I made an off-the-wall remark to a friend that it must be easier to be a writer if you are (a) male and (b) single. I didn’t intend to be cynical, just stating a truth. She couldn’t see my point so I had to explain my average day.
I’m generally up early. Not as early as my brother who gets up at 5.45 every morning so he can get some house-jobs done before he goes to work, but I prefer to write first thing, before anything can interrupt my thoughts, and I head straight to my office/library/private space as soon as I get up with a cup of tea in hand. However my grandsons (age 2 and 4) get up at 5 most mornings so it isn’t unusual for my daughter to turn up extremely fraught and in need of support even before my husband gets up for work at 8. And because we have our own small business, or rather he has his own small business and I do the nuts and bolts running of it (accounts, paper-work, etc) sometimes I’m needed and sometimes I can spend my whole day writing. Bliss. Except things very rarely run to plan.
If, and it’s rare these days, I manage to reach mid-day without some crisis wanting attention, I stop writing to have lunch with my husband. Funny how we adapt to life as our parents knew it, his father always came home for lunch and he follows the same routine. Which can be very frustrating! Not that he expects me to get lunch organised but it’s the stopping mid-flow or feeling guilty if I don’t join him. Guilt, that’s a whole other essay.
Afternoons are tricky. My daughter is expecting (currently overdue by 3 days) a third baby but she’s still working (local youth leader with umpteen projects on the go) and so the grandsons come to me after nursery. The boys have the run of the garden and I make their tea and occupy them until their daddy collects them on his way home from work. I have a very, big garden which they love to explore but if it’s cold or raining they like to watch a film, play games or make things. I once tried to dive back to my notebook when I thought they were engrossed but learned the hard way – it’s surprising how far toddlers can wander in five minutes. And when I asked (calmly) why didn’t you answer gran when she called, their enthusiastic reply – we were being invisible. Silly gran.
Intersecting my ‘spare’ time are many other commitments, both regular and fleeting. Things might need sorted for my son, a figure skater who currently trains in Florida. He and his partner competed in the Vancouver Winter Olympics (Pairs Skating) and are hoping to qualify for Sochi next year. There was a fascinating article about him in the local newspaper this week, which has left us all rather puzzled. Journalists can be very loose with their facts. Anyway my daughter was slightly miffed because it coincided with a beautiful full-colour article about her up-coming summer music and youth festival. My oldest grandson also featured in a separate article because his nursery won a prize at the carnival and he was elected to hold the trophy – he looks extremely proud because he thought it just like the ‘Piston Cup’ in Cars.
It’s very encouraging to think my children are newsworthy but I’d really like to be finding personal success for my literary efforts. No! I’m not jealous of their achievements, just wishing I could be as single-minded. My husband asked why it’s taking so long to write one book – in all honesty I wanted to write since leaving school which is a very long time indeed – when some writers churn out one novel a year! And it’s my fault – I just like to believe I can do everything.