Thursday, July 7, 2011

In the Real World

Back When I was dreaming of being a writer (all my  life) I imagined. And My imagination can really roll out a good one, it could have looked different. As a little girl my favorite book that I asked Mom to read over and over and over was Four Little Kittens. In the book the Mother cat who 'half-closed her green eyes' sat up and told the kittens exactly what kind of cats there were. A Ship Cat, An Alley Cat, A Farm Cat - and much later in the story after many hijinks we found out that the forth little kitten was really a House Cat. Well, I really, really am a Writer Cat  Since I spent a lot of time in my room writing stories and daydreaming, time at the beach on a blanket getting sun and further daydreaming, time hunched over the typewriter keys (oh, yes, I SAID typewriter) and daydreaming. I had plenty of time to imagine what the sexy, sassy, lifestyle of a real writer would look like.

The way it Could Have Been . . . 

8:00 -9:00 Wake up in Milan, Paris, Cairo - stretch and open to the door to room service which has delivered strong, fresh, pressed coffee and crepes. 
Evening - Have a lovely dinner out with locals and writer friends also living and traveling on foreign shores and lands and experiencing the good life

And later that Night - Walk casually back to great old, hotel in the heart of the city.
True Nightynite - Order a nap cap and massage from room service
In the wee hours - read until the book hits me in the head

The Way It Really Is .  .
6:00 Wake up with cat meowing in my face
6:30 - Stumble to coffee maker with strong, cheap coffee
7:00 - Let out the Big Dog
7:03 - Let in the Big Dog
7:30 - Clean Up Hair Balls
7:40 - Try to settle into a little Prayer Time. Prayer is good. I like prayer.
7:45 - Walk Big Dog
8:30ish - Answer emails
9:00 - Stare at list of unfinished projects
10:00 - still staring - think about working on Novel
11:00 - Stare at pile of dirty laundry - think about doing laundry
11:05 - Read Facebook posts from friends - post 3 comments
12:00 - realize it's lunch and I should take a break
12:05 - find can of Tuna from the road
1:00 - Think about novel while having press meetings on phone
2:00 - Look schedule for the year
2:15 - Feel like I am forgetting something - IMPORTANT (LIke, should I be out of town?)
2:30 - Talk to Shellie about strange and wonderous ways to increase Book Sales
3:00 - Think about writing novel while returning emails
4:00 - Finally put on a load of laundry and clear dishes
5:00 - Wonder why room service hasn't delivered dinner
5:05 - Oh yeah, realize room service isn't coming
5:15 - Take something out to thaw
5:30 - Realize food is frozen solid - which reminds me of novel
5:35 - Order take out from Mexican Restaurant
5:40 - Let out Big Dog
6:00 - Drive to pick up food with Big Dog
6:30 - Answer emails
7:00 - Talk to sister on the phone
8:00 - Get out laptop to work on novel
8:05 - Let out Big Dog
8:08 - Let in Big Dog
8:15 - Watch PBS Special on National Parks (and then turn channel to watch 4 episodes of Malcolm in the Middle reruns
10:00 - Let out Big Dog for Last Bark
10:10 - Let in Big Dog
10:15 - Clean cat pan
10:30 - Read until the book hits me in the head

Obviously, at some point I have written a few words down. I've completed four novels, a small collection of essays and this wonderful collection of what I actually consider other peoples stories in Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit. The fact is that my real writer's life is so different than I would have imagined back in elementary, middle, or high school that I don't know how I've managed to write a single word down. Ever. (Except for the blessed friends who have tossed me keys to remote rooms, houses, and cabins over the years and said - stay - Write!)

The glamour of my life is missing. No matter what the smoke screen of the website may look like on any given day. I'm trying to remember if I Paid the 'light bill' as we are hit by a power outage and I immediately think it's my fault. At some point I juggle producing and hosting Clearstory Radio and getting to talk to so many of my author friends on the air. Somehow, they are managing to write, eat, walk, talk and chew gum all at the same time. Me - not so much.

I'm still staring off into space. (Is that the middle distance I see?) and thinking about that novel in the works and how many words behind I am.  The City of Truth it is called. And someday in spite of the odds, the business, the money (or the lack thereof), and in spite of mostly myself - I will write every, blessed word of that story. In the real world.

River Jordan is a real writer in the real world whose imagination can take her to far away places where room service never ends and the hotel bookstore is always open.


Herman said...

Despite the budget problems, I think the government should provide grants to writers and emerging writers to live and write in , depending on the season, Paris, New Orleans, Key West, the Greek Islands, or Carmel. We would meet at an outdoor cafe for strong coffee and pastries in the late morning, discuss the literary world and such until mid afternoon. Write until sunset, and meet for strong drink and gourmet food, linger until the proprietor kicks us out to clean. Advise your elected officials that this is a necessary expense to promote great literature.

River Jordan said...

Why Herman, I think you are on to something. I can feel the stirrings of a great inspirational life!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

The real world is more amusing than the dream. In the real world, I check my email too much. Best of luck writing.

Fallible Me said...

I vote yes for the grant - and loved this post. It left me with a grin that hurt my cheeks, and a visual of a snarky, well-meaning book beating River's pretty head, reminding her that with sleep comes a brand new day (and a new golden sunrise to write through - or glare at the coffee).

Bren McClain said...

Yes ma'am, I know. You will write every blessed word. And we'll read them. Every blessed one. Because in the real world, we need them.

River Jordan said...

Stacy - thanks for the luck wish. I do so appreciate it. It all writerly seriousness I've been busy working on getting Praying for Strangers into the hands and hearts of readers because I believe in it so much but that novel is knocking on my door loud and strong. Good old Fabulous Fallible Me, my sister says it's a great way to fall asleep when a book hits you in the head - well, that you're holding! And BREN - you know how much I appreciate you and your support!

daniel pattinson said...

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Tina said...

There is a pillowcase with your initials on it waiting at The Writer's Retreat. Come and get it.

Shellie Tomlinson said...

Apparently, Rivuh, we need to have more of those marketing chats so we can move enough books to make these "how it should be" dreams come true, at least occasionally!

That said, I vote with Herman!

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, your "real" day as a writer sounds fantastic to me. Take it from somebody who spent her Friday workday in a cubicle completing a 6-part "mid-year review" in which I ignored all of my pressing work priorities to explain to my company why I am a valuable asset who should continue to receive a paycheck...a "real" writer's day is a blessing.

Minus the hairballs. (I am lucky in that my fuzzy alarm clock is just about hairball free.)

By the way, I met you at the Dahlonega Literary Festival and bought your novels there. LOVED them!! Can't wait for your next novel.

River Jordan said...

Tina now where is that place? :)
Shellie I wanted you to know I PRAY more than 5 mins. I Not that it matters but 5 mins is a little short.
Trish, thank you for reminding me what it was like when I was working in an office and dealing with much of the same. Working on a new novel now - in between hairballs.

River Jordan said...

Tina now where is that place? :)
Shellie I wanted you to know I PRAY more than 5 mins. I Not that it matters but 5 mins is a little short.
Trish, thank you for reminding me what it was like when I was working in an office and dealing with much of the same. Working on a new novel now - in between hairballs.

Susan Cushman said...

"The City of Truth" sounds like the perfect title for a writer who always tells it true--in fiction and nonfiction. I'm cheering for you to carve out time to write that one, River! Great post.

River Jordan said...

Thanks Susan. I hope to carve out time the way you have this year. Very inspiring. And Beachy!

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Great post,
I am totally agree with Stacy's comment,
Real world is more amusing then the dream.