"You know some mothers drink. It could be worse," I told my petulant 22-year-old daughter as she was driving me home, at her instigation, from what has to be called a lackluster performance at my brother's for Thanksgiving dinner. "I wish you did drink. At least you'd be awake. You'd be participating. It would be better" was her response. I don't mean to be a miserable old sot that embarrasses her children on social occasions. I do try not to dribble down my front as my heavy chin hangs down the front of my blouse. And I know I do that stir-crazy move. You know the one--the nodding person suddenly realizes she's asleep, shakes and stirs herself completely, sits a bit more upright, and goes right off into another nod. I am a miserable old mother. My vice? I write. I write all night long night after night, and then when holidays happen, and I must go out during the day among the living, I get caught in the glare of everyday reality. I am a writing junkie who just can't say "when". Okay I can try and say "when". But I know I'll do it again. I'm an addict. I'd rather write than sleep or even eat for that matter. Anyone who's been there can tell you it's useless to attempt questions to ease back into the conversation. They know you've been sitting there nodding off and they don't feel like helping. They just laugh at the ridiculousness of your question. "Why were the children baking their underwear?" "Go back to sleep, Mom." Laughter. "I'm sorry," I say now. "No you're not. You'll just do it again. You'll say you won't but you will." She knows me too well this daughter of mine. And I know her. And then it hits me why she's really pissed. She had a big job interview Tuesday. She tried to call and tell me about it and I didn't pick up. I hate the phone. I let the machine take the calls. If i don't hear my kids' voices, I don't bother going over to the phone. She called and didn't speak just so she could be the victim. The brat. I had thought the interview was Wednesday and when I did end up calling her a day late I caught some hell about not being there for her the day before. I've looked and the closest self-help group I can find online (of course, ) is Internet addicts. But that doesn't quite cover it. If I didn't have my Mac I suppose I'd be shaking out my wrist at three in the morning as I turned the pages of my spiral notebook, writing as furiously as I could. Do I have to go live in Las Vegas to be among my fellow time travelers of the night? I think all the noise and action would interfere with my concentration. If nothing else, the heat would keep me from writing. Oh, let me tell you though, my family and friends all have one answer to my problem and it's the same for all of them: Go to bed earlier and keep regular hours. Don't make me laugh. The writing genie only comes out to play at night. Who can concentrate with the neighbors listening to their televisions as though the sets were in another house adjacent to theirs? All the mundane stuff, the everyday trivial bits take up the daylight hours and leave the best time for writing.

1 comment:

sonja said...

That's really great that you'll call me a brat for not leaving a phone message. and you have caller id!