Shannon Stacey

Reinventing myself

Both of my children are in school today. Right up until about suppertime last night, I thought I’d party like mad today. I’ve been working toward this day for 12 years, after all.

But I miss the short kid desperately. Like keep breaking into tears kind of desperately.

Not that I don’t miss the tall kid, but he’s really quiet and he’s in the 7th grade now, so I’m used to him being gone. But the short kid, he’s larger than life in a way. He brings the drama and the joy and the music and the attitude and more drama to the day. He talks constantly and is intensely interactive. For the past several years, he’s been gone 2 1/2 hours a day for the school year, but that was always a frantic rush to get errands and such done. This is different.

I’m adrift.

So Jaci and Mel told me I should use this time to write, and my mind kind of went kerphlooey on me. I don’t know how to sit for hours and be a writer. I write on the move, in between discussions of Darth Maul and why cats lick their own butts and why french fries don’t count as a vegetable and where Kyle Bush will race next year. In between phone calls and errands and tripping over lightsabers and roller skating on Matchbox cars.

The school schedules are offset by an hour for bussing purposes, so technically I’m not a stay-at-home mom from 8:30 am until 2:20 pm, I guess. So what to be for those six hours? Sitting here in the still silence, facing the computer screen seems daunting. Maybe I should have audiotaped the short kid all summer so I could at least pretend I have chaos.

Maybe it’s time to learn a new way to write.

8 comments to “Reinventing myself”

  1. Charlene
      · August 29th, 2007 at 10:22 am · Link

    It takes time to train yourself to work in a different way, but it’s doable. When I became a mom, I retrained myself with the timer to work in short bursts when I was used to working in long, uninterrupted stretches. It would probably work for the reverse, too. Try setting a timer for 10-15 minutes and writing until your time’s up. Do something else, then come back for another 10-15 minutes.

  2. Heather Rae Scott
      · August 29th, 2007 at 11:54 am · Link

    :hug: I still suffer from this. Seriously, I do. Even after trying to retrain myself, I still find days when I’m beside myself because the only noise is coming from the bird. I’ve been a night writer for so damned long, it’s hard for me to write during the six hour span of time I’m supposed to have. Cut yourself some slack for the first week, eventually you’ll sort of get used to it.:heart:

  3. Melani Blazer
      · August 29th, 2007 at 1:25 pm · Link

    You can do it.
    Maybe try walking around the house, talking out loud to your characters? You write by hand–maybe try doing some of that to type in later when the chaos returns.

    I like the timer idea, if you can discipline Ezzie to work with it. Think about research (for your books), brainstorming, outlining, planning (for your future goals, submissions, etc) and even blog hopping–then do what feels good, but leave a word doc open. You’ll find yourself there! :write:

  4. Jaci Burton
      · August 29th, 2007 at 1:35 pm · Link

    It’s only the first day and it’s a big change. Give it some time. You’ll find what works best for you. But you will find that you suddenly have all this time available to write, promote, visit with friends :coffee:….enjoy it. You’ve earned it.

  5. Emma Wayne Porter
      · August 29th, 2007 at 2:31 pm · Link

    Been there. Will be doing that, come the 4th. :baby:

    Forget to feed the cats. They’ll keep you suitably harrassed and interrupted. That’s the best advice I can offer.

  6. Nora Roberts
      · August 30th, 2007 at 8:14 am · Link

    When each of my boys started school, I cried like a baby. With the second, the one who’d talk the skin off your bones, I was left with stunning silence. Takes a while to find your rhythm with that kind of change–and this new phase of everyone’s life.

    My boys are all grown up now, and I love the men they are. But I still miss my little guys.

    Last week I went down my lane to watch my granddaughter get on the big yellow bus for her first day of kindergarten–in the exact same spot where her daddy and uncle got on the bus all those years ago. And cried all the way back up the lane.

  7. Shannon
      · August 30th, 2007 at 9:38 am · Link

    I think today’s a little better. No tears. Yet.

    But when I went to take the trash to the curb a little while ago, I closed the door very quietly on my way in, thinking it was weird he was sleeping in. THEN I remembered he’s not even here.

    And, oh, I’d love to have roots like that. I was raised in the Air Force, so I was lucky if I didn’t have a different bus stop every year. And since my husband is bound and determined to move north into the land of sketchy cell reception and dial-up, my kids will probably have to have a new school, too. I wanted them to have kindergarten-to-adult home roots, but where we live now is becoming non-root-worthy anyway.

    And my tall kid’s changing too fast now. The young man shows up more and stays longer, while the boy’s making fewer appearances.

    CRAP. My eyes are starting to leak again. And I can’t even blame contacts.

  8. Charlene
      · August 30th, 2007 at 11:49 am · Link

    Hugs, Shan. And hey, moving into the land of poor cell reception can be good for everybody! We haven’t regretted it.

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