I have SEVEN–yeah, S-E-V-E-N–carpool pickup and drop-off times today. Five kids, three different schools not to mention trips to and from the dance studio. You know, JUST YOUR AVERAGE DAY.
Did I mention I also waitress two nights a week? Oh, yes, I pour a mean bottle of Greek wine. Would you like hummus with that?
I actually love being a server.
I like the noise and the hustle-bustle of a busy night, chatting with the regulars, laughing with my coworkers. Also, being a server is pretty much like getting paid for what I already do at home: feeding hungry mouths, chatting non-stop and making peoples happy. Doesn’t get much better than that.
I mean, sometimes there are Difficult Customers but I’ve found most problems can be solved with a genuine smile, a gentle voice and good, old-fashioned effort.
The funny thing is, I get my best writing ideas when I’m not Focusing.On.Writing. Several key insights in my book came to me literally in THE MIDDLE of a shift at the restaurant. I scurried into the kitchen and jotted the ideas down in my servers notepad. Then I tucked it away in my purse and went back to my customers.
I used to wish I had All Kinds of Time dedicated to writing. I used to compare myself to Big Time novelists who had writing cottages and writing cabins and took long “Writer’s Retreats” to write.
I don’t have that luxury or privilege. I write from the trenches. I write in the margins and liminal spaces of my life. I carry notebooks everywhere I go, make audio messages for myself on my iPhone, scribble ideas in my little day-planner (YES I LIKE PAPER PLANNERS WHAT OF IT?). I’m constantly trailing bits and pieces of paper, sticky notes, scribbled-on envelopes.
My writing process is messy and in-between-all-the-betweens.
And somehow, that’s OK. I’ve come to realize that I’m ALWAYS writing–even when I’m NOT. I work at writing by not working at it. Does that make sense?
In fact, when I TRY to sit down and WRITE FOR REALS, I get stuck. I get bored. Distracted. I can only sit still for two hours before going out of my mind. I have to move. Walk. Do Other Things.
I’m not kidding.
More writers should love laundry. I’m serious. I turn on NPR “Fresh Air” or “All Things Considered” or “The TED Hour” and I fold laundry. I can’t tell how you HOW MANY ideas have come to me while folding laundry.
Yesterday, I did like 80 million loads of laundry. Or something like that. I lost track after 50 million, if you MUST KNOW. Apparently, the five children require clean underwear and socks everyday WHO KNEW?
Speaking of socks, I feel a MASSIVE TANGENT COMING ON: Does anyone else HATE matching socks? OK, good. For reals. WHAT THE HECK PEOPLE WHO MAKE SOCKS. Can’t we just have White-One-Size-Fits-All Socks??
But no. We must have Cute Socks. We must have “Day of the Week” socks that require MATCHING days. Because you can’t wear a THURSDAY sock on the left foot and a Sunday sock on the right foot because ALL THE WORLD WILL END if we don’t wear two Thursday socks. On a Thursday.
Me: “Jorie, at least these are TWO THURSDAY socks. They are matching! Yay!”
Jorie: “But it’s not Thursday.”
Me: “Well, it’s gonna be Thursday tomorrow so just pretend. Can we pretend? Can we? CAN WE PRETEND OMG???”
Jasiel (chiming in): “Jorie. Put on the socks. See? I wear mismatchy socks because I’m ALL FOR Fashion.”
Me: “Fashion! Yes! This is TOTALLY about fashion.”
Jorie: “No. I caaaaan’t!”
Cue weeping and wailing.
This is when I pull out the “when I was a little girl” card.
Me: “This is not the end of the world, Jorie, wearing mismatched socks. Is NOT. The End. I should know. I LITERALLY lived at the end of the world. Is it 1988? No. It is not. Is the Anti-Christ coming to arrest your parents? NO! SO PUT ON THE MISMATCHED SOCKS.”
Jorie: “Ok, but can I climb into the Sock Bin and just see if there’s matching socks? One more time?”
You know you have a lot of kids when you have a SOCK BIN. Not a sock drawer. A BIN. A veritable Mount McSockery that the children can actually CLIMB.
Me: “Yes, go climb Mount McSockery. But I’m only giving you three minutes and if you can’t find matching socks then you are wearing the Thursday socks. Today. On Wednesday.”
And that, my friends, is my life.
Now, please go buy my book because IF YOU WANT ME TO WRITE A SECOND BOOK, Imma need to hire some help again. I need YOU. And I need you to tell all your friends. Because I don’t have $200,000 like Mark Driscoll to BUY MY WAY onto the NYT bestseller list, mwah-ha-ha. But I have socks. I have THURSDAY SOCKS!!!!! YIPEEEEE.