April 25, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

So, some self-righteous, sanctimonious, smug woman on a writing forum made a comment about how an agent must not be married and have kids and therefore has time to blog. I’m so sick and tired of married women with kids acting like they are the ONLY ones with busy lives. Honey, you aren’t. You’re not that important, and the world does not revolve around you and your kids, although YOUR world might. Get over yourself. There are plenty of people who are unmarried and childless who are making the world a better place, and to give you a world in which to raise your kids.

Mia King is a mother and a writer, and has one of the most balanced outlooks on her writing and family life that I’ve ever come across. It’s so refreshing to hear a writer who is a woman and a mother not use her kids as an excuse not to write. Men rarely make that excuse – although, when they do, it’s “my wife won’t let me” – which makes me want to barf. Are you over 21? An adult? There’s no such thing as a spouse “letting” or “not letting” unless you’re a major wimp or in an abusive situation that you should leave. Again, this is an example of a person refusing to take responsibility for his or her own life.

Mia TAKES responsibility. She balances. She knows that a career she loves does not have to endanger the family she loves. Go, Mia! May your success grow book to book, because you certainly deserve it! Jill Shalvis is another writer who keeps the balance going well – and also has a sense of humor about it.

Mothers who say they want to write should look to those two women as examples of positive ways to balance the writing life with the family life.

Work was fine yesterday. New York was unpleasant – too many people in too small a space, everyone trying to get somewhere. The usual. I’m booked for a couple of weeks when I get back from my trips in May – so that’s good. Pay some bills, replace some money used for the car.

Good thing I don’t have to go in until tonight – Metro North is down – again! Tonight, I’m taking my friend J. to one of the events at the PEN World Voices conference. We’re going early enough to stop at the Algonquin for drinks first (provided the trains run properly).

Verizon came to fix the landline yesterday and screwed up the DSL. When I called to complain, they said it was not possible for me to have working DSL without a dial tone. Then what have I been doing since last Friday? IMAGINING my time on line?

I’m so tired of idiots.

No response from Icelandiar. I am even less impressed with them than I was 24 hours ago.

Trying to get some writing done, after I scour the job boards and see if there are pitches to get out.

I’m offline for the next few days – planned. I’m going to Maine to visit my grandmother –and to do laundry – because who knows when the laundry rooms will be fixed in the building? Not a complaint, mind you – they are working their butts off to get the building back to rights. And they have to scour everything with bleach, because the smells have traveled up the old dumbwaiter shafts (one of those round stick-to-the-wall closet things helps). I checked out a few Laundromats in the area – they’re kind of dirty, and I’m not too happy with them. My friend, at whose house I often do laundry, lost his whole laundry room in the flood and has to rip everything out a renovate, too. I can’t take it to work, because there’s too much show laundry (and I don’t REALLY want to haul laundry on a three hour round trip commute on the train). I’ll hand wash as much as I can here at home, and we’ll play the rest by ear.

I’m doing my pre-Derby article that will appear next week on FemmeFan. Finally, I can reveal my Derby horse – I promised I’d stay quiet until Derby week, so the horse could do its work and mature without additional pressure.

The Plum essays were sent out for a final proof. It looks good, and I’m excited about the book’s release in June. Perfectly Plum – you can pre-order it from Amazon.

Have a great rest-of-the-week, all, and, hopefully, both landline and DSL will be working when I return.

Devon

PS  There are a lot of great moms and writing moms who read this blog.  Needless to say, I do not mean YOU — although you’re probably the ones who then worry you’re being too self-centered when you’re not.  I’m fortunate enough to have attracted a group of generous spirits here.

19 Comments

  1. Oh, heck, I use my kids as an excuse all the time! 🙂

    People who balance are always an inspiration to me.

    Have fun in Maine! And I do hope everything is working for you when you get back!

  2. You’re lucky to get to spend time with your grandmother. Some of us wait until it’s too late. Getting your laundry done in a clean place is an added bonus.

    I agree with Lara, kids can suck up free time, but if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way.

  3. Enjoy Maine, dear! And the Derby – what a neat week ahead of you!

  4. Devon,

    I am hereby marking this as my “favorite quote” from you:

    “Men rarely make that excuse – although, when they do, it’s “my wife won’t let me” – which makes me want to barf.”

    Classic!!!!

    truly,

    Sylvia C.

