A Day In The Life of a Professional Writer

8:00 AM Drop offspring off at daycare. Feel excessively guilty when offspring cries because your job isn’t paid well, doesn’t have normal hours, or contribute anything concrete to humanity aside from the occasional laugh.

8:20 AM Eat breakfast while your computer glares at you menacingly from the corner.

8:30 AM Continue eating breakfast so that you can justify not writing for a little while longer.

8:40 AM Still eating breakfast to avoid writing. Reflect on whether writing is making you fat. Reminisce briefly about the days when you were single, not pregnant and used to have Baileys and milk in lieu of food to fuel your writing.

8:45 AM Still musing about booze. Conclude that it is a good thing that you are pregnant otherwise you might be an alcoholic.

9:00 AM Begin to write. Or rather do the pre writing step which is thinking of words to write.

9:07 AM If you were drunk all of your ideas wouldn’t seem so awful.

9:08 AM Shake off notions of being an alcoholic and begin to type words.

9:50 AM Review the work you’ve created so far.

9:51 AM Realize you are nowhere near your word count for the day and collapse into a puddle of remorse on the floor. Briefly contemplate becoming rodeo clown. Seems like a less painful profession.

10:00 AM Give up staring at your computer screen in favor of changing your sheets for the third time this week. You finished up all the other housework when you were avoiding writing yesterday.

10:25 AM Return briefly to computer, type a couple hundred more words.

11:17 AM Stew in a cloud of crippling self-doubt. Compare yourself, your work and your career to every other famous and well respected writer you can think of. Debate becoming an accountant. They always own such nice pants.

11:20 AM Call whatever family member is home and available. Keep them on the phone for as long as possible by asking increasingly personal and inappropriate questions.

12:20 PM When family member hangs up phone abruptly, attempt to decide whether there are any more words to be written. Conclude there are none. Eat again to mask your complete lack of productivity.

12:40 PM Prepare and drink a cup of coffee to kick start your creative juices.

1:00 PM The coffee has merely kick started your bladder. Make second trip to the washroom in half an hour.

1:05 PM While in the bathroom, taking the full minute and a half to wash your hands as recommended by health agencies everywhere, you recall that Ernest Hemingway used to drink seventeen cups of coffee in a day.

1:07 PM Stand in kitchen and debate whether you have enough grounds to brew the staggering amount of coffee required to fuel true literary genius.

1:10 PM Choose to settle for literary mediocrity and only make one additional cup of coffee because seventeen cups would have you flying around the room like a rapidly deflating balloon.

2:20 PM How did it get so late?! There is only an hour and a half until the daycare pick up time and you have accomplished nothing. NOTHING!

2:30 PM Type furiously to make up for the fact that you spent a day being a lay about rather than caring for your adoring, sweet offspring who want nothing more than to spend every second whether awake or asleep in your presence.

3:30 PM Success! You have more than met your word count for the day. Celebrate by calling mother to whinge about your life choices. And her life choices. Because if she had chosen a literary agent to be your godmother and been a celebrated author herself, then your life today would be simpler.

3:45 PM Reread all of your work from the past week and a half and decide that it’s rubbish.

4:00 PM Pick up lovable offspring from daycare. Wish fervently that you had put on socks before leaving the house as you watch the other parents remove their shoes at the entrance. Frantically and surreptitiously brush crumbs from breakfast from your shirt. Silently make a pact with yourself to do better and wear something aside from pyjamas in public tomorrow.

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Flying Electronics and Other Talents of My Mother’s

Does anyone remember Flava-flav?

Flava Flav

This man? Who has ingeniously sidestepped the issue of strangers asking for the time by wearing it around his neck? (Photo Credit : heidibenj.blogspot.com)

He’s a national treasure. Along the same lines as Trump, or that guy who tries to bankrupt rich people by selling them tickets to a nonexistent festival.

Once upon a time, Flava-flav had a reality show. My sister and I loved it. And by loved it, I mean we were university students home for the summer in a place whose night life consisted of going out to the Dairy Queen and searching nearby bushes for our indoor cat when it got out of the house. Brampton is dead sexy, what can I say?

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The place I grew up is this man in city form. Every young person’s idea of a good time. (Photo Credit Twitter)

There wasn’t a whole lot of choice when it came to entertainment.

