Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If You Got It, You Do It

By Sophie


Where do you write? Home? Café? A mountain cabin, away from it all?

Oh dear, I sense a whole mess o' glib coming on.

My instinct is to say that I write whenever and wherever I can.

I remember sitting in the kitchen, trying to feed a screaming baby at 2am and simultaneously write down an idea on the back of a grocery list, an idea that had come to me at the precise moment my son's wailing woke me up, and which, given my general sleeplessness-induced dementia, was in real danger of disappearing.

I have written sitting on a rock at the edge of a parking lot in Yosemite National Park in November when it was almost too cold to move my fingers. I have written in a hotel bathroom so as not to wake sleeping kids. I have written in every form of transportation I can think of because in-transit time = writing time. I have written when confident and devastated, content and broken-hearted, hopeful and hopeless, drunk and sober. I have snuck away from holiday dinners, family movie nights, my own birthday celebration, all to get a few more words in.

That's all true but it also feels a little smug. Because no matter how difficult it's occasionally been to find the time and place to write, there's always guys who have it worse. There are several Criminal Minds who are trying to squeeze writing in between day jobs and families. And we all know how guilty you feel when you tell your loved ones you're blowing them off to write - and how soul-scorched you sometimes feel when you don't.

I've been very, very lucky to have been a stay-at-home mom for years, to have had the chance to be here for my kids especially when my husband's work took him out of town much of the time. My kids have never lacked for my attention, and I still put them first, every single day. And yet, my daughter has taken to asking me if I prefer my "book child" to her, and my son, not twenty minutes ago, told me I was "an unbelievably inattentive parent."

In our new house, I have an office of my own, an unbelievable luxury. I love writing here because I can close the door and play my music loud. The day we moved in, though, I was writing on a folding chair and a card table in the middle of the moving boxes. If the house burns down I'll sit in the smoldering embers and write there.

Because in the end it's not about the where. It's about the compulsion.  If you got it, you do it, and that's that.

14 comments:

Jen said...

Oh Sophie! So glad you've got it! Too bad I'm not still teaching; otherwise, I'd take your son to school with me so he could see what inattentive parents really produce! ;)

R.J. Mangahas said...

I think I have to agree, Sophie. It's not so much where you write. I mean, I've written everywhere from a small village green, to a coffee shop, to the subway. Although, I tend to like being in my home office. I usually write when the moment hits (which explains why I always seem to have a small notebook with me).

Abbie said...

Are you ME? I mean seriously, I could have just written that post. Look, see, there are my kids right over there....

Sophie Littlefield said...

bless your heart Jen...my husband was just saying that our kids are just mad they're no longer being waited on hand and foot :)

and yes, I was a substitute teacher for a while. My, my, that was an eye-opening experience. Ahem.

Sophie Littlefield said...

Aha, RJ, you're one of those "notebook writers"!!! That's what I want to be when I grow up. I need a thought cloud that sort of pops up and grabs my thoughts and puts them into a word doc - because I just can't seem to make myself do it. Good for you!

Sophie Littlefield said...

hey Abbie, send those kids over and I'll feed 'em frozen pizza and pop 'em in front of the TV and you can get a ton of writing done!! :)

CJ Lyons said...

Amen, Sophie!!! I often say that I'll need a 12 step program to stop writing...hmmm, not even that would work.

Your kids are fine--they're just smart enough to know how to push mom's buttons, lol!

And mega-congrats on the wonderful EW review!!! Doing the snoopy-dance for you!

Terri Thayer said...

Great quilt on the wall!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

I haven't been able to write the way I used to like since the first book came out (too much other stuff) and it's driving me nuts. If I don't sit in front of a computer for a few interrupted hours, it's gonna be bad for everyone..,the compulsion won't be denied much longer.

Congrats on all the great reviews for SORRY!!!

Leslie said...

Sophie,

You're everywhere! You even triggered a haiku contest on Janet Reid's blog.

Both you and Barbara Poelle are in some of the haiku entries!

Immortalized in poetry, you've made the big time!

Sophie Littlefield said...

awwww thanks y'alls. Terri, thanks for noticing my quilt, I made it! Yay! Might just have to post some more quilt pix. Only, I haven't touched the sewing machine since i took up novel-ing - I miss it!

Shane Gericke said...

You must be one of those neglectful moms, Sophie, who pay attention to your kids ONLY 24 hours a day. If you'd just try to spend more time with them, they'd eat their carrots and sing your praises. Not having kids, I know everything about this subject, naturally :-)

Shane Gericke said...

Oh, and mega-congrats on the EW review. It's a honey.

Gabi said...

I haven't touched a sewing machine since...well, ever. You are too creative and mulit-talented for words, you.