On Writing (Or Creating Any Kind Of Art) When Life Gets In The Way

 

I’m sitting in my home office now, trying to write my first blog entry since February. That’s the problem with blogging; you’re supposed to do it regularly. I’m almost embarrassed that it’s taken me so long to write another post.

 

But let me describe my life to you right now. As I sit upstairs at my desk, I can hear—even with the door closed—the gigantic fans downstairs that are trying to dry the floors out in our house. About a month ago, the icemaker quit working on our old Amana 27 side-by-side. Days later—which was the first chance I got—I called the appliance repair people and the customer service guy told me icemaker repairs can get expensive. Could be as much as $400.00, he said.

 

Screw that, I thought. No way I’ve got that much extra cash lying around. I’ll run to the Kroger and buy a bag of ice. Which is precisely what I did, every few days for the next month.

 

Then I finally pulled it together to call the air-conditioning maintenance guys. Our system hasn’t been serviced in two years. As part of the service, the technician went into the crawlspace to examine the ductwork…

 

Which is where he found the corroded copper line that was spraying out about six feet in a pinhole leak. Quick, call the plumber, who came and repaired the leak, for $256.00, on top of the $150.00 for the HVAC inspection. While he was down there, he noticed a few feet over that the subflooring was all soaking wet. He did the measurements, plotted the huge wet spot, then came into the house, paced it off, and discovered that this huge wet spot of subflooring was centered… (okay, drum roll, wait for it).

 

Right under the refrigerator. The one with the busted icemaker…

 

“This one’s bad. I’d call your insurance company.”

 

Another phone call, another appointment, another guy crawling under the house and coming up with bad news.

 

“We can have a crew here Monday,” he said. “We’ll start by ripping up the floors, bringing in the air movers (I guess they call them “air movers” because it sounds more benign than incredibly huge industrial-strength fans that make you think you’re standing next to a Lufthansa 747 on takeoff), and the dehumidifiers. They’ll run for about three days around the clock. If the noise makes it impossible to sleep, you can turn ‘em off, but it’ll just take longer to dry it out. Then we’ll send in the flooring guys to lay the new floor, the carpenters to redo all the trim and mould, the painters to paint it, the cleaning crew to clean up, and then the punch-list guy to make sure it’s okay.”

 

“Then,” he added, “you can write the check.”

 

Our dining room has been converted into my wife’s home office, so the first thing was to take all that down (which really put everyone in a good mood) and then the kitchen had to be cleared out.

 

A day later, the wrecking crew came and ripped up the floors, then sprayed mildewcide over the wet subflooring, which set off my wife’s asthma. Then they fired up these air movers and went home to dinner.

 

Hours later, to get out of the house, my wife and I take a walk in the park. Twenty minutes into the walk, my cell phone goes off. It’s a text message from the ex-wife. Our nine-year-old is having heart palpitations, so they’re on their way to the emergency room…

 

Hours later—at two in the morning—I finally got home from the E.R., fixed a scotch and soda and took it to bed. I berated myself for not getting this blog entry done earlier, not to mention the new book proposal my agent liked. She wants a detailed synopsis and the first three chapters.

 

Oh, and there’s the book manuscript that my partner Wayne McDaniel and I turned into the agent four months ago. Haven’t heard a word on that one.

 

Then there are those three novels I just got the rights reversion on from St. Martin’s Press. Gotta get those scanned and cleaned up for republishing under the Spearhead Press imprint. Then there’s the retired homicide investigator who wants to partner up on a crime novel.

 

Oh, and there’s the local director whose feature script I offered to read.

 

On and on and on. So the question becomes: is life getting in the way of writing, or is it the other way around?

 

No doubt, to be continued…

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