Photo: This child done ruined his shirt at school today! Ruined it! I mean, I know it’s washable paint or whatever, but you know that it doesn’t come completely out! That’s what I get. Good thing picture-day and all that jazz have long passed! But I was hoping to pass that one down to Minor. Guess not!

 

We got out of the house this morning, thank the good Lord! Minor was still goopy and I didn’t care even a little bit. GET OUT THE HOUSE! The get-dressed-and-go routine was surprisingly smooth and easy, too. I guess little boys were just as excited to get out and about as I was.

We stepped out of a house that is just a disaster. I put in a load of laundry before we left but it’s like putting a bandaid on a severed limb. I’ve been out of commission for three days, ya’ll! How did all of this mess just accumulate? And how come there aren’t any groceries in the fridge? What’s happening here??

The hilarious thing is I had convinced myself that I had been doing something for these last few days. I mean, dinner was made every night. That means that the kitchen chores (clear the dishwasher, wipe the counters, make the coffee, clean the dishes yadda yadda) were all done. I insisted that little boys took toys out of the living room in the evenings and return them to the playroom, so I thought that the living room would look a little bit decent, at least

But no, dear reader. Lies… sweet, beautiful lies…

What is most frustrating about this marathon of sickness is that I lost three days of productivity and now I am guaranteed to lose at least one more just for cleaning up the mess. “Normal” will have to come on Friday and by then it will feel like I lost an entire week of my life. Besides, Friday is never a “normal” day and I probably am going to need to head to the grocery store because there ain’t a single green thing in this house. I might have to go to the grocery store with two children tomorrow… Deep healing breaths…

To make matters worse, next week is the last week of school. I have three precious mornings left. Three. I’m trying not to mourn prematurely. It will really hit me next Thursday.

Ok, ok… I’m done complaining. It is a little overwhelming.

The good news is that I’ve been in between projects. May was full of a lot of deadlines for both crafting and writing, so when I hit the end, I took a break. I’m almost done with The Gone Away World, having hit the big reveal at the end of the book. Totally worth it. Give it a read! Now that I’ve given my needles a rest and my subconscious a bit of a vacation, I’m getting back on the horse. Matter of fact, I’m deciding to take more risks, commit more time, submit more, and set some pretty big goals for the next six months.

My experience with the Ploughshares submission taught me a few things: I know how to put together a story and maybe a few strong characters. I got great feedback from my writing group and a few trusted readers. That feedback was sincere, really helpful, and a bit of a confirmation that I can do this. I’m not a best-seller in the making but, you know what? There is something here. I have to take more risks and put myself out there more. If I’m brave, if I’m smart, if I learn and if I grow… I can maybe make a little something for myself. So I’m making some larger investments in this. I am working on two more short stories for submission in September and October. I am also going through my previous work and choosing viable stories that I can polish and submit. I am working on a small project with my artist sister that I am praying will be done and submittable for Christmas. And Project Vi, that novel I wrote last year? I am committing to make it pitch-ready for agents by December. I have, at this point, everything I need to really get started. I just need to invest, commit, endure and keep writing.

The goal is simple and impossible: Sell just one piece of writing by the end of the year. Flash, Short story or this novel. Something. Even if it is a small sale, it would be such a huge confidence boost.

I won’t lie to you dear reader, I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure. There is a not-so-small voice in my head that is wondering if I should quit while I’m nowhere at all. I blame my mother for this. Mustard seeds and weather balloons, remember? Every Sunday when we speak lately, she has to sneak in something along the lines of, “eventually you will get back to working full time…” or this was a glorious one last week: “You are going to just be amazed by how extensive the job market is down here. I bet your resume will get you really far. You don’t have to teach if you don’t want to!”

Lordy.

Define, redefine, dream, re-dream… One of the things that I like about being 30 is that I am finally understanding what advice is good advice and what can be safely ignored. I also really love that I still have time to be whoever I want to be however I want to be. Second act, third act… whatever this is… I’m not who I was 10 years ago. I have different priorities, different opportunities, and a broader and better skillset.

And I’m crafting too. I write better if I’m also working on a crafting project. I still need to make curtains (my yardstick should arrive any minute) but in the meantime, I’ve decided that I’m going to try my hand at a few key knitting skills: chart reading, color knitting and a little bit of basic design.

Check this out!

