Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Define "Work"

My husband came home from work tonight (which caught me off guard actually - he's been forced to work so many overtimes lately that I forgot that he could come home on the same day he left for work) and asked "What did you do today?" Not in a accusational way, not in a checking up on me to see if I was useful way. Heavens, if my hubby actually requested that sort of daily commitment from me, he'd have left me years ago.

But even though he meant it in a purely positive, "how was your day honey" sort of way, the interesting thing was that after a second or two while I attempted a quick mental retrieval of the requested info, and finding I couldn't come up with much of a physical list, I felt defensive. I thought of a few things I "did" today - I had done some required shopping. I'd helped our homeschooling son complete his schoolwork, I'd had a long phone chat with our daughter (falls under the category or work, subcategory of parenting), and I'd taken the dog outside to pee and poop about a half dozen times (which unfortunately didn't coincide 100% with her actual need to do those two activities). Hmmmm, that sure didn't sound like a day's worth of work!

Until hubby had asked me that question though, I'd felt really happy with my day. I'd felt incredibly productive. Because although the aforementioned tasks don't appear to be seriously taxing on someone's time and energy, the most of the work I'd done had been done inside my head. There was no freshly stocked refrigerator to show for it. No piles of fresh laundry to admire. My main accomplishments for the day were invisible ones.

You see, I'd spent the day fighting a battle of doom, despair, justification, procrastination, rationalization, and a whole bunch of other "-ations" too, which I'm too tired to think of write now. Ha. That's a good one. I meant to say "right" now. But it all has to do with writing, or not writing, but the word "write" was one of the major generals on the mental field of battle today, so it's funny. It's after midnight as I write this, and so lots of things that aren't funny during the day are utterly hysterical during the dark of night. And even if you aren't reading this until later, when the sun might possibly be up wherever you're at, it counts more when I wrote it then when you read it. So, don't try to figure it out. Trust me, it's funny. Just go ahead and laugh.

Anyway, back to my general theme, today (or, since it's after midnight, technically I mean yesterday) was all about trying to convince myself to give up/don't give up this whole nanowrimo business. It felt like being a multiple personality. Give it up, it's hopeless! If you give up now, you'll never be able to face yourself come December! What, are you crazy!? You can't write a novel in November! November is a time to clean house and bake pies and turkey and prepare your home to be warm and inviting for your children! You could get kicked out of SMUG - Selfless Mothers United Guild! So, you're gonna spend an entire friggin' month cleaning and cooking so that the family can sit mess it all up and eat it all up in less then 48 hours?! You're a total wimp! Your story is garbage! Your characters are completely faceless! Your plot is so thin even a toddler could figure it all out in the first chapter! Hey, uhm, you're a stinky poo poo face! Phbbbt! Oh just go ahead and quit! You know you're gonna eventually. Get it over with. Then you can't possible fail! Then you can stop stressing. Yeah, that's right! Go ahead and fail before you even tried! I don't want to go the dentist tomorrow! Neither do I!

Well, hey, at least they agreed on something!

But what my hubby didn't know, and I couldn't explain to him in a way that sounded like it could take all day to accomplish, was I WON my battle. This is even harder to explain when I think about the fact that I just told you that I was fighting MYSELF, so if I won then didn't the part of me that I won against be a part of me that LOST and so did I really win or was it just a draw? Too confusing. The important point in all this is simply that I felt good about how I fought my way through all that to and fro mental awe and shock crapola and came out feeling like I'd kicked my own butt.

The analogy still has some serious flaws, doesn't it?

But back to the important part of that important point I'm trying to make. The "I felt good" part of it. And that there was a whole bunch of what felt like hard work preceding getting to that ephiphany. Maybe not a real authentic ephiphany. But at least it's a real authentic naugahyde.... nagahyde.... nauguhyde.... IMITATION LEATHER ephiphany.

Even though I can't explain it very well, at least I know I've had a very productive day. I just wish it generated some mountainous stacks of fluffy, clean laundry piled about to prove it.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jan said...

Congratulations on your successful conquest of yourself! This reminds me of the commercial I have seen of the CEO type man saying, "It's my way of sticking it to the man." and his minion saying, "But aren't you the man?" The Man says Yeah. the minion says, "so you are sticking it to yourself..." "Maybe."

And is that Kristen Chenowith doing the Old Navy commercial?

You are a good writer. Please don't quit!

Jan

8:28 AM  
Blogger Kate West said...

So how did you end up doing with Nanowrimo? I had set out to do it, too, but illness and life got in the way. I haven't been that great about updating my blog, but I've been reading now and then even though I don't always comment. Happy holidays!

9:00 PM  

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