Monday, June 28, 2010

Ain't No Cure for the Summertime Blues

Well, actually, there is. It's called 'August 17th' and 'August 23rd.' Those are the dates on which the kiddos return to school.

Summer always presents challenges, some summers more than others. This one is proving to be quite thorny and troublesome. Probably because I've got something that I really, really want to get done. The challenge is, of course, balancing family activities with my own schedule and figuring out how to get things done. It's the kind of scheduling at which I am particularly bad. The kind of scheduling where Child A has to be in San Francisco from noon to four Monday through Friday. It's a trip that takes an hour without traffic to accomplish. Care to hazard a guess how many times I can travel north on 101 into San Francisco without hitting traffic? My alternative route is via surface streets, but also includes a stretch on a street where I am convinced I am going to hit a pedestrian someday because there are waaaaay too many things to pay attention to - pedestrian crossings where the pedestrians stroll into traffic without waiting to see if you actually see them, cars pulling out from parking spaces, cars that suddenly stop to wait for another car to pull out of a parking space, MUNI buses that half-pull out of a lane to pick up/let off passengers then pull out into traffic WITHOUT looking (I kid you not, I've almost been hit by more MUNI buses than I care to count), traffic lights that line up so I'm seeing a green light that's really down the street and not seeing the red light right in front of me, etc. It's a scary stretch.

Anyway, what consistently gets me is trying to figure out how to organize my time when it's broken up into small segments - an hour or two in the morning, then an hour in the car, an hour or two at home, then an hour (at least) in the car. This summer is easier (in a way) since all of Child B's summer activities involve away-camps. When home, Child B spends most of his time skulking around on the computer, chatting with friends on Facebook and shooting things in online games - obviously, Child B is a teenager, so I'm not juggling two schedules of summer activities as I've done for the past several years.

And I know it doesn't sound like my time has severe limitations on it, but I find it very difficult to let myself get involved in working on the novel when I know I will have to cut it short just as I'm getting deeply connected to it. It's like I can't let myself go into that deep, deep creative space because I know I won't be able to stay there until I run out of oxygen.

In past years, it hasn't bothered me that much. I've put the writing to the side and gone about my mom/chauffeur duties with the idea that any work I get done during the summer is just icing on the cake. This summer is different, though, because I have a novel that is almost finished and that I want to be able to start sending out to agents in the fall. It doesn't make me feel very relaxed, but more like a ping pong ball shuttling back and forth from one thing to the next.

It'll pass. I know it will. And then it'll suddenly be the fall, the kids will be back in school, and I won't be for the first time in three years, and I'll have all the time in the world to work on the novel. How much ya want to bet I'll be complaining about having too much time then?

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Ok, I have a suggestion. Can you work offsite? Take the laptop, find a good, quiet coffee shop or library near Child A's San Fran location and work there. It cuts your driving down 2 hours a day (smaller carbon footprint, too!) and gives you time to work. Even if it's hard at first, it might be worth a try!