“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.”
- Steven Wright
Winter has firmly asserted itself with a thick blanket of snow that recently had Halifax socked in for half a day. While the Business Guy toiled with the neighbour’s snow blower (“No, honey, really. You just stay warm while I dig us out. Really.”), I knitted my fourth hat in four days, reasoning with myself that a) last winter while the Business Guy was away on business trips, I did the bulk of the shovelling, b)I have stitched, with love, four Christmas presents for friends and family, and c) I have written four fresh pages in as many days. Seems about equal. Truth be told, the hats have garnered most of my attention as I plotted colour combinations and stripe patterns appropriate to the recipient. Maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling slightly uneasy.
But why should I feel uneasy? Since September I’ve been writing hard and fast, cranking out nearly 100 pages of fiction. I’ve got Novel/Part I tucked safely away in three separate files, including web storage for safety (thanks to all for your greatsuggestions), and I’m well into Part II. Of course I see the need to come up for air and think about what’s next, but the working mother in me can’t help but worry about Time Wasted. After all, ten short months are all that remain of my writing sabbatical.
If a friend were in the same situation I’d be lecturing her on the virtues of Time Spent, not Wasted; about how sometimes a writer needs to stare out the window, or walk the dog, or knit a hat. And I would expect my friend to lap up my wisdom and make the best of staring out the window for a while. I needed that very lecture, so I turned to Mary, who assured me that once the hats dry up I’ll discover “deep wells of words waiting to be poured out by the pailful.”
With her wisdom ringing in my ears I settled on a colour for the final stripe of my brother’s Christmas present. And then I surprised myself by writing, almost in one breath, an entire, brand-new short story.
Who needs a hat?