Sunday, February 1, 2009

SNOW DAYS AND WRITING




When I was a kid, snow days were the thing to look forward to. A time for laugher and fun. No school, snowball fights, snow forts, and using the shovels—after we had shoveled the driveway—and making snow paths in the yard. We used these as trenches in our warfare games.



  • The not so fun part of snow days was my mom and her list of chores. I now know this was self-defense on her part. It was a way keep six rambunctious kids occupied. Needless to say, we didn’t often whine, “I’m bored and I’ve got nothing to do.” Lord, big mistake and *The List* came out.



Snow days at my house are a bit different. First, I don’t have six kids, thank God, to keep occupied. Back then we stayed outside or found adventures of “lets pretend that…” in our bedroom or the third story attic.


I have one child. Uno only goes so far. Snowboarding outside takes up a few hours, if I’m lucky. Snowball fights still happen but it’s the kid and me. He has TV, movies, 360 Xbox, paper and art supplies, and shelf full of books. I have a computer and projects to get done. Articles to write, books to finish, books to edit. Did I mention editing?

This is a normal workweek for me. I’m trying to keep to my schedule. Four days of no school and a husband who can’t get to work either. It’s vacation time for them. I’m in a groove and I have not one but two housebound males wandering around bored. I am not bored. I have plenty to do. I get up from the computer for a short fifteen-minute break and stretch out my tight muscles, go to the bathroom and get a cup a coffee. My mind is on what I’m writing, working out the kinks mentally, and walk back into my office and there’s my husband checking out Fox Sports. We do have a working TV.



“Oh, I thought you were done?”

I’m dumbfounded. You can tell, dropped jaw, wide eyes, standing frozen in the doorway.

He can tell. “You’re not done?”

“Sweetheart, what part of five open tabs on the computer screen makes you think I’m done?”

I always try for the sweet, reasonable approach first.

So I decide to take out the dog, clear my head in the cold outside air and rid myself of frustration. It’s beautiful outside. The type of day that brings back echoes of laughing kids, snowball fights and snow forts. I feel a pull on the leash and bring my mind back to today just in time to see my poor Great Dane trying to do her business and ever so slowly slide down the incline. This is her second winter and she’s still learning her way on this white stuff. The look on her face is priceless and I can’t help but laugh. It feels good. I’m feeling better, which is a good thing.

I walk back into the house; breathe a sigh of relief when I see my husband watching TV. I walk into my office. And there is my fourteen-year-old son.

At my computer.

“Oh, I thought you were done?”

Oh, yeah, it’s gonna be a long week. Sigh.

20 comments:

Sherrie Super said...

Oh, sorry, Sia. I thought you were done. Heh heh heh!!!

It's funny, isn't it, how hard it is to find the quiet time to write and edit. That's why I do most of my writing in the middle of the night, but man, is it hard to get up in the morning!

Great article!

other lisa said...

I think you need a laptop. And a room with a lock!

sherilynwinrose said...

I seem to get that 'I thought you were done' a lot too Sia. Let's see, my house, my puter.. I guess we need 'be back in 10 minutes' stickie notes for the monitor.

atlantis said...

This is reminding me so much of past days when my son was younger . They (teens ) have this sense of being the center of the Universe somehow and we (parents) are just some satellites meant to buzz around them ....
My son is 21 now and is my biggest fan when it comes to writing.

Judi said...

I always love the one where I'm sitting cross-legged on the sofa, head is back, eyes closed, fingers flying over the keyboard and Hubs walks by, "How's it coming?"

*(%$%^!!

It was going REAL well until you interrupted my train of thought...

~Sia McKye~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Sia McKye~ said...

Lisa, I do have a laptop, I just need to set it up with a new router so both computers will work with the Internet. But my luck, I'd walk back in and both of them would be on the computers and both saying, "Oh, I thought you were done?"

Exactly, Wendy! However sticky notes would either mysteriously disappear or I'd get. "Oh, I didn't see that..."

~Sia McKye~ said...

Judi, lolol! Yah, I hear that one....

Or when you're concentrating, really deep into the scene and oblivious to all around you and a hand drops on your shoulder. eeeeek! and a a page of gobbledy goop pops on the screen. Cats scatter, dog starts barking, chaos ensues. Hubs looks at you and says, I only wanted to see how you were doing...

Ken Coffman said...

Our problem is we'll never be done. If not editing, then we're dreaming up the next project. I might look like I'm zoned out and semi-conscious, but inside, I'm juggling cats.

aries18 said...

LOL Sia, your example explains exactly why, in our house we have 4 computers. The laptop for travel and/or guests, Bill's computer for his games, etc. My new computer for the serious stuff and my old computer, patiently waiting for me to pull the rest of that old stuff off it. Of course, I have no kids at home, can't think what I might have done in those days. Screamed a bit, I suspect.And taken a lot of walks outside.

simon said...

I seem to remember an essay or story by a famous woman writer called "A Room of Ones Own" Virgina Woolfe? No, not a Room with a View. This was about how important it was to have place to escape to, in order to write. Someplace where on one will talk to you, where you can stay for hours, where there are no distractions. Like Starbucks!!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Sia,

This made me laugh. It sounds so darn familiar....hmmmm. ;)

Thanks!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh, you're wicked to tease me with Starbucks...too far away to get to any, darn it. Thanks for the chuckle, Simon. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lolol, Nancy! I think every writer could share a moment...thanks for stopping by. Loved your article in This Writer's Life.

Netti said...

LOL! You need a lock for your office and a REALLY big stick (for those times when they try sticking their heads in the door *G*)

Pat Shaw said...

Two adults and three computers and an oversize house, and somehow my "office" ended up being the kitchen table, right in the middle of the traffic pattern! We have a rule. If you see a Word doc open, tiptoe! And if I'm staring into space, I am NOT having a siezure, I'm in writer mode! Sigh. There's a reason the romance I wrote ended up with 10 dead bodies in it!

VA said...

Four computers for three people. Usually there are no problems there but I totally understand the interruptions. Luckily for me I have trained the crew with the furtive head shake and stop sign hand gesture. They scurry backwards.

Snowbound with cabin fever is inescapable though,talk about schedule trauma. *Sigh

~Sia McKye~ said...

I've come to the conclusion I am computer poor in my house, lolol! But then, I only have two TVs. Gadget poor? hmmm

Netti, I'm thinking of a big stick, trust me.

Pat, I've tried that whole explanation. I tried the sweet, reasonable approach. Only works about 25% of the time. However, class A mode is simple and to the point. "touch my computer and body parts WILL be flying and they ain't gonna be mine." This evening it was even shorter, NO out of my office.

VA can you do you do training methods? I like the scurrying backwards part...

Esther Is Flesh and Blood said...

Sia, I know about the closed eyes and trying to concentrate situation when all of a sudden the phones are ringing, someone is at the door and then someone is standing in front of you waiting for an answer to something that you are totally oblivious to. Uh, what part of my eyes closed and hands on keyboard do you not understand?

It's crazy sometimes and then it's usually only Rick and I here unless I have one of my nieces or nephew over or friends or whomever.

Good luck on getting some work done this week. I would suspect that the walks outside in the cold air will be repeated a few times over the course of this week. ;)

jrafferty said...

Sia,

Nice looking blog. I'm impressed by all of the comments, but even more by the warm tone. Best of luck with this.

James