I know of a number of writers who have managed to build successful careers between wiping noses, bandaging skinned knees and doing all the other things that the raising of small children entails. I’m very impressed by this because the slightest interruption breaks my concentration and children are rarely quiet. It’s no longer an issue for me. Our children are grown and the nest is empty. Our house should be a peaceful haven; a writer’s dream. Part of the time, it is.
I love my husband. He’s an awesome guy. We’ve been married a long time and I’m lucky to have him, but he’s incapable of being quiet. He spends three days a week working in Northern Arizona and I can usually get quite a bit written on those days. The rest of the week is a challenge.
With the versatility of a laptop, you would think I could manage my surroundings without too much difficulty. My muse is a late riser so I don’t begin writing until about 10am. My husband normally has the television on downstairs so I climb the steps to our loft/office with the aspirations of getting at least five or six pages finished. And I do get a little done. It’s usually at least an hour before I hear a creak in the steps and the words, “I’m just going to check my email.”
He settles in his chair but I don’t start typing because I know what’s coming next. Within a few minutes, he’s laughing. I want to know what’s so funny, but refuse to ask because I’m determined not to let him distract me. And most of what he and his friends think is funny, I think belongs on the boy’s room wall at the local high school. I don’t say a word and try my best to concentrate on my novel. Then the swearing and mumbling begins. That means he’s reading an email that has to do with politics or the state of the economy. When he starts alternating swearing and mumbling with laughing out loud, I accept that it’s time to leave my post and go downstairs.
He doesn’t know how to turn off a teIevision so I click off The Military Channel in the family room. I still hear guns firing and soldiers shouting. No big surprise. He’s playing Soldier of Fortune on his computer. Irritated, I stand at the foot of the steps and yell, “Can’t you turn that down?”
He obliges and the house is relatively quiet. I eat a quick bite of lunch and get a little more writing done. Eventually hunger gets the better of him. He comes downstairs and announces that he’s going to make a BLT sandwich. Then there’s the inevitable, “Do we have any more lettuce? Is the mayo in the other refrigerator?” I rarely answer him. It would only encourage further conversation. The television is turned back on and the Military Channel gets changed to Cops. Once again, I trudge upstairs with my laptop, but the image of a New Orleans’ cop putting handcuffs on a shirtless, beer-bellied drunk is tough to erase. “What ‘cha gonna do when they come for you,” runs through my head as I sit down at my desk. All creativity has left me. My muse has wandered off. I’m pretty sure she’s downstairs watching Cops.