Wednesday, September 24, 2014



Status:  Just bought new writing music, so I’m good to go. 

Confession time.  We don’t actually pay for internet—pretty soon after we moved into our house, roughly four years back, we discovered we didn’t need to.  You see, the gas station across the road has a little sandwich/coffee shop that offers its customers free Wi-Fi.  Turns out the owner doesn’t mind if we piggy-back.  Granted, to get really good signal, I have to sit in the big picture window, and I probably look like a creep to all the passersby.  But after this long, I’m used to it.  Anyway, who am I to turn down free stuff? 

Of course, it isn’t always convenient.  Sometimes the router cuts out—and we can’t very well complain since we’re mooching.  Often bad weather interferes.  And remember Murphy’s law.  When I want to mindlessly check Facebook or waste time browsing blogs and stalking musicians, I many not have full bars, but the connection is fast.  Life is good then—nothing to obstruct or defy me.  But if I really need to get back to someone or deal with pressing matters or upload a post to my blog, that’s when the internet decides to go on vacation.  I especially love it when every page works except the one I need. 

But because I know the internet isn’t always going to be there, I’ve learned to enjoy it more when it is.  Seriously, there’s so much open to me.  I might start researching for a book and get distracted by one link which leads to another and then another, and pretty soon I know nothing about medieval history but everything about John Wayne and the history of the toothpick and how to make seedless strawberry jam.  There’s so much knowledge waiting to be learned, and I want to learn it.  Sometimes I wish I could access the internet through a neural interface so I could just sit back and soak up the information.  (Then again, what if someone hacked my brain?)  I can’t use Spotify all the time, so it isn’t commonplace yet.  Every time I get on, I’m excited to listen to something new, something I don’t already have in my vast music library.  The world wide web becomes a treat and not a nuisance. 

When I sit down to write, I don’t have to use Freedom—my room doesn’t have signal.  I still have distractions though.  I sit in my comfy armchair in my bedroom, surrounded by my bookshelves, and they all whisper their stories to me.  They beg to be admired and read and marveled over.  My Star Treks and my Doctor Whos wait patiently, telling me over and over ,in that matter of fact way, that I know I should be watching them instead of writing.  Good for inspiration? I reason with myself as I reach for the DVD, but then I put it back because I have other priorities.  For all the procrastinating I do, though, it’s amazing what I can get done.  (And no, I’m not on hallucinogens—I was speaking metaphorically.) 

Anyway, I’m tired—maybe that’s why I don’t seem to be making any sense.  The tea was weak today, and it tasted like old dead things.  The laptop is super warm and it’s putting me to sleep.  Plus, I have at least twenty more pages to edit in my book.  And actually, the work is weighing on me a bit more than it usually does.  When I’m tired—that’s when it gets to me.  For a year now I’ve spent every spare moment working on this novel, writing and rewriting and polishing meticulously, and come November I’ll be querying agents.  Time is running out.  I want to savor all these moments of guilt-free procrastination while I can. 

Not that I’m trying to complain.  In fact, if it weren’t for these times when I’m so tired and so muddled I can’t even think straight, I would never appreciate the moments of clarity when my fingers fly over the keys like they’re the ones creating not me.  These are the times that make the others worthwhile.  So I’ll put on my new writing music, edit ten more pages, and head outside in the fresh air to catch my breath and my perspective before I head back in for another ten pages.  And even if no one ever reads this book, when I’m finished, I will be grateful for every painful hour I slogged through when I could have been anywhere else doing anything else. 


So, I do what I said I would—I edit those ten pages, and I give myself the promised reward.  First off, you should know I’m not at my house using borrowed internet.  Right now, I’m staying with my aunt and uncle and cousins because they are awesome, and because why wouldn’t I?  Which means when I treat myself to a trip outdoors, I’m not merely wandering through a tick-infested wonderland of dead lupines and fallen tree limbs—I’m strolling through something very like a farm (minus the cows). 

As I step out onto the weathered wooden porch, I smell the chilly wind and rub my arms for warmth.  Who needs sweaters anyway, when cold is just another sensation to experience and enjoy?  A little needle-strewn path leads under a stand of threadbare pines to a large wire enclosure I love dearly.  Chickens wait for me in a confused herd, trying to figure out if I have brought food or anything else of interest.  Perhaps I’ve come to steal their eggs.  Black and red and gold and white mix in an autumnal array of hen.  To my right, three little white goats peer at me eagerly from the next pen over, smiling in their little goat way, shaking their little goat horns at me.  I spend a while there, talking to them and feeding them leaves before I moved on.  I pass the old compost pile, neat and orderly and green, and I walk down the driveway, crossing at an angle, delighting in the feel of sunbaked rocks on bare feet.  Ahead, in a yard on the other side of the road, kids run around playing zombie wars, a very different pretend game than the ones I loved when I was that young. 

I swing back up the drive and study the waving corn stalks, empty now, and dying.  Likewise the tomato plants, harvested to scarcity, with only a few green orbs to keep them company and a half-ripe one besides.  Little multi-colored squash wait on the white-green grass. 

I circle around behind the house, past the burn pit and the four-wheeler trails to the massive sunflowers leaning against the wall.  Entranced, I step closer to view the thick stalks and the hairy golden heads towering above my own, but the drowsy bumblebees remind me it is best to keep my distance.  So I move on, meandering past sandy ant hills around the L of the building to the side where white dirt wedges between my toes and thistles prick at my calluses.  Unable to resist, I return to visit the chickens one last time, and the goats come galloping to meet me, faces eager and ears flopping.  A hen burrows in the earth, flicking it up onto her wings.  Near my foot, a single squash peel lies forgotten amongst the reddish pine-needles.  Sucking in a deep breath of autumn air, I climb the solid, wooden steps and reenter the building, saving the happiness of this fall memory to share with you. 

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