20150602_100510

 

Not only can I read a knitting chart, but I can (sorta) write one, too! I couldn’t do that a month ago. Seasoned knitters are like, “what’s the big deal?” but you gotta remember that I’m teaching myself here! Anyway, this is a chart for a swatch, but eventually I’m hoping to make something like a stole with a pretty cable and a “royal quilting” pattern stitch. In two colors? So crazy. I started the swatch yesterday and I’ve already run into a problem (how do you carry yarn!? Do I REALLY have to cut it after each row?? No, right? But I think I might have to?). Anyway, it’s half the fun. You think about the craft, you think about the story, you progress and troubleshoot on both… and you feel productive at the end. It’s just how my brain works!

 

Now I have to go utilize my most important skillset right now: keeping an old farmhouse clean. Little boys are taking a nap, so two bathrooms need to get scrubbed, laundry has to be turned over and, if I’m good at my life, I might be able to get the first floor rooms swept before they wake up!

So have a great day, dear reader. See you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.

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8 thoughts on “Clean It Up and Keep It Movin’

  1. “eventually you will get back to working full time…” or this was a glorious one last week: “You are going to just be amazed by how extensive the job market is down here. I bet your resume will get you really far. You don’t have to teach if you don’t want to!”

    It has taken me to my last birthday, when I turned 50, to reach the stage where my MIL stopped “suggesting” jobs that might suit me. Thankfully my husband has always supported my desire to be a full time mum and, now that my kids no longer need that, a full time whatever I choose to be.

    I know that I am lucky to have the choice. I am also truly blessed to have the only person who actually matters in this decision support me.

    • It seems that, in this life, a woman just cannot make a right choice. Everybody else wants to own our narrative and write us into an image that makes them comfortable. People who we are supposed to love or at least respect, are always the first people to steer us in the wrong direction. It makes me sad that doesn’t seem to dissipate. Somebody always has something to say.

      I’m glad that your husband supports you. You’re right, that’s the only person who actually matters. The Husband has been incredibly supportive of me, too. He’s never pushed me to go back, he’s always gone out of his way to tell me how much he sincerely appreciates what I do for the family, and he has never discouraged the writing, the crafting, or any of the other endeavors that I’ve pursued since having the boys. He just wants me to be happy and he sees that I am.

      That kind of love is powerful. I’m beyond grateful for it.

  2. I love that you can write about knitting in such a way that a choice of two colors really does feel “crazy” like base jumping without a parachute lol. Your successes are where you least expect to find them 🙂

    • Girl… it was such an epic failure. SUUUUUUCH an epic failure. So much of an epic failure that I’m back, literally, to knitting in ONE color in just a countinuous circle. “Ribbed headband 101” like a damn noob.

      Because I AM! Hubris got me the smackdown!

      I kept getting to the end of the row with my yarn and was like, “but wait, now the yarn is on the wrong side! How do I get it OVER HERE!?”

      and the book was like, “You should already know that…”

      And I was like, “uh… wait…no??”

      And then the universe had a hardy laugh at me. Just… just laughing.

      So anyway, yeah. One black ribbed headband. That’s what I’m making. Sobbing salty tears of epic failure.

  3. Oh, please do not get discouraged. I am sure you will sell something eventually. My favorite writer started the way you did (toddlers at home being a full time mom) and I believe it took a couple of years before she finally sold her novels.

    It’s interesting that you get encouragement to work full time. Here, people tend to discourage me from working, to in laws and neighbors it’s barely acceptable that I am working part time.

    • I was just saying in a comment above that it feels like we women just can’t make a right choice. It doesn’t seem to matter what decision we make, it’s the wrong one. Because clearly everybody seems to think that our decisions, which we are making just as much for ourselves as we are for our families, must be up for the scrutiny of everyone who ISN’T impacted by it. It’s such an annoying feeling of pressure. In this case, it’s extra annoying because I haven’t been a financial obligation for my mother since 2006. Why does she care if I’m working or not?

      I mean, I get it: She worked really hard, set an example, dreamed that both of her daughters would be high-powered women who “have it all.” But we made different choices, and are fine with who we are and how we live. It would be so gratifying to know that she was cool, too. This may just be too much to hope for…

      Thank you for the encouragement. Are you talking about Nora Roberts? She did an interview for CBS Sunday Morning a few years ago and I think she mentioned she got started after being a stay-at-home-mom with two boys. I was like, “REALLY!!????” It was certainly a boost! I don’t think I’d ever meet her success… but it’s nice to know that you can get started from anywhere, at any point in life. You know?

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