1. Before becoming parents K and I were super excited about the whole ‘kids under two fly free‘ rule on airlines. We’re going to travel like crazy until he’s two we said. There is a good reason flights for children under two are free. Because no one in their right mind should be traveling on the regular with a child under two, and airlines are banking you won’t be making a habit of it once you’ve tried it once, particularly alone. I have no redeeming words to say about my flight home from Florida except to say that if you feel time just goes too fast with your child, get on a plane for a one hour flight and watch the seconds turn to hours. I will save you the gory details that required two outfit changes [both him, and me] plus a seat cover change and my hair coated in apple sauce [not the best look when greeting ones husband standing with balloons and flowers at the gate] but a brief PSA: when you have a child of the toddling sort, never ever take a window seat particularly one wedged in a three seater row with two sleeping passengers next to you. Always take the aisle seat. Always. And Waleed? You owe me.
2. Though I had access to television [including BRAVO!] and internet while staying at my parent’s place, the desire to use either was limited at best. At first it was simply too hectic with trips to and from the hospital, and all the other things to take care of when a family is in crisis, but once things settled down it just felt nicer to unwind with conversation and a cup of chai instead of with a screen. In the evenings once people went to sleep I found myself reading and ended up reading four books during my time there. Disconnecting from screens of all sorts I also felt more connected with Waleed than I thought possible. While I always play with him and engage with him, there is something to be said for the quick e-mail one checks or replies to in the middle of a feeding. Disconnecting felt freeing. I felt more peaceful, more in tune to my thoughts and feelings than I have in a long long time. Must remember to unplug more often. [Said while blogging, I realize]
3. Now that I’m home I have time to pick out the winners of the give-away I had running in May. Debating posting a blog about it [since who but those who won will be interested in reading it] but in any case will pick by the end of the week and send e-mails out to all those who won by this Friday.
4. My agent gave me feedback on my manuscript a while back and while I agreed with her advice I felt at a loss on what to do about it. Each day for the past month I sat at the computer dumbstruck as to how to proceed. Nothing felt right. I would write pages, and wish for words on actual paper to feel the satisfying crunch of said paper as I crumbled the detested words and flung them into a trashcan [hitting delete, no matter how forcefully, is just not as satisfying]. During my time in Florida the last thing on my mind was my book since more pressing matters were obviously at hand. So it figures that it was then, as I drove to run an errand my mind running over grocery lists and Target tasks that my protagonist spoke to me as though from out of the blue [inspiration it seems, always does strike, like lightening]. Through no effort on my own, she came to me, shared her life so clearly I could see it unfold before my eyes and I realized ofcourse! How could it have ended any other way? I had no pen or paper on me and all too aware of my swiss cheese memory of late I turned to my cell phone and dictated it into my text message voice activated system and sent myself approximately 20 texts with the ending. While there is something to be said for the hard work and effort that goes into writing, those brief moments where you are just struck with vision and the words flow like water are the magical moments you live for.
5. And smartphones, it appears, while possessing the undoubted flaw of making one overly plugged in, are helpful when inspired without writing utensils it seems.
6. As I sit down to put the final polishing on my manuscript, I realize there are benefits of being at this in between stage. The world and its possibilities are limitless. No one has said no yet. Everyone might say yes. Each book we read, whether its one we savor and read again on stormy days, or one we skim and toss back in the library return bin were borne of blood, sweat and tears. [Generally speaking, I don’t know Snooki’s writing process] Yet when we set about to write as an unknown we toil on our own dime and our reserves of hope. Sometimes I read blog posts and articles of how dire things are in publishing and get disheartened. But- just the other day as I browsed a bookstore I found three paperbacks written by debut novelists, well received and well ranked on the best seller lists. A reminder that dire does not mean impossible. That while I am not guaranteed to succeed, I am guaranteed to fail if I don’t try at all. I came across an old post I wrote in 2007 before I had a finished manuscript and an agent who believed in me, before I really put pen to paper. The same fears? Ever present today. If we lived our lives not doing because we were afraid- what a different life we’d live. A firm reminder to me to not worry about the future but to focus on now, the business of getting this writing done and making sure all that I have control over I do to the best of my abilities; once I’ve done all I can, what will be will be.
Keep walking. Though there’s no place to get to. Don’t try to see through the distances. That’s not for human beings. Move within but don’t move the way that fear makes you move” Rumi