Tuesday, June 30, 2009

mixing it up

  I slept with my computer last night. I dared not sully the integrity of the marital bed, so I slept in the guest room, indulging in NETFLIX, a couple of New Yorker's, Fran's salt caramels (a favorite with Obama, I hear), and The Secret to Love.

It was an unparalleled chick night, I must admit. Me and the sensory stim. My book, the inspiring prose of others, the conundrums of Paul Weston. All this on the heels of an evening visit to my gym, where I worked out on the eliptical, swam in the saline pool and hot-tubbed my stiff joints.

I must report that I am at last satisfied with my chapter one rewrite of TSTL, and I am channeling that voice throughout the 265 pages I've written. No easy task, but I will stay in the moment of victory a bit longer before the hand slaps the forehead.

Still miss my husband and the kids, but am glorying in the good fortune of solitude.
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Monday, June 29, 2009

no more excuses

Last night I bid my husband farewell for the week, and sent him on his way down the road, where he will spend five days in the woods teaching teachers how to teach ecology.

My young son is with his dad.

My two older kids are busy moving from their respective apartments to new apartments.

In short, except for Opal, my very independent cat, my house is mine and mine alone.

My ambitious goal this week is to finish my damn book. Okay, I shouldn't say damn. But I will, because I'm angry with it. As if its a lover who has betrayed me--even though I'm the one who keeps cheating on it with other projects. It's as if my novel has let itself go, and I've used that as an excuse to keep my distance. "Yeah, well," I say to it, boldly avoiding "I" statements or other forms of psychological diplomacy, "You haven't been pretty enough lately. You've waned from my lust. You just can't compete with the more outgoing, expansive, daring things on my plate. It's all your fault."

Ah, but.

If only.

Yeah, right.

The truth is--and I'm reminded of this every Thursday when I sit at the table with my more dedicated colleagues--I'm the one who is straying. Call it lack of confidence. Accuse me of lack of ambition. Turn the finger of blame to me, and me alone, for I'm the one who engaged in benign neglect, who allowed TSTL to lapse off of the queue of "recent documents."

Oh sure, there's work and obligation etc, etc, etc... BUT, I am now feeding Carson's pet snakes before writing. I am sorting boxes of rubbish before writing. I'm obsessing over a slightly odd sound in my transmission and thinking about repainting my perfectly serviceable living room. Not to mention that the flat, red NetFlix envelopes filled with "In Treatment" episodes stare at me each time I pass the inbox.


I shall report daily on my actions to correct my bad behavior. I only hope my novel will have me back.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

summertime schedule

The solstice arrived Saturday in its typical Pacific Northwest fashion. Cold, rainy and gray. But the dreariness didn't eclipse the spirit that gets unleashed every June 20th--a feeling of amorphous boundaries, day bleeding into night in long, subtle strokes.

Like most Geminis, I love summer. The month of my birth heralds mercurial sprites, new ideas, life-changing conversations in the Jacuzzi. Since I married a fellow Gemini, that particular energy has quadrupled around our house--putting the active 10-yr-old to shame almost. Oh, you should see us frolic in the garden at 10 p.m.--gathering ripe berries and weed-whacking the tall grass and watering the basil while we plan the next great escape, remodel or potluck.

Work gets done, too. In jaggedy fits and starts, stuttering to an end by midnight, my laptop blinking low-battery caution as I've unplugged it to free myself from the typical sit-down workstation drudgery.

It's all so lovingly chaotic, life in the summertime. And The Secret to Love looms ever more clearly in my head, notes on scraps of paper, tidbits of dialog. Ah--but to sit in my seat for hours to get it all out in a cohesive chunk--there in lies the rub!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

let's talk about amazing

My little girl, the amazing Maggie Vitello, future social worker and crusader and advocate for girls, women and the deaf community, has just graduated from college and is set to enter grad school in September.

On Thursday she was identified from a field of over one thousand graduates and awarded one of seven commendations for her outstanding service, scholarship and dedication. Though she laps me in so many ways, the one comment that touched her most was when the presenter of the award mentioned her strong writing skills.

Like many bright young people who later go on to make writing a definitive part of their lives, Maggie always thought of herself as a "struggling writer." She would never share a draft of anything she wrote until she'd gone over it seventeen times and had others edit it. Even then, she would rather read it aloud than have me read it to myself.

The last major piece of writing she shared with me was the essay she wrote for her grad school application. I was blown away. At 20, my daughter knows how to effectively communicate her passion, tenacity and hope with spirit and grace.

At the risk of appearing to be much too much of a doting mother--I am deeply in awe of my little girl, and I can't wait to see what she does next.