Day 16: Couchland in the Cold

posted January 8, 2018

I don’t really know why I am calling this “Day 16.” It’s not like I have written 16 posts in a row, or even 16 posts about Little Blue. Still. It’s comforting me somehow to call this “Day 16.” It makes me feel as though I have a project.

I started writing this series back in mid-November when I was feeling jealous of all my NaNoWriMo pals and also my 30 Poems in November pals, and wishing I were doing something stunt-like instead of waiting for my five beta-readers to get back to me about my novel. I had the idea that I should eat nothing but tofu for 365 days and blog about the recipes. All my friends told me this was a bad idea, so I did not. Instead I just blabbed about my life, focusing on the project that has taken over our backyard. And then I went on Christmas vacation.

I do not like not having a writing project. My novel is with an agent. I cannot touch it. I cannot think about it. My husband and sister are supposed to be reading it now, and it’s taking all my strength not to natter at them constantly about it. Or to not resent them if they don’t have the manuscript open, pen in hand, at all times.

I need a writing project.

Today the heater died. My nine-year-old son was home sick, and I had to get to a faculty meeting at JFK Middle School by 2:45, but I couldn’t leave my sick son alone with the heating guy. Fortunately, Tom was able to come home and spell me so I could get to the meeting, and then to Local Chorus, which has moved to the Montessori School of Northampton. These are projects, of sorts, of course. At JFK, I am part of the School Council, and part of a subcommittee on building a more inclusive school. We are planning a Day of Diversity on Feb. 2 complete with outside and in-house speakers and musicians. It is exciting work, and requires a lot of attention and footwork. Local Chorus is incredibly fulfilling, and also completely exhausts me. Today, there were almost 50 kids between the ages of 5 and 12 in the Music Room of the Montessori School, and we practiced “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “We Shall Overcome,” “Alexander Hamilton,” “If I Had a Hammer” and “This Land is Your Land” for our community’s MLK day next Monday. I came home and needed to sit on the couch and stare into space for 35 minutes. My son threw up again, and I called the doctor and am waiting to hear back. Fortunately, the furnace got fixed.

I mean.

The problem with Local Chorus is that my own kids cannot stop talking to their friends and back-talking me, and so I get mad at them and scold them in front of the other kids. It’s hideous.

But what should I do? Kick them out? No way. Nothing makes me happier than singing with my kids, even if they are mean to me.

Right this second, all four of my family members plus the dog are on our elaborate unmatching kitchen couches, which form a horseshoe shape around a long coffee table. This is my favorite place in the world. I could live in just this 10×10 space, a mini-couchland, as long as someone would feed me. I am typing on my MacBook. The ill son is watching baseball videos on his sister’s chrome book. Sister is sleeping under five quilts. Dog also sleeping next to me. Husband is…on page 379 of my manuscript. So I can’t ever complain about anything ever again. He has forbidden me from bringing up any house projects until Little Blue is completed. And yet I so want to mention to him that this awesome couchland would be even better if we could find the Just-Right projector, mount it on the ceiling along with a pull-down screen and occasionally watch episodes of This Is Us from our respective spots. I restrain myself. He is SO good, reading my novel and all.

Tomorrow, my first writing group resumes. Then on Wednesday, groups 2 and 3. And Friday through Sunday is my January Retreat. What am I going to write about? Of course, I am supposed to be writing songs. I haven’t written a song since “Tyrants Always Fall,” a year ago. I don’t know what else I even want to say, song-wise. All the thoughts that come to me seem more like poems, or excerpts from novels or stories.

I am also decluttering. I gave away four bags and a box to Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I took one of my guitars to the Montessori School and left it there for the semester, and I took another one to Katryna’s house for her to use in HooteNanny. I think my giving away of guitars ought to appease the guitar gods so that they will give me a song. Don’t you?

Maybe I should write a cookbook.

Little Blue has a floor!

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  1. Your post has made me grin on a regular basis. In the next room, my beloved Terri is putting together an IKEA chest of drawers and hearing me chuckle through her wonderful hearing aids. Also we are psyched because we got tickets to your Iron Horse concert this February 3rd. This and the fact that Big Yellow will receive its writers this week makes me feel very warm and happy and somehow more able to deal with the challenges of the Universe today. Thank you dear!

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