Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Refrigerator Poetry Life

by Hannah Roveto

Life gets crazy, yes? There are points in time when every aspect of existence pulls at once, every one and every thing needs attention. The small things fill your time, however, and the big things get put off for a day or two. You push them off, and they pile up, and one day they join forces and you can ignore them no longer.

Girl bicycle gears orthodontist pay thousand lost office reorganize pitch client additional release edit novel bingo excitement file letter state due house overflow costume buy... the sound of need is constant, overlapping, and grows louder and louder.

I want my mind to hear only one thing right now: my WIP. I am so close, so close. I want to be working on it non-stop, yet when I sit, something else calls me. Fifteen minutes here, thirty there is all I can seem to manage despite the fact that writing most rejuvenates me, excites and replenishes me. Leaving it is wrenching, and choosing which of the dozens of needs to address instead of it becomes more difficult. The sheer volume of real demands against my desire to be writing almost paralyzes me. Things fall behind, and yet life plunges forward -- rides, meals, activities, phone calls -- and I teeter at the top of the wave, about to go under.

My sister-in-law's refrigerator provides an answer. Waiting for my children to finish the morning routine for their vacationing cousins' elderly cat and five guinea pigs, I stare at photos in magnetic frames and surrounding them, pieces of refrigerator magnet poetry. Most of the words are in neat lines marching across the surface. At eye level is a pool of space with a few words floating. One is upside down: goals. I search the single words and find achieve. And there, heart. Borrowing only one piece from another thought, I create the following:

Achieve the goals of your heart.

That Gift of Time I wanted to give myself this summer? Gift, shmift. Clearly I'm going to have to steal it. Returning home, I let the kids watch television ("Mom's breaking the rules!") and invoke the Rule Of Two. If you can get two Big Things done and behind you, life is good.

I do one task start-to-finish before launching off in the car. Home again hours later, I do another, and only that. So what if none of the other big demands are addressed? The two most pressing are off my list. Amidst the daily routine and summer hubbub, I am going to knock another two off my list in the next twelve hours. Those four should keep the wolves at bay and tomorrow, I will make the first of my two Big Things my WIP, day after day after day. I can -- and will -- meet my goal, on my self-imposed timeline.

Life gets crazy, plain and simple. Demands press against you, threaten to knock you over. Never fear. The answer comes in focusing on the goals of your heart.


Joanne said...

Hey Hannah, I've had those days, and they're so frustrating. But if writing is first in the day, then I don't resent the other demands as much, and often still write in thought thruout the day. I like the old adage, If Mom's happy, everyone's happy. So keep the WIP first, and everyone's happy!

Lisa Marnell said...


I wrote I was proud of dear Amy yesterday; when I pictured her so poised, speaking her heartfelt thoughts to booksellers, I could have cried. She made it!

Oh, how proud I am of you, too. The novel you have created is SO UNIQUE it gives me shivers. SHIVERS! And reading your prose and about your characters' trials delights me. Your work will delight other readers soon. It's just a mattter of time.

You and I are in such a similar place with our writing journey and your conviction is such an inspiration to me. I, too, will steal the time I need to succeed.

Larramie said...

It's not my imagination, Hannah and Lisa, that in the past months your posts have both changed. You're confident now and you know you can have your dream. So by all means, grab that time!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Too true, Joanne. I was feeling I had borrowed too much time finishing the draft delivered to the Group last month, against my paid work, against little things like orthodonture and a child's new bike with gears, filing business reports with the state, that I had to turn to those next. (Anyone considing an LLC for business reasons, call me first!!!) Then with summer craziness, I started to go under. From here on out, Mom and WIP! Lisa, the same back to you. Your WIP is unbelievable and I am so excited for you. I, too, read Amy's post yesterday with a big smile on my face! I tell people it's been three years to wrap up a draft I'd send to agents, and so many people say, "Wow, so quick?!" And Larramie, thank you. Lynne was saying much the same last week, and I think it is on my part, at least, that I am writing less like a reporter and PR flak and more like a, well, a writer. A great blog of late mentioned how one has to do something for thousands of hours to really acquire a skill. It's not thousands of hours of writing, it's thousands of hours of writing FICTION -- with intent -- for me to see it. There is a difference, isn't there? Thank you for noticing!

Anonymous said...

I feel like I could have written this post myself almost word for word, especially the teetering on the wave some days while longing to be working on my WIP! Substitute girl bike with gears for remembering to get my preschooler out on her training wheels more regularly. :)

The self-imposed deadline is the only thing that works for me. I am happily working with one that is doable this summer, but it will help me to keep this post in the back of my mind if I ever fall off!

Thank you for reminding me that this IS the life of a writer.
This daily dose of sanity (The Writer's Group blog) is always worth far more than the time it takes to read and leave a comment.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Good luck getting your biker out and about! As my two are older, I'd envisioned more self-motivation (them as well as me). Self-motivation, kids and summer?! Ha! As you say, this is it, so we simply need to make it happen one way or t'other! Glad our teeterings help keep you atop the wave, too!

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