One of my absolute favorite writerly books is Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom edited by the lovely and gracious Leonard S. Marcus. Oh, how it makes me long for the days of handwriting and rushing to the mailbox, not the in-box.
I especially love a letter that she writes to Janette Sebring Lowry, about how she feels about authors with families. On page 191, Nordstrom writes about cooing at babies in strollers, “But any children or indeed any relatives–husbands, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, who are connected in any way with “my” authors are MY ENEMIES.” Families interrupt an author’s work, delay deadlines, shift one’s focus, etc.
That’s what happened to my synopsis writing last week. I spent the first part of the week taking my oldest daughter to college interviews in California. I came home to my younger daughter’s soccer-injured ankle. So I spent the rest of the week hanging out and watching episode after episode of What Not To Wear on Netflix.
Could I have worked on my synopsis? Sure. But I felt guilty about not being there when my daughter got hurt and I knew she felt lonely while the rest of us were having fun (like a day at the beach) between college visits.
Some interesting things happened during my non-synopsis writing time. At the beach we watched a helicopter chase a shark away from the crowd of surfers. That’s not something I’m able to see from my window in suburban Utah. I also got a fun story idea from watching many makeovers. And I’ve been wanting to write some short stuff between my long projects.
Yeah, life interferes with writing time. But I sure don’t want to live only at my desk. Boring! And not too idea-producing. Besides, watching my senior in high school plan for life in another state reminds me that my daily parenting days are numbered.
Living a life filled with family members–and all the ensuing drama–makes my writing richer.