  5. I couldn’t agree more about women with kids making excuses. We *all* have busy lives. Grr.

    Have a great time in Maine!

  6. Have a safe trip!

    I’ve been remarkably ignorant of the Derby hopefuls this year. Must remedy that…

  7. Hmmm, I probably mention my kids too much, but then again, I don’t have much interaction with grow-ups. *g*
    Sorry to hear of your laundry troubles. If you’re ever in SC, you’re invited to do your laundry at my house.
    I hope you have a wonderful time with your Grandmother in Maine.

  8. My kids are grown, but I could still probably use them as an excuse for something. Since they never stopped me much when they DID live here, though, that would be a stretch. More often they inspired me.

    Here’s to clean clothes, a great visit and everything working once you get home.

  9. Devon, I love this post. See what a rant will get ya?

    When my son was 2, I tried an experiment for a few days and it stuck. He’s now ten. I agreed with myself that when I got an invitation to anything, or when I returned a phone call three days late, that I would never use my son as an excuse. I really hated that exercise in the beginning cuz i really wanted to “look good.” Now, on the other side of it all, when I backslide now and then, and it feels much worse than not looking good. Integrity vs. Looking Good.

    What do you think the world would be like if we were all 100% responsible? Because we are you know. Somehow it became socially correct to blame others and our circumstances, but really, all that ever does is cement our half lives.

    Have a great trip!

    L

  10. Have a great trip to Maine!

  11. Lisa Gates, I love that quote: “all that ever does is cement our half lives.” The people who complain about not having time are simply in the ‘refusal-of-the-call’ part of their hero’s journey. It’s hard to listen to whining (I know!) but if you listen to them a bit and accept that your own ability to balance may be theirs someday – just not now – it might make the whining less grating.

  12. I don’t know how well I keep the balance, but I do know that you have to have a sense of humor about things or you might as well pack it in! In any case, we’re all busy, kids or not, and it’s about priorities. For me, writing is a huge priority and always will be. Thanks for the mention!

  13. We all have challenges we need to work around. Yeah, writing with kids isn’t easy, but it’s certainly do-able. I cut out t.v. and don’t care if my house is spotless or not. You can’t have it all! And frankly, I’d much rather write than clean house! 😉

    I firmly believe that balance is the key to just about everything in life.

  14. Man I hate when I think I’ve posted a comment and then I didn’t… have a great trip! And yeah, finding balance with children and writing is difficult, but not impossible. 🙂

  15. Have a great time in Maine!
    And shoot, I’ve been so lazy lately I’ve been using my (one) live plant as an excuse not to write. This is absolutely right – if you want to write, you find a way!
    And that “My wife won’t let me” is a riot.

  16. Hehehe, I read that comment you’re referring to.

    I think the prevailing attitude among some people is that single women live for their careers, that everything they do is either 1) to advance their career, or 2) to find a mate. Change the gender to single men and it’s 1) to advance their career, or 2) to get laid. Consider 1) and 2) not necessarily in that order.

    I often regret that I didn’t get serious about writing fiction 20 years ago. Sadly, I have no reason except for enjoying life too much to sit in one place and write about it. My children had nothing to do with it. It was all me.

  17. I hope you had a lovely time in Maine and that things start to work as normal again when you get back.

  18. Devon, thank you for such a nice (and generous) shout-out! I just came by to say hi and was shocked but so pleased to see my name right there! But I must say, you give me too much credit. I blame my kids all the time for things that I don’t get done (it’s just so convenient, even if it’s not always true!) but at the end of the day I know that if I want something to happen (or not), it’s up to me.

    I just read a great article in GOOD HOUSEKEEPING about Kate Winslet, who’s an actress and a mom. One thing she says is that she considers active a privilege, to be able to do it for a living. She doesn’t take it lightly, and she does what she needs to do to make it work. I feel that same way about writing. And BECAUSE of my kids, it’s even more of a blessing – not only is it a privilege to write (we’re still working on the writing for a living part, but we’re getting there), but writing means I get to stay home and be with my kids instead of working in the office or flipping burgers at McDonald’s and having half my paycheck go to day care or private school. I can stay in my PJ’s all day (which I often do). How great is that? Something worth fighting for and working for, that’s for sure. So when I get whiny, which I often do, I whine and then I get over it and get back to work. If publication and family are what you want, then go for it! You can definitely make it happen – I did!

  19. It looks like you really had a nice time. notem6715


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