During these last few hectic weeks, my ongoing attempt at writing my first book was going along quite smoothly. I'd been at it for a year (next month) and was finally winning the revision/rewrite battle I had waged against my story, though my story was laying quite the licking to me in the early stages.
As a stay-at-home dad, I guess you could say that my duties were being fulfilled satisfactorily; all three of my boys were eating regularly, bathing as regularly as preschool boys will, and occasionally I would play with them. But usually I would throw a movie on and leave them fend for themselves a-la "Lord of the Flies" and hope to get some writing in. After all, if I didn't get between 500-1000 words on my writing days, well, that meant the end of the freaking world.
Maybe I'd spend some time with my wife too, who teaches junior-high, and I'm certain could use some grownup conversation every once and a while. But the evenings were when I was at my best.... I couldn't possibly give up one evening a week. Maybe we would watch the Office together - good quality time in front of mister TV - but then we'd split up and she would do her marking, and I would try to finish a chapter.
My love affair with my first book was starting to consume me. It was becoming my life, rather than complimenting it. After all, why was I even writing in the first place? Surely not for the constant struggle, the constant revising, and re-readings. Probably it was a little for my own self satisfaction, but then I remembered I had started it primarily for my family. I would love for my kids to grow up with something daddy wrote.
So this past week Life gave me and my wife a little whack on the side of our collective heads. I had just recently tried re-living my younger days by playing some tackle football with my much younger brother-in-law and a bunch of his buddies. Well I got really run down afterwards and caught a cold. Then my oldest boy contracted pink-eye from kindergarten. Then my wife caught some virus from her school. Then my oldest boy passed his pink-eye on to his brother (not literally). And today, October 28th, my youngest has just been blessed with pink-eye of his own and he is not very happy to say the least. (There's now only the cat left)
"Hello, people, this is Life paying a visit. Welcome to my world!"
Suddenly we were all forced together into one mass area of infestation and disease. Suddenly we were forced to take care and nurture each other and pay attention to one another. Suddenly I hadn't even glanced at my notes for a week and a half. This will sound weird to those who don't have a family yet, but it felt really good. Not being sick, but being needed, and being by your child's and wife's side every minute of the day. It reminded me - almost too bluntly, Life - of why I was even writing to begin with.
So thanks to Life, I'm now not going to have a freak out if I go a couple days without writing anything. I'll still maintain some semblance of a schedule, but my writing will be the icing on the cake that is my life.
I will say this though, there's nothing more I would want then to get picked up by some very wise and forward-thinking publishing house, and signing a three book contract. I think then I'd be able to handle the deadlines and my family quite nicely; and vice versa.
Now if I can just get J. K. Rowling's and Stephenie Meyer's personal e-mail addresses and get some advice on writing as a stay-at-home parent, I should be golden!