I know I have been rather quiet on my blog, and to tell you that I’ve been busy is an understatement. Summer vacation came sooner than I expected, and with my daughter home from school, getting the same number of hours of writing each day didn’t happen. (no surprise for any of you who have children.) That said, I did enjoy the many extra hours I got to spend with her, baking cookies, taking walks at the park, seeking out anything wabi-sabi, playing board games, losing to her at mini golf (seriously? High score doesn’t mean I won?), going out for ice cream, playing dress-up, and having fancy tea parties in her room where we pretend we are the oldest and dearest of friends.
Still, the writer in me craved a few hours of time on my laptop. And when I claimed those precious hours, the sweet voice of my daughter asked…
“Aren’t you done working yet?
I let you write in peace for a whole half hour. Isn’t that enough?
Geez, Mommy, you seriously look like you could use a break!
While you’re waiting for your characters to talk to you, could I sing?
If you name one of your characters after me I’ll let you have 15 more minutes of quiet.
CRASH in the kitchen followed by, “Everything is nearly OK in here. Don’t bother interrupting your work to check…
The dog told me he wants you to take him for a walk. Can I come along? We could stop at the playground for a couple of hours. Wouldn’t that be fun?”
I managed to squeeze in two hours of writing time each day and happily gave the rest of day to my little girl. “Focus,” I told myself. “Make a list of your goals and stick to it.
I gave myself the gift of the Kidlit Summer School classes. Weeks of daily lessons on the ins and outs of plotting from a cornucopia of talented writers. I read each lesson twice, highlighted the points I wanted to work into my writing, and then spent my precious two hours a day at my laptop—fingers flying on hot keys.
After the sad, last day of Kidlit Summer School, I flew with my family to California for the wedding of my sister-in-law, followed by the daunting task of emptying my childhood house. With the passing of my father, this task took precedence. If you are picturing a typical family home filled with typical household furniture and array of knickknacks–stop the vision.
The house I grew up in was far from typical. (Something I never realized until my first play date when I was seven.) My father was an astrophysicist by day and a master violin maker by night. Around the holidays, he lived in his printmaking shop, printing 20 color block prints on vintage presses. My mother, a scientific illustrator, drew the color separation images on wood blocks that my father later engraved. Dad had other interests and hobbies which filled bookshelf after bookshelf in our home – two layers thick per shelf. Bookshelves were my parents’ answer to wallpaper (mine, too). Dad worked beneath our home – that is to say, in place of a standard basement one might use for a TV room, recreation room, storage space, laundry room, Dad designed our home with two levels of basements. (I thought that was normal, too.)
The basements, like the underside of an iceberg, was where Dad kept his scientific machinery for his work along with a metal machine shop and wood shop.
So, for the last three years, my sister and I have been working to find homes for everything, not to mention hiring an industrial auction house to identify the equipment for sale. As of last week, the house is empty and nearly ready to go on the market. Somewhere in the experience of rummaging through my mother’s and father’s lifetime of possessions, lives a book I need to write, maybe several books.
The jist of this blog post: I’m back and will try to connect with you more frequently. I’ve missed our chats.
Leslie Leibhardt Goodman