September 23, 2010

Alone

What I’m Reading Today: More Sherlock Holmes.

Like any family with kids, our mornings are hectic. My husband Steve gets up first and showers and when he’s done I get up and shower and he gets breakfast for the kids. While they eat I feed the cat and sometimes fold laundry and do a quick email check. When they’re done, I get them dressed one at a time and French-braid my daughter’s hair while Steve brushes their teeth. Steve takes them to school in the morning (I pick them up in the afternoon because Steve works late), so they’re out the door shortly after seven.

And that’s where I am right now. I’m ready to go to work, but I’ve got a half an hour of me time. I’m not a morning person, so this little gap is pure heaven. I use it to read a New Yorker story or think about writing or something like that (though sometimes I don’t get my shower in till now).

Today is one of those rainy fall days that make me introspective. We’ve been really dry, and so the moisture is a welcome relief (I can hear my daughter, “What’s ‘moisture,’ Mommy?”). First time I’ve ever seen it ~ we had an electric-bright short rainbow with the morning sunrise.

Because I was raised on a ranch, I grew up with a lot of alone time. Now I know I was intensely lonely, but at the time I didn’t. Fish don’t know that they live in water. And because I was alone a lot, I need some alone time as an adult. I get a lot less of it nowadays, but I still crave it and have to demand it sometimes.

This penchant of mine suits writing really well. I think if you’re someone who has a hard time being alone (like Steve), you’d have a much harder time writing. You need space to create worlds. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron calls this a weekly date with yourself to let your kid out to play.

Questions of the Day: Did you have a lot of alone time as a kid? How has it affected your adult life? Your writing?

2 comments:

Pembroke Sinclair said...

I was never alone as a child (unless I wanted to be), but I completely understand the need to be alone as a writer and parent. When the family is around, you feel obligated to take care of them. Those little moments of me time are fabulous, even if you're not writing!

Tamara said...

Well said! When you're in the presence of others, all your energy is focused outward and drained from you. (Virginia Woolf has a great description of this from the mother to the father in To the Lighthouse.) This is not necessarily a bad thing, but to just sit there and not be "on" - ah, heaven.