Most people are under the assumption that writers wake up to find a pen tucked behind their ear (again), and say to themselves, “Today is the day I will become a writer.”
The image is blissful as the writer carries his antique typewriter down to the dock where a strategically placed writing desk is placed to overlook the pond.
As he clicks away he dives deeper into euphoria as the story pours out of him and onto the page.
When he writes another thousand words over his projected daily word count, he says to himself, “I’m so glad I decided to be a writer.”
My story is a little more unsightly.
Instead of waking up with a pen behind my ear, I had forgotten bobby pins threatening my general well being.
Instead of a pond, I filled the bathtub (complete with rubber ducky for the full effect) and sat on the desk (read: questionable wicker hamper).
And the only thing pouring out of me?
Lots and lots of ugly tears. You know the kind that make your face crinkle in grotesque Phantom of the Opera type form.
I sat in my husband’s office bawling my eyes out, not because I was sad or felt forced to write.
I was crying because I couldn’t imagine not writing.
And he said to me the two most beautiful words in the English language. They were the type of words that Shakespeare would’ve face palmed himself for not thinking of first. The type of words romances were built on. That cities were founded on. That made dogs and cats sleep together…
Cut to four years later…
Baby naps in the car seat, only six weeks old, squishy and fragile. The doctor asks me to step on the scale. My palms are clammy, my blood racing. I haven’t looked in a mirror, I can’t. I raise my foot, but it feels like a cement block is tied to my ankle. Finally I make it onto the cold, judging machine. And in an instant I’m back there again. There’s the number I’ve been dreading. The number that hauls in all the past shame, the past disgust, the past heartache. I bring my hand to my forehead, my arm jiggling, my muscles weak. I can’t be back here. I can’t. The baby sighs in his sleep.
The rest of the appointment is a blur. The doctor’s words, muffled. But that baby…that baby is crystal clear. Twenty minutes later we are at home. Dad wraps baby into a hug and whisks him off while I tuck into my office, pulling out pen and paper. As soon as I hear the click of the pen, my shoulders falls away from my ears. The second my pen hits the paper, my body exhales.
And there, in the center of crushing memories and present disappointment, I write.
One Year Later…
With my 5am workout done, I sit down to write my young adult novel, waiting for my husband (to refill my coffee already, hint hint), when the cat wheels the baby in and tells me they want to have their own talk show.
I lean back in my chair to look out of the office and yell to Kurt (who’s taking his sweet damn time with the coffee by the way), “Did you know about this?”
“Huh?” he says, poking his head in. I nod to the baby who’s cackling as he tries to catch the cat’s tail and the cat himself who has commenced cleaning his—nevermind. “Yeah,” Kurt says, “They told me yesterday after getting back from jet skiing.”
“Typical,” I say, returning to my MacBook. “It’s a good thing you guys are so cute.”