? Submitting to agents? Some prose poetry? Flash fiction? Who knows. Whatever happens, happens. Most days I try to take a walk when baby boy naps with his mom, and maybe when I get home I churn something out, the residue of the inspiration I got walking through scenic Niantic, CT. By the time he wakes up at about 2:30, that's it. Inspiration's gone. I'm a dad then until bed time. After their asleep, it's time to work on ideas and lessons for the upcoming school year--which usually turns into working on something for the journalism program.

When it's not summer? Not so good. Basically, there's weekends, but often I have papers to grade and publications to proof, and on and on and on... Writing during the school year is hard. I tend to try and knock my big works out during the summer and revise them bit by bit during the school year. Other than that, a flash piece or two might pop out and a bunch of poetry. But still, that's some writing coming, and a novel every twelve months is quite prolific if I do say so myself.

So, in short, in my perfect world, my life would be that first paragraph. I wanna be that guy. I imagine after lunch in that fantasy world I'd play golf and then spend the evening playing Madden on PS3. But until that day comes--and I'm a big enough romantic to still think it will once I'm a published author and the kids are away at college--I think I'm doing pretty well for myself.


  1. Life is hard, when you don't have a Charlie Card.

    Seriously, though? Having two full time jobs leaves little time for writing. Yes, parenting is a full time job. But you'll find the time, I hope. You'll have to.

  2. Oh, I've been making it happen for two years now while getting my MFA. The time is there. Sanity? That's another story.

  3. You, my friend, are an inspiration. I love how much you value your family and your students. Honestly, I think writing being pretty much my entire existence (literally, between the library and reading, I haven't got much else) can make me seem selfish and narrow-minded at times. Which is why I love literature and blogs from writers like yourself. Places that continue to open my often isolated world.


  4. Aw shucks. The only problem with not having "much else" is that stories come from the world around you. You can only be inspired to write so much from other writing. I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who famously gave a talk at an MFA program and started by saying something along the lines of "What the hell are you all doing here, get out and live." Anyway, thanks for reading the blog, and keep writing...and writing and writing and writing and writing...