Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Room of One's Own

It has been a rough 12 hours...we attempted our first camping trip with some friends from church and things did not end well (thunderstorm, insomnia, vomit in the tent). We high-tailed it out of there at around 5 this morning when Emma started puking up s'mores all over a sleeping Charlie. Amazingly, Charlie slept through everything and would probably still be snoozing away in the stinky tent if not for the fact that we peeled his clothes off of him and stuck him in the car seat in the pre-dawn darkness of the Virginia woods. Brandon and I probably slept a collective two hours last night. Actually I think I slept two hours and Brandon slept zero hours. We made it home, took showers, and were all tucked back in our glorious big-kid beds by 6:15. I have never been so happy to see my rented townhouse. It has never felt so much like home with its clean sheets, showers and laundry so readily available. Here are the other things I am thankful for at the moment:
1) Emma has not puked again and does not seem like she's going to. Also her fever seems to be gone. In addition, she is a very cute sick person.
2) Our new tent does not leak.
3) The kids went back to sleep after we got home, so we managed to carve out another three hours of sleep, bringing my nightly total to a decent five hours, about as much as I was hoping for on a campout.
4) I am currently in the process of making pancakes for breakfast.
5) I have a new "room" to write in and a new plan for getting my writing done this summer.

As part of my mother's day/birthday present I asked to do an “Extreme Makeover: Balcony Edition" on our tiny deck off the kitchen/playroom. Hence the trip to Ikea for the patio furniture. I also bought these metal tubs at Ikea so that I could fill them with plants like this article suggests doing. I hadn't gotten around to planting anything until this week because I didn't want to plant stuff right before going out of town for ten days. So, I planted everything on Friday and now I have this outdoor room to call my own. According to Virginia Woolf, there are three things a woman needs in order to write: a room of one's own, money, and I forget the other one....I think it's antidepressants maybe? Virginia Woolf was not a mom. There is probably a much, much longer list of things a mom who wants to write needs, like self-cleaning toilets, children who nap on cue, an understanding and supportive husband, and maybe an open line of credit at Anthroplogie. (Not sure how that last one relates to writing...I just really like that store, so as long as we're making imaginary lists I thought I'd include it.) Most importantly though, a writing mom needs a room of her own, or at least this writing mom does. So now I have my little balcony filled with pretty flowers and cute patio furniture. It helps me slip away from the realities of puke-covered sleeping bags and the sounds of Charlie's construction vehicles, which make one think that a parking garage is being built in our playroom.

My plan is to use my room to write at least three pages a day on my novel every day this summer. I figure if I do that for three months, then I will have roughly three hundred pages of something resembling a novel by the time the baby comes (at which point I won't even have an arm or a breast to call my own). My new "room" is hopefully going to make it appealing to get up before the kids, have my cup of half-caff and do my work outside in the morning, when my brain seems to be running on most of its cylinders. I'm sure some days I won't make it out of bed, so my back-up plan is to take the kids to the Y where I have up to two hours of free babysitting I can use to workout and then type. OR we can go to this new place that was sent straight from heaven to our suburb called At Play Cafe. Basically At Play Cafe is this genius combination of Starbucks and Gymboree. Parents can drink coffee and work on one side of a half-wall while their children play blissfully on the other side. There are child care people supervising the kids so you can do work or you could always make all the other working parents look bad and venture over the half-wall to play with your child/children. I'm not paying $14 bucks to play with my kids I can generally be found on the cafe side of the half-wall. If all of these plans don't work, then I'm going to make myself write after the kids go to bed, but this is not my best time of day. I can barely focus on a TV show at this point in the day, so I'm hoping to avoid the post-bedtime writing session.

So there are my big plans. I'm putting them out in cyberspace so that I will have to be somewhat accountable. Please help me stay on task. I promise to give updates of how the novel’s coming as I make progress. I am so grateful for the support I get from all my friends and family scattered everywhere and from the people I don’t even know who sneak a peek at my little life now and then. I don’t know what I would do without you all. I think that's one more thing a writing mom needs--a blog to know she's not alone.


Laura Turzynski said...

I love reading your blog! It makes me feel much more normal in my struggle to write/balance life (even though I don't have the challenge of writing around child-rearing.) Keep on keepin' on, and I'll make sure I do the same!

Robin said...

Sorry about the camping trip, love the new room, and definitely know you're not alone!

You go, girl!


Suzanne said...

I feel your camping pain! Our version was a too-hot-to-sleep late September night last fall when Elise threw up on everything including Grace. Hope you had some fun before things went crazy.

I love the outdoor room.

Phillips Family said...

I am SOOO Jealous of At-Play cafe...seriously, that is the best idea ever!

Also, a never-ending line of credit at Anthropologie would really help my writing as well...

mdm said...

I think you're on the right track. Read somewhere that Faulkner's and Twain's careers were quagmired in writing ad copy for broadsides before they discovered Ikea. And then? History speaks for itself.

Robin said...

Can't wait for the novel update!! And love the outdoor room.