SHOULD REAL LIFE INTERUPT MY NA NOV WRI MO NOVEL WRITING?
Yes, an angry, petulant 20-year-old, alienated from his sister, step-mother and the last time I saw him, he threw cold water on my head and told me to get out. I did not throw water on him, however, and yell for him to get out. But it doesn't look good for my NaNovWriMo novel which I haven't yet begun and didn't begin at midnight last night as I had planned. Love comes first.
This kid needs nurturing. He needs soft love and he needs tough love. He has already walked out in one huff when I informed him, after he screamed and kicked something across the room, that I wouldn't tolerate more dramatics from him. But he came back, and he apologized.
He is growing up. He is exerting his independence. He has nowhere else to go.
And me? I haven't been a hands-on, in the house mother for 15 selfish, self-centered, non-cooking, non-cleaning years. I have lived in my solitude with my writing and my computer and kept my vampire hours, thrived on Diet Coke, coffee and the occasional nuked Indian curry or Mexican quiche, and worn clothes inside out instead of doing laundry.
As Bette Davis famously said in All About Eve, "Fasten your seat belts; it's going to be a bumpy night!"
He is, to call a spoon a spoon, a spoiled brat. His Dad died of cancer when he was only 7, and people have given him a lot of breaks I think, because of that, including his very patient, loving step-mother. I lost custody of my kids when they were quite young due to an alcoholic relapse and undiagnosed (at the time) bipolar disorder taking over control of my life. Now I get to step out to main stage with the spotlight on me. Will I be up to the role?
I still want to write my novel. It is now after five in the evening, and I am words per day late and still don't even have an outline. But when I asked while journal writing what I could write a novel about, these people stepped forward and started telling me all about themselves in detail and demanded to be in my book. They dictated and I wrote. I am less a novelist than a transcriber. I now know what novelists are talking about when they say that their characters have a life and will of their own.
My son, Eric, asked me if I would help him go look for a job today. Of course I said yes. The kid has had only one brief job dish washing since he graduated from high school. He started college but dropped out. He really is without plans for his life. I was trying to interest him in learning Ruby on Rails computer code and becoming a software engineer. They are in short supply and demand is increasing in the Chicago area, as it is for developers, application integration workers, quality assurance workers who ensure the software is working as planned, specialists in green IT, security, cloud, and and software as a service are also in short supply along with project managers and help-desk techs, according to Comp/Tia report. Average salaries for software engineers in the Chicago area are about $90,000 a year, and the region employed about 131,000 IT workers in 2008, the report said.
My son looked at the October 17, 2010 Chicago Tribune article I had handed him, "Software engineers harder to find," for about one minute, and handed it back to me.
"Look, Mom, I can make my knee pop any time I want, and watch what I can do with my feet."
He got angry with me for not being enthralled with these feats that were the result of too much time on his hands and boredom, if you asked me. Who needed a job that paid $90,000?
Don't get me wrong. I've been in my children's lives all along. I also have a daughter, now 24, who just moved out on her own too, but she has a shared apartment with a roommate. I made it my business to follow their educational progress, meet with their teachers for conferences and other necessary chats, attend all extra-curricular activities before they could drop out of them, like soccer; take them to culturally stimulating, educational and entertaining venues from art museums, planetariums, to The Blue Man Group. I spent one summer while my son was in high school teaching him my own course in classic movies. We watched one film a week that I, and many others, considered great, and discussed it. It was fun, and he really did like many of the movies.
I was there to help give suggestions for writing reports, even when my daughter was in college. I was proud to attend awards ceremonies for my daughter's social services awards, volunteer awards, and money and scholarship awards. I attended the functions of her many clubs and organizations. I was all ready to go to Parents Day at her college more than once when she uninvited me at the last moment because something better came up.
By bedtime last night, mine, he was going out with his friends, he was apologetic and gave me a hug and a kiss. One of these days he may even apologize for throwing the water on me, but for now he says I had it coming because I didn't move fast enough and get out when he told me too.
So should I be washing my sink full of dishes so he won't get grossed out in the kitchen or should I get busy putting my novel's characters' traits on index cards and developing an outline and a timeline?
Why change horses mid-race? I am the same slacker mom I always was. I am a writer not a domestic goddess, as Roseanne terms it I think. He walked out of here to go hang some more with his friends and mumbled something about bringing home job applications to fill out tonight. And, the little bastard took my very favorite coffee cup on the road with him. I may have 20 coffee cups, all dirty, but I don't drink it if I don't have my favorite mug. So I'm starting my outline right now. Wish me well.
If you're writing the NaNovWriMo novel and looking for a writing buddy who got off to a late start, drop me a line or leave a comment with your NaNovWriMo name and how to get a hold of you.