When you know your word-nerdly ways have been successfully passed on to the next generation:
Chicken Little, aged 3:
“Mom, I tooted twice. Hey, an alliteration! Tooted twice! (giggle)”
Well, I did it. I wrote a book in nine weeks. I knocked out a 250-page, 65,000 word book in 60-odd days. Sent off to editor-land yesterday.
(Actually, apparently I got a little carried away, because I accidentally wrote 75,000 words. Dammit. Would this not have been a fine opportunity to taste the strange fruit of underachievement?)
Here’s what I learned in the process:
Writing is easy.
Writing is the best job in the whole world.
Writing sucks ass.
Writing is a hateful, evil, miserable affliction. Why didn’t I become an accountant, or an anesthesiologist, or an exotic dancer? Why, why, why?!
Stress brings out my over-dramatic side.
Writing a book in nine weeks will kick your ass six ways from Sunday, but nothing on earth is harder than parenting, which is what I had been doing with the majority of my time prior this project. Therefore, writing is easy.
Thinking—thinking is what is bad. Must stop thinking.
You might believe that for you to pull this off, everything extraneous will have to get out of the way. But life will just keep on coming.
My God, does this truly have to be this hard?
I really like almond butter and honey sandwiches.
There is a dust bunny the size of Texas under my desk.
There are a lot of really, really bad websites out there.
There isn’t much that can’t be cured with a dvd of Entourage, coral-colored toenail polish and vodka.
(However) Drinking and writing is not a good idea. No wonder Hemingway shot himself.
This is a piece of cake! Hell, I could have done this in six weeks!
My kids rock. Instead of resenting that Mommy was irritable and totally out to lunch, they bragged about me on the playground.
Capt. Daddy is a superhero. Of course, we already knew that. That’s why he wears tight shirts and funny shoes with toes.
It is totally possible to write a book in nine weeks, keep the children alive, turn 40, throw yourself a big-ass party, navigate your mother’s cancer diagnosis, talk your husband down from several mid-life crises, launch your eldest into Kindergarten, spend a week in NYC pretending you are a rock star, question the entire structure on which your adult life is based, and, in a strange finale, get locked out of your house by your three-year-old when you are in the hot tub.
But I don’t necessarily recommend it.
Still—once you’ve run the gauntlet, wow, what a rush!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go slip into a coma for several days. Or at least until the school bus comes.
Checker: You girls are so cute!
Chicken Noodle and Chicken Little (preening): Thanks!
Checker: Do you have any other brothers or sisters?
CN: We had a brother.
CL: But he died.
CN: Yeah, he’s dead.
CL: Really, really dead.
CN: Super dead.
Checker: Oh. (begins to shove grocery items very quickly into bags, avoiding eye contact)
When I was young, Halloween was my very favorite holiday. No big surprise for a kid who was always yearning to be anyone but herself. Even if it was a fantasy, this was my one chance a year to be wilder, freer, happier, better.
The last few weeks have been pretty darned real, as was this Halloween night. No rock and roll fantasies this year. I felt exactly like myself.
This meant I wandered around after two gorgeous princesses, drinking a beer straight from the bottle in the middle of street with no shame whatsoever, wearing a fresh pair of Rod Lavers, an oversized witch hat and some cherry chapstick.
With me were some of my very favorite people in the whole world and a pig on a leash. Iron Man was there, too, masked and ready to protect us all. He ran with the frilly girls from house to house and only once asked the Spanish Dancer if maybe she would touch the giant spider first.
There was camaraderie and laughter and love. For at least one brief moment late in the dark and starry evening, the whole world sat centered in the palm of perfection.
Right about then, The Pumpkin Princess climbed on my back, tucked her cheek into the nape of my neck and said, “I love you, Mommy.”
Why would I want to be anyone else?