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I’m still here. Only with lower standards.

Don’t expect much. I’m only sitting here typing because I made a deal with myself. I would write something, anything, and if I did then I could have a spoonful of peanut butter. Of course, who am I kidding, I’ve already had three already today. But I’m using this contrived bargaining chip, and low and behold, results! I have completed four and a half lines so far.

It has been so long since I have even attempted to write that my mind has lost the feel for it. My thoughts are slow to form and my fingers are equally lethargic. I took both a voluntary and involuntary break this past January.  Involuntary because my husband was in the process of switching offices and while he waited for his new offices to be finished, he commandeered my work space. Voluntary because I had just completed a new fiction novel. One that I was – I mean am – pretty excited about. Jam packed with sex, murder and little league baseball politics, it’s a total homerun. (My apologies for the lame humor. The brain isn’t quite sharpened yet.) Anyway, after finishing it, I was spent, and didn’t mind the brief reprieve, until days turned into weeks which turned into months. Soon my office had multiple screens up, projecting law documents and memorandum. His files overtook my random papers of creative thought and soon I couldn’t find a bit of myself in the corporate takeover of my writing space.

At about the same time, my father took a dip in the deep end of the depression pool, and while this is far from uncommon, sometimes when my guard is lowered, my resistance down and my hormones up, it weighs on me as heavily as the ice cream I wind up eating too much of. Each trip to the pool is unique and this time he wasn’t flailing around as usual, grasping at anyone (me) to save him. No, this time he sank slowly, barely making a wave. I stopped reading, and it being winter, confined myself to hibernation, keeping busy with all the uber-important details that a mom of three growing boys must tend to, mainly doing the laundry for them to kick across their floors, schlepping them to and from school and fields while they ignore me on their phones, and preparing meals for their lackluster review. With the husband busier than ever and no mental stimulation to distract, the water seemed to rise around me as well.

But that was then. Now, I’ve spent the last few weeks diligently nudging myself toward a better frame of mind. I’ve embraced the sun (when it shines) and use it to lure me from my shell. I have started reading again. First a book called, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, a truly lovely romantic fable with so much sweetness that it gave my dark brain an attack of the eye rolls. But then a friend handed me, I Am Pilgrim, a detective thriller that has me electrified and turning pages at lightning speed. It has been a gift, offering both escape and inspiration.

I now occasionally catch myself contemplating what to do with my new manuscript, while mulling over potential freelance essays on the new dynamic of parenting my first born teenaged son, the recent birthday of my mother (No she’s not 70!) or how the girl next to me in my gym class achieved such an amazing ass. I mean really people, it’s essay worthy.

I even remembered that I have a blog. So you see, I’m slowly wading over to a safer place. But I don’t want to overexert myself. I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. I sat here, rubbed the sleep from my brain and rambled on a bit. It’s a start. I think I earned my reward.


Okay, so I took two spoons. But it’s kind of like therapy. Protein is good for the brain, right?! I actually think I’m going to need another one to hit publish. I forgot how stressful this was! Okay, here goes… 

My Writing Process. But first, I Need to Flip the Laundry.

I’ve been meaning to write this essay about how I write my essays. You know, the ‘process’. All writers have their own individual approach to writing. Some just sit down and bang it out. Some bang and then sit down and write. We all have our own way. No judgment.

So I had the idea, but I couldn’t figure out how to best structure it. I mulled it over a bit, and then put it on the back burner. A few days later, I picked it back up and tossed it around. Then I did what I usually do at this point, which is, to continue dragging my feet, literally, and go for a run.

Often, I come up with a lot of my ideas while running. With nothing but time to kill, it’s the perfect opportunity to brainstorm. So I plod along plotting my stories, constructing brilliant first lines and clever turns of phrase.

When I mercifully stagger back to my door, I head straight for my dining room chair, aka my work seat, where, with sweat dripping on the keypad, I quickly get down my thoughts, before they are incinerated by my awesome calorie burn. After this initial burst, I go up for a shower, and let my ideas stew in the hot water for at least 10 solid steaming minutes.

Back at the computer, the screen and I stare each other down. Where am I going with this idea? I wonder. Will this work? I write another sentence or two, then feel an overwhelming urge to check my emails. When I come up with nothing, I move on to Facebook and Twitter.

Back to the essay. I re-read. Delete a line and rewrite. Add another line. I sit back and assess. It’s not bad.

I feel the urge for a snack.

No. I need to focus. Write another line. Hmm… should I get some frozen yogurt? Or maybe an apple with peanut butter? Focus! Soup?

I can’t stand it. I’ll be right back.

I go for chocolate and peanut butter yogurt with a medley of toppings. I’m making cones and dipping them as I type. I’m in such a happy, satisfied place. I write a few more lines.

Oh, I’m in the groove now and knock out a whole paragraph. It’s good. Woo. I’m exhausted, I need a break.

Check email.

Check Facebook.

Check Twitter.

Make a phone call.

Go back and re-read what I’ve written. Decent open. Entertaining middle. Tweak. Tweak.

Get up for more sprinkles. What? I need more sprinkles. It’s part of my process.

Just a few more lines and I’m done.

I’m antsy. I need to pee.

I’m almost finished. So close. Tweak. Tweak. Twitter.

I just need the right ending.

Check email.


Make another cone.

Oh, I’ve got it!

Check Facebook.

It’s perfect.

Hang on. I’ll be right back…

Busy, busy, busy.

Quiet. I’m working.