Caroline slowly put down her book and looked over to where her husband was snoring softly. “Is he seriously sleeping again?” She thought with mounting frustration. While falling asleep at 10:00pm on a Sunday evening was relatively typical behavior for most men Hank’s age, the fact that Hank was asleep was seriously irritating his wife. “He’s never going to finish…” she thought, her frustration blooming into a fiery ball of anger.
It had been nine months, two hundred and seventy-eight days, to be exact, since Hank had quit his job with Calorline’s support, to fulfill his lifelong desire to write his ‘manuscript’, as he was known to refer to it. If asked, Caroline would undoubtedly refer to it as the biggest mistake of their lives. The first month had gone well, they transformed the second bedroom into Hank’s writing ‘nook’, up at 8am, Hank would spend a minimum of six hours dedicatedly tapping out ideas and brainstorming, Caroline even set up a bulletin board to help him lay out his ideas. Things slowly deteriorated from there. Hank would get out of bed later and later. Six hours in the ‘nook’ became four and then two and then maybe an hour. He would write ten pages, 20 pages and then shred them claiming they didn’t meet his standards.
Then the excuses started. He had to log more hours with his volunteer organization. Invitations to hang out with friends were always accepted, as were lunch invites, movie matinées. Soon runs to the grocery store, two hour walks with the dog, watching the NFL playoffs, crafting the perfect chocolate cake and reading blogs became immeasurably important. “After all, sweetie,” he would claim, “If I don’t live how will I have anything to write?”
After the excuses came the need to ‘switch his schedule’. Instead of writing during the day, Hank decided it would benefit his more night-owl tendencies to harness his energy for writing after the sun went down. Up no earlier than noon, he would putz around the house, ‘finding inspiration’ and then close himself off in his ‘nook’ around 8pm and write until about 4am or so. This lasted two nights.
Now, fast asleep in bed at 10:00pm, his laptop rising and falling precariously on his lap as his breathing grew deeper, Caroline could just kick herself for going along with this whole ‘writing business’. Better yet, she could kick him. Leaning over to do just that, she happened to glance at the backlit screen of his laptop and stopped short. There, in 12pt font, Hank’s cursor was blinking at the end of a short sentence, it was the dedication page of his yet-to-be-written ‘manuscript’. To the love of my life, a woman no writer could hope to capture even with an indefinite number of characters. I love you Caroline.
“Well, he’s off to a good start,” Caroline smiled to herself and decided to give Hank a little more time to reach for his dream.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: I’m jealous of my boyfriend who is snoring softly next to me at this moment. After a full day of walking the pups in a this-feels-more-like-July-than-January kind of day (I think a high of 80 or roundabouts here in Florida) designing a promotional banner for the Wolfdog rescue I chip in with along with Andy and then going over to a friend’s house for some football, food, beers and probably the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten (I forgot Andy’s piece in the fridge, Jax!) summoning the juice to write tonight took a Herculean effort. Do you know what it’s like to have a few drinks AND chocolate cake and not be able to take a little rest? Do you??? I just imagined what it might be like if I were under even more pressure to write. What is it like to really have to HAVE TO write every day? When everything is riding on it, when people are counting on you, when you are counting on you? Makes me think (especially since writing a full-length novel is on my bucket list). Well, enough thinking (and writing) for tonight, time for sleepy.
Love & Squirrels.