Monday, September 28, 2009

Something and Nothing

Something I Doodled
Pitt Artist Pen, Pen, paper

Day 5 of 100 in 100 Creative Challenge: Writing til the End of 2009
4 hours 39 minutes. page 10, mostly new writing. A little revision.

I am still behind on my writing hours. But that's okay. Remember, in order to build up to a habit, one has to start slowly. One has to expect relapses. One has to allow oneself to be imperfect to get those muscles going.

I have this new idea that maybe I should write for one and a half hours every day, as it doesn't look like I will be able to write every last single day. So to make up for the days I miss, I could tack on another half hour of writing time.

I forget to check with my bosses if that was okay with them.

Apparently, after I hit one hour thirteen minutes writing time this morning (including breaks for snacks, hugs, diapers, etc) boss number one decided I'd had enough writing time and it was time to pay attention to her.

Commence whining. Crying. Yelling. Cries of "kiss my boo boo! kiss my boo boo" when there was no boo boo in sight.

The boy enjoys his adventures in the garden, and his tv shows, and his imaginative games of superhero or dinosaur or robot, and his planning of aquariums or building playgrounds or hosting parties and plays well by himself... but the girl, she wants mama. She will not be satisfied by running around making jet sounds in my general vicinity.

Tensions rise when two different characters have different desires and goals. This is true for fiction and this is true for mommying. I'm okay as long as every body is doing what I want them to do and it doesn't interfere with what I want to do. If I have no particular goals for the next few minutes, there's no tension, but if my goal is to write for ten more minutes and the girl's goal is for me to stop writing RIGHT NOW and give her attention even if she doesn't have anything in particular that she wants from me... well, her screaming gets louder, and so does mine.

In the end, I said, okay. I will stop writing. But I also told her that I needed a break, because now the tension was so high in my head I needed a time out. (note to self. When writing tense scenes in my novel, do not stop the action to mull over the beauty of, say, the sky, or ponder over the things that led to this point. Stay with it. Tension in a mommy is bad. Tension in a novel is good.)

Interestingly, I decided to practice some nothingness, an idea that is floating around blogland because of Jamie Ridler's Joy Diet bookclub. I don't have the book yet, but I thought I'd practice a few minutes of nothing, despite feeling that a triple shift, no help stay at home mom doesn't really get the opportunity to do nothing without being on duty. I went out onto the front porch, with the girl wailing about how much she misses mommy (I roll my eyes) and sat down with my coffee to look at the lizards dancing and the hear the squirrels chittering and feel the breeze as it rustled the live oak branches. It was nice out there. Cool and shady, and the cries from behind the screen door faded away, for the most part, with but a screech here and there to remind me they were still kicking.

So, ten or so minutes later, calm and free of tension from that simple ten minutes of not having to DO anything, I cam back inside gave the kids some hugs or water or whatever little thing they wanted. I checked my email. I made some lunch. I prepped dinner. I put a girl to nap. I gave the boy a snack. I took a photo and now I am blogging.

In the end, I decided nothing is good. Pushing for something all the time isn't necessary. Maybe I'll try more nothing tomorrow and get more somethings done as a consequence.


Lisa said...

You are such an inspiration. I can hear my kids screaming in the background as I type this. I smile because I feel for you ... and because I am comforted knowing there's another stay-at-home mommy / artist who can balance both.

Some advice I read that helps me often: It is often our expectations that create our tension. We expect to get something done (writing, painting, the dishes, ...) and when our expectations aren't met (i.e. kiddos step in), we get frustrated. Learning to let go of expectations & be with what is is such a freeing experience. (Until the next fight over the purple cup when I forget the advice all over again.) :)

Querulous Squirrel said...

I'm up to 8 stories in 6 days thanks to you, expecting being unable to write later in the week and the quality not up to usual standards but pushing myself to be productive rather than simply waiting for inspiration is a new feeling for me, like it requires digging deeper and going places I might not have gone before. I think it would be harder to do a certain amount of time per day rather than a certain number of stories, drawings or pages, which are more concrete.

Genie Sea said...

Nothing is like a super-vitamin shot. And it works miracles especially with demands of little bosses! :)

Shannon said...

thanks so much for sharing this. YES...I, too, try fitting in my creative work around my 20-month-old boys schedule. this morning i thought i'd give doing yoga a try while he played in his box fort. surprisingly he let me have a whole ten minutes! it was great, though. and his two hour nap gave me some much needed computer time.

in the end, though, these these little kiddos are our yoga. they offer us the greatest opportunity for creativity and spiritual growth. what great gifts and teachers they are! i like the idea of doing "nothing." i think that's living in the present moment. the more i practice that - the freer and happier i feel.

great to meet you!

Bee said...

yes, nothing is good.

aquamaureen said...

"nothing" is only nothing to the outside world, the world that lives by its endless lists and is more focused on Doing rather than Being. To those of us claiming our artistic/creative identities, "nothing" is more like everything. [this is all said by someone whose ToDo list is so long I can't number it, yet I spent the morning writing/painting/praying/sitting out in the wind. And I feel peaceful as a result]

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