Right now I am alone at home. The house is quiet. I can actually hear the fan, the birds out the window, the wind in the trees. I am breathing air untainted by shrieks or arguments or Super Mario Brothers.
I am alone. And I am a little bit lonely.
I wrote last week about the writing process being a solo, and it definitely is. But this quiet-at-home weirdness is why I don’t like to write at home. Home isn’t SUPPOSED to be quiet. I have grown used, over almost 12 years of kids in the house, to tuning out noise. Home is supposed to have laughter, radios and sibling rivalry (well, I could do with a little less of that, thank you very much). It’s freakish when it’s so silent. Not even the washing machine is running. I feel like I’m in a time-out.
When I write at the café in town, I am alone…in the middle of a crowd. I am never lonely. It is never too quiet. I need background noise. I need something to tune out. And, living in a small town, I always see people I know, which I love. I enjoy saying “hi”, exchanging a few pleasantries, then going back to my work. I’m an introverted extrovert. Cafés work for me.
The trouble with tuning out noise at home is that the noise asks questions. (That sounds philosophical…but it wasn’t really meant to be…just representative!) The noise fights with its siblings and has to be reprimanded. The noise interrupts constantly and telling the noise to watch TV isn’t really a valid response.
Yes, at home, even when alone, I am distracted. The laundry. The dishes. A shower. The mail. Facebook. The mess. The couch. The book I’m reading. At a café I don’t need to worry about a thing except what words to type next. I smile occasionally. I pour myself coffee (that I didn’t have to be distracted in order to make). I sit in my corner and spread out my notes and I immerse myself in this alternate reality that I am creating. Occasionally, I question their choice of music.
But right now I’m at home, where the coffee is cheaper, albeit worse; my hair is messy, and nobody cares; and my computer battery won’t die on me because I forgot to bring my chord. (Yes, I speak from experience.) I guess, after all, there really is no place like home.
“Ok,” I tell myself. “Just enjoy. Use your time wisely. Be thankful for this moment with which Colin has gifted you. Keep your mind off the couch and the cozy, inviting thing that is naptime. FOCUS!”
“Ooooo…,” say the voices in my head. “Just look at those crazy birds, fighting over the grape jelly. Remember the time a pig wandered across the front lawn – right there – and into the corn field? And the time a pheasant flew into the living room window, breaking the double-paned glass the week before Thanksgiving and how you threw couch pillows at him to get him out of the house…and he survived? Ha ha! That was funny. You were alone then, too. Well, Lucy was here, but she was napping…” (Oh, a nap sounds good!) No! Focus! Lucy napping = writing time. Quiet time. More precious than gold. An empty house also = writing time…
WRITE, YOU FOOL!
Well, what do you know? I guess I have been writing…albeit in a stream-of-consciousness manner. I like to write like that…the way I talk. Yes, conversations with me tend to wander. Wander…wonder…I wonder what’s for dinner? Shoot. I’m the one who has to decide these things. (That still sometimes takes me by surprise, even after 15 years of marriage.) I wonder when they’ll be home? Oh. There’s the garage door opening.
Shoot. Sure is loud in here. How can a girl write?
PS – This may be a star magnolia! That’s our best guess so far!