Ordinary Life

Photo © Chris Ford

December 2, 2010: Writing
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author:
Leo Babauta) [The #reverb10 project.]

There is a static morning alarm set on my cell phone. The tone? ‘Waiting On The World To Change’ by John Mayer. I’m not a huge fan of the song or John Mayer in general… and that’s the point. I hate morning. If I utilize a much beloved tune then I will inevitably begin to associate it with the worst ten minutes of my day and that is simply unacceptable. Still, I do hope, every single morning, that the world… my world… is going to change during the course of those waking hours. I like change.

At 0530 that alarm sounds. Sometimes it rouses me out of a comfortably deep sleep as I tend to get my best snooze time during the wee hours of the morning. More often it interrupts one of my super-awesome-trippy dream sequences. Either way, I groan. Toss. Turn. Snooze. Alarm. Snooze. Alarm. Damn. I shower. Showering is a requirement, not only for cleanliness, but also for consciousness.

The rest of the day proceeds something like this…

0550 – I wake the teenager. He showers.
0555 – I wake the ten year old.
0600 – I remind the teenager he does not have a long term lease agreement on the bathroom.
0605-0610 – Somewhere in there the teenager comes out of the bathroom and the ten year old goes in to take his own shower because baths at night are “too childish” for him now. Whatever…
0640 – Sometimes this is where my shower happens. I told you. I don’t like morning.

In the hour between 0555 and 0655 there is much chaos. Clothes. Food. Hair (Yes, some boys care about their hair.). I can't find matching socks! The usual. Inevitably one child remembers something he should have told me the night before which results in further chaos and much scrambling.

0655 – Out the door! To the bus stop they go.
0656 – Whew. I pause.
0657 – My hair. Purse check. Calendar check. Take something out of the freezer for dinner and move it into the fridge. Large random number of other things that must be done.

Question sanity.

0705 – Out the door! To the place of work I go. I have to go to my job. Every weekday, and sometimes on the weekend, I can typically be found there from 0730 to 1600. And, when I am at work, I am expected to do work. Imagine that. Sidebar: I happen to be very, very good at my job.

Mid-Day – It’s 1217. Lunch. Today, anyway. I grab thirty minutes when I can… if I can. This post? I’m composing it on my lunch break. Hooray! for speedy typing skills.

1530 – Make sure boys are home from school. Chore list refresher. Reminder to not kill one another in next hour or so.
1600-ish – Leave work. Eeeny-meeny-miny-mo through errand selection.
1700-2159 – Home. After school activities, games or performances. Laundry (which requires trip to laundromat). Cleaning. Shuttle (I cannot wait until the teenager is driving. Seriously.). Workout (If chaos allows.) Cooking. Dinner (How was your day?). More cleaning (Bloody dishes). Homework. School projects. More cleaning. Oh, you know the drill. Confession: A bit of TV works its way into this time frame. Don’t we all need at least one hour of brainless activity a day? Maybe not, but I do.
2200-2230 – Nighttime showers (Yep. We do that.) and bed for the boys… and sometimes me. Do the math. That’s seven hours sleep if I’m lucky.

That, my friends, is an easy day… the basics. I also don’t have any help aside from the chores for which my boys are responsible. I am a single working mother and it is far from easy. I’m not complaining, mind you… I like it this way (most of the time). It’s simply a statement of fact: I do it alone.

In all of the madness are gems of experiences and anecdotes that contribute to what I write and what I hope to write. Priceless.

Were I to give up anything in my day, it would have to be the television time. Doable, I guess. I could get up earlier!? Who am I kidding? That isn’t going to happen. I crave more time to sit and write. Finding time every day seems like such an impossibility. I do know I could make the effort over the weekend… specifically every other weekend when my boys are with their father. Perhaps, for now, that is the answer. Baby steps.

Day two of #reverb10 and here I am with a second promise to myself: In 2011 I will write more… and not just on my lunch break. I will begin setting aside 15 minutes at the end of my day (while the boys shower) to journal and 30 minutes each weekday (somewhere) to write. One hour each Saturday and Sunday my boys are at home and two hours each of those days that they are gone. In fact, no need to wait for a new year. I'll give it a go tomorrow.

It’s a start.

“I have spent so long erecting partitions around the part of me that writes—learning how to close the door on it when ordinary life intervenes, how to close the door on ordinary life when it's time to start writing again—that I'm not sure I could fit the two parts of me back together now.” ~Anne Tyler


  1. My first year in journalism school we were taught to carry a small notebook with us at all times...just a small one, fits in the pocket...and write down random thoughts throughout the day. Or not so random. I still do that. Blog ideas...story ideas...things I want to tell my kids' dad when he gets home...questions I need to ask someone...random things I notice. It's not a big thing. But it's a start.

  2. I have one of those! And... I never use it. Du-oh!


"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman


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