Saturday, July 26, 2008

Smelling the Flowers

Every now and then it's important to stop and smell the flowers. This week has been that time for me, and I've realized that, while I love photographing flowers, I'm not so good at the theoretical smelling of them. It took serious effort to take time off. By Wednesday I was waking up early, brewing a pot of coffee and trying to get a few pages in before the rest of the family got up. When we went to the pool I still took my notebook and pen, but tried hard not to disappear into it and play with the family. At night, when I usually am completely immersed in writing, I closed the computer and watched TV and drank wine and had long conversations. And I didn't check the word count once.

We went to the dollar theatre and saw the movie "The Bee," the animated movie with the voice of Jerry Seinfeld. We'd never seen it. I wasn't optimistic, but there was popcorn involved, and it was raining. So we went. And I almost snorted Coke out of my nose I was laughing so hard! I don't remember the last time I laughed out loud in a movie theatre. That was good for the soul.

My son wanted to go to Busch Gardens. We settled for a huge water park near us. He and I tackled every big water slide. We were the last to leave. They had to kick us out. That was really cool! This photo isn't from there. I didn't take my camera (there was a LOT of water there!). This is from today at the botanical gardens in D.C.

My daughter wanted to go to the Air and Space Museum in D.C. A girl after my own heart! I drooled over the space capsules and moon rocks and we walked through the actual Sky Lab and took photos of the Spirit of St. Louis and talked about the tragedy of Amelia Earhart. And I plotted how I could steal her leather jacket, cause it totally rocks!

We spent long hours at the pool, ate enormous amounts of food at places where I neither had to cook it nor clean the dishes. We went to the used book store. We went to the Botanical gardens. We watched movies together. We had a rare dinner with my uncle, of whom I do not have a single memory that doesn't involve gut-wrenching laughter. My youngest learned to swim laps and jump off the diving board.

I tried to soak it all in. I tried not to write when I had the opportunity to spend time with the family. I reminded myself that these days are fleeting, and I will never get them back. And I reminded myself that it was only a few days, and then life goes back to normal.

But I worried over it. I obsessed over it. I tried to figure out how many words I'd have to write to catch up. I wrote scenes in my head in the car; I jotted notes on napkins.

I had some great conversations about books and the internet, and how computers have changed the way people read and whether that should influence the way writers write. And then I wondered if what I am writing is marketable, and if it is, am I a sell-out, and if it's not - is it sellable?

And though it was a great vacation, it was exhausting, and I will be glad to get back to writing in larger chunks. And it's not because of the word-a-thon. Well, not entirely. Mostly, it's because I just really love writing, and I missed it. And as a person who thinks writing is what I want to do with my life, I figure this is a good sign.

So my totals for Tuesday through Saturday: 4,740 words

Word-a-thon: 43.6 % towards my goal of 50,000 words by August 15. About 20 days left. That's 1409 words a day.

And my favorite line of the week?

I watch him trot down the halls, all legs and arms and purple fringe. I am ashamed that I wonder, if Ashley dies, will he be enough?


  1. That is such an awesome line.

    And don't worry - you've been such a star that 1400 words a day is nuthin'. I'm waitin for the next installment of babs, tho. She's a lady after my own heart.

    And just in case, have I said it before? Your kids are a---dor----a---ble. :)

  2. Jen,

    I love that line, too, which makes me think I will end up having to take it out! Isn't that the way it works?

    I'm waiting to submit more, partially because I can't keep up with every one else's submissions, and partially because I wonder if I should wait until it's all done and I have gone over it enough to say, "okay,'I've gone over this as much as I could... what did I miss?" I'm about 171 pages in, which is really good, I think.

    Also, I'm not going back and reading it yet. I want it to be mostly done before I start despairing about how awful it is. :)

    And the kids.... yeah, I just like to show them off!