With respect to Socrates, my unexamined life is not worth living. The front room is the face we show everyone but we hide our true self in the back room.
I like my weekends. Number one reason: my wife. While I try to write and wind up getting distracted she cooks and bakes. She loves to cook and bake. And I love to eat what she cooks and bakes. So she continues to cook and bake… for me.
How do I repay such generosity? The early years of marriage it appears are full of questions like those.
There is never enough time in the weekend. If you take in account a healthy dose of goofing off. I spent six hours watching the fifth season of Burn Notice. (Special mention to Jason Treacy, who wrote season 5, episode 12, an episode culminating the hard work put in early on in the season) I haven’t binge watched like that since seeing the entire first season of Orphan Black with my patient bride. Once in a while we’d watch a show, catching up on my collection in no particular order: Barney Miller, Oz, The Bob Newhart Show, Joey, The New Adventures of Old Christine, The Ben Stiller Show. This doesn’t include watching Aaron Sorkin’s TV oeuvre randomly throughout each year. There are more box sets to get to and she is on the journey with me.
I look forward to the weekend so I can write but a tiny amount of “good” writing actually gets written. Should I be satisfied with a decent paragraph each weekend? It would be acceptable if I could decide what I want my mess of pages to be. But that changes daily. Even the type of format is up for debate. Every time I start a new conversation I think I should be veering towards playwright material. But I know I can do more with a novel. And though I feel strongest writing dialogue, it isn’t strong enough to stand on its own.
A couple of hours ago I was in a good groove. That sweet spot you hit when the writing clicks. Like other sweet spots it would be lunacy to leave it and expect it’ll be there when you return.
I am a lunatic. I turned over and began reading Peter Hessler’s book River Town. So well-written. You can spot a journalist when a random sentence on any page comes to life. Like how I felt reading Rebecca West’s Black Lamb Grey Falcon. Not one wasted sentence. Like the screenplay for Jaws. You have complete confidence in the writer.
Of course, fifty pages and 90 minutes later the sweet spot had long left me but of course I did not realize it until I sat to write again, looking over my last paragraph, completely out of sorts on how to continue. I tried a new paragraph. Nothing but evaporated inspiration.
The Back Room is a suitable training ground. A well-deserved kick in the ass when it would be easier to give it a miss for another day. It is important to stay in the moment, keep the pot in a slow simmer throwing in what comes to mind at times bringing the ladle up for a taste. And just like that, my wife’s creativity in the kitchen is not so different than mine. Both of us playing mad scientist with our passions.
A quick break to eat what tastes very much like love. We cuddle on the sofa and relax before going back to our creative corners.
After one more episode of Burn Notice. Or two.