Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Where's My Clone?

Okay, so, where's my clone? I ordered her months ago in hopes another me would help ease the stress of managing writing and family. Unfortunately, she's on back order, the to-dos keep piling up and up and up, and my uninterrupted butt in chair time keeps shrinking.

Looking back on Vermont College, I truly don't know how I managed to produce as much as I did for my advisers. Each monthly packet required 20 pages of new creative and 20 pages of revised material, plus two critical essays on some aspect of the craft of writing. How did I manage such a rigorous schedule while wearing my mom hat?

Granted, I was paying for the privilege, and permission (leveraged by the almighty dollar) is a powerful motivator. But so what. I graduated VC on a roll. I knew without reservation that in addition to being a mom, I am a writer.

These days, all things writer-ly should be equal, if not better than they were after graduation. Both girls are in school. And E started a new asthma medicine not too long ago that's been like the Holy Grail, greatly reducing the number of sick days. I should be pounding out the prose. So, why does it feel like I'm writing less?

I have a theory.

During my VC days, the balls I was juggling were predictable. E was sick often. Sometimes weeks at a time. We were constantly in what I call bunker mode--hunkered down for the long haul, but somehow, in between holding barf buckets and keeping track of meds, I wrote.

These days, the only constant is E's health. She's missing school less (ie fewer ear and sinus infections thanks to the Holy Grail), which should lend itself to more writing. But the opposite is happening.

As I write this entry, I'm beginning to realize why. E's run of "good health" is being offset by a significant increase in required therapies, testing, and doctor's visits.

Since early January E's had serial casting weekly to stretch the muscles in her bad leg, Botox therapy to stretch it further when casting no longer helped, and physical therapy weekly to work those muscles. Follow-ups continue with the doctor who ordered the casting and Botox, and with the neurologist--another doctor--on issues we can't ignore. And now the latest: we need a work up with a hematologist because numbers are off. We visit the clinic at Children's in a couple of weeks.

None of these issues are trivial. Not only do they require immediate attention, they trump any writing time I might have thought I had.

Hmmm. No wonder I need my clone.


Amy Timberlake said...

Hey Kim -- Do you use a laptop? Maybe you do, but that was the first question I had -- it seems clear that you don't have much time and doctors' offices would surely eat A LOT up. But there may be moments you could write in a doctors' office . . . I don't know. It would depend on you using a laptop or a Moleskin. Or something like it. It sounds like a TOUGH situation though. Don't be too hard on yourself!

Kim Winters said...

Hi Amy,

You're right. I shouldn't be too hard on myself. I guess today was one of those days. My muse was eager to work for longer than the few minutes I could spare, and got all grumpy when I denied her.

I have a laptop, a new mini 9 from Dell. It's light and portable, but firing it up in the waiting room doesn't always make sense because I often need both hands when assisting my daughter.

More often than not, I go low tech, carrying around a stack of notecards so I can jot down notes during quiet moments. This helps immensely because the cards I generate become like mini placeholders, saving snippets of conversation, and ideas re setting and plot and whatnot until I can sit butt in chair.

What's happening, I suspect, is that I'm in a place where I'm really excited about my story. I mean REALLY excited.

I know. I know. I need to be patient. Eventually, my schedule will free up. It always does.

So where does this leave me? Hanging my head and scuffing the ground and remembering my own advice.

Even in this, I need to honor the process.