The Writing Process

Interrupting Ducks

“Whatever you do, don’t bother Mom while she’s writing,” cautioned Ken as he zipped out to the garage.

Which is why Katie only asked for a little help with her candy-making stand. She needed marshmallows. And caramels. And Rice Krispies. And chocolate molds. And wax paper.

“Mom is writing, so just let her be,” reminded Ken as he opened his computer.

Which is why Lizzie only needed me to photograph three of the costumes that she put on her stuffed pig.

And why Henry crawled into my lap and fell asleep.

Our kids drive me batty sometimes. They do not understand the sanctity of my work time.


Then again, they are the inspiration for my work. Their shenanigans fuel my stories; their silliness softens my heart. Because of them, I get to say all manner of things I have never said before.

     No, Lizzie, it is not ‘illegal’ to kick a volleyball.

     No, Henry, you cannot bring three owls and a puppy into church.

     No, Katie, I will not eat that spider for a dollar.

     Yes, Lizzie, I would love to see your pig’s new talent show.

     Girls, stop fighting over that cucumber.

     Lizzie, even if Katie said she would pay you a dollar, please do not shoot that arrow at your father’s butt.

     No, thank you, Katie. I do not want a chocolate-covered hard-boiled egg.

I sometimes envy my writer friends who have offices, computer desks, and uninterrupted hours in which to create.

When I really need to do serious writing, I drive to the grocery store. They have a couple tables near the check out. It is quieter there. Plus, afterwards, I can buy milk.

But mostly, I prefer to write past bedtime. I tuck myself here in the alcove, just me and the spiders, and maybe a cup of tea.  I type through the shadows, thankful, always so very thankful, that the kids’ stories light up the dark.





The Writing Process

Sometimes I Daydream about Hemingway

He skulks around my desk, ribbing me about how all the really great authors used typewriters, hurrying me so we can get down to the bar. All the great thinking, he tells me, takes place in a bar. Or a café. Or sometimes alone. But not like this. Not like whatever you have going on in this jumbled alcove here – the stuffed animals, the extension cords, the cap-less glue stick. He doesn’t like my adjectives. Or most of my nouns either. Did you go to school for this? he asks. I shake my head. Did you? He launches into a fishing story as his reply. At first I think it is a metaphor, a story of persistence and writing against the odds, but then I think it’s just a story about a fish. I ask about The Old Man and the Sea, and how he would frame a discussion of the text with high school freshmen. Instead, he lights a cigarette and asks me to dance. Aren’t you married? I ask. Yeah, he replies. But so are you. So we dance, me and Hemingway, instead of writing. Him because all he had to say he lost years ago. Me because I cannot find the words.