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Elastic Girl

I am on an all day writing Saturday, after working 8-5 all week doing childcare. I am eager for the quiet so I can summon the muse (she needs quiet or she gets too distracted to come sit on my shoulder). The writer Joyce Carol Oates says that the biggest block to creativity is interruptions.

So I am all set up in my “cave”, aka basement bedroom/office in my daughter’s home in the Midwest. I turn on my computer, close my eyes and meditate to center and call the muse to inspire my writing. I find my place, think a little and begin writing my first sentence. Then the phone rings.

It is my husband calling from California. He says, “Hi, you up?” I answer, “Yes, I am on a writing day.” He responds, “Oh, thanks for reading my talk. I am on my way to the Zen center now to give my student talk. Thanks again for reviewing it.”

Me, “Yes, it is good.”

He, “I took the dog for a walk this morning…”

(I start to sigh, feeling that I want to get back to my writing but willing to chat a little.)

Me (politely), “good.” (I take a breath. I tell myself to be patient and listen.)

He, “I talked to our daughter last night. She went to a retirement party.”

Me (in rising impatience), “I know. I am living here for the summer. She told me all about it.”

He, “Well, in writing my eulogy talk I realize I spend too much time with people I do not want to be with.”

(I begin feeling like an elastic rubber band – pulled in toward him as he expresses personal insight and then pulled away from him, toward a longing to return to my writing.)

He, “I want to spend time with those I love. Life is too short.”

(I realize this means our family and me. My heart is touched. The elastic pull to write stops, and I spring back to his side, heart connected. I exhale. He won me over with love.

Me (more present and smiling), “That’s good, darling. Bye for now.”

Sorry Joyce Carol Oates. This interruption is worth it.

POSTSCRIPT: Of course I immediately write this all down. So the muse is pleased. Then I spend the rest of Saturday writing uninterrupted. Thumbs up from Joyce.


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