So there we were crashed out on the couch, and we stumbled upon a Flava-flav’s “Flava Of Love” marathon. I don’t need to tell you just how awesome twenty women competing for this wizened, Viking hat and clock wearing man’s affections are. It was akin to discovering a buffet of deep fried Mars bars. A terrible idea but to a young person, 25 seems ancient so who cares if your bad choices lead to a heart attack in four years? You should dig in. Flava-flav = great. Endless Flava-flav= the best day ever.

My mother did not agree. However my entire life, she abided by Barbara Coloroso’s advice, the former nun’s mantra is “If it’s not morally threating or life threatening: leave it be.”

During the first episode, my mother huffed at the television. In the same manner of an alligator, subtly warning its prey that they’re about to become lunch. The second episode she roared, with such primeval anger that I’m going to continue with the alligator theme – “There must be something better to watch- you change that channel now!”

It may have been the episode where one of the girls takes a laxative and poops on the floor during the Flav-a-flav equivalent of the Bachelor rose ceremony.

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Every facet of the show renders it a timeless classic. (Photo Credit Wikipedia.com)

With the same stupidity and naiveté as tourists, my sister and I ignored the danger signs and continued enjoying the low brow delights that only reality TV can provide.

The third episode is when my mother lost it, and ate the television whole like she was some sort of character out of a children’s story.

Not actually.

But my mom did step in front of the TV and bellow “If you don’t turn this garbage off now, I’m going to chuck the TV.”

Now she had our attention.

  1. Because in addition to being extremely fit, my mom was and still is freakishly strong. I joke about her bench pressing the neighbour’s sedan, but until she proves she can’t, the Grumans park carefully. It was unclear where she was going to chuck the TV; out the window or in the garbage but the fact of the matter is, in the sport of large electronics shotput, my mother is capable.
  2. My mother is a passionate person. And passionate people are unpredictable at times. Where other people jump in feet first, my mother has been known to hurtle herself backwards into life butt first. It makes for better, more interesting entrances. And good photos- as evidenced by all the pictures of my Mom throwing her backside into the ocean while surfing. In addition to being physically capable of throwing the TV out the window, my sister and I feared for the squawk box’s life and could picture our forty inch TV sailing over the deck in homage to my mother’s frustration with reality show culture. Other people might have merely unplugged the television, but my mother, who once bought her friend a live animal rather than a standard gift of perhaps socks, could be relied upon to be erratic at the best of times.
  3. My Dad would have quietly tolerated and accepted the smithereens of electronics laying on our lawn when he returned home. This was the same man who contentedly assumed his fate when in a span of less than a week, my mother, sister and I brought home a skink and two cats in succession. My Dad rocked at rolling with the punches of living with three weirdos.

Consequently, off went the TV. My mother stopped snapping her jaws and ceased bicep curling our couch in preparation for setting the Guinness Record for World’s Longest Television Throw. My sister and I still watched Flava-flav that summer but never when my mom was home.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love you. And all of your quirks. Especially the ones that make for good blog posts. I’m allowed to watch Flav-a-flav type television now, but you’ll be happy to note that my husband sends me to a far corner of the house and forces me to wear head phones.

Also, if you curse me with your standard dastardly spell of “I hope you have a child just like you” please note that you will be called upon to hurl our television out the window and onto the patio when my children watch bad television. My pipe cleaner arms are not designed for shot put of any type.

Cowboy Holidays

I received the following text message from my hottie cowboy husband three years ago;

“My brother changed the branding/castration event so it’s now on May long weekend. I told him we’d be there. He’d love to have you ring/herding/babysitting and wants me to be the surgeon- lol. My homework is to watch calf castration videos.”

Cowboys celebrate holidays by eating lots of food and doing farm work. Sometimes this means branding and castrating, other times it’s just simple herding. Regardless, there are horses involved.

When I first met Tex my only experiences with horses had been at resort vacations with my family. Where it was like; “Here is a horse. Sit on the horse. Stay in this small pen. Now the horse ride is finished.” Even as a dyed in the wool city slicker, I didn’t classify that as horseback riding. Which was why when Tex excitedly told me that we’d be going horseback riding as one of our first dates, I was terrified.

Happily, when I arrived at the ranch I was placed on Sunny, Tex’s brother’s most experienced horse. And for an afternoon Sunny did everything he could to keep me on his back.

Climbing atop the largest mammal I’d ever ridden next to an elephant, I was nervous.

Although I don’t think my brief elephant ride as a three year old counted. Firstly it lasted less than a minute. Secondly I was with my cousin, who was my friend, but I had no qualms about throwing him off and using his tiny body as a sort of human landing pad.

On my first date with Tex, I held to the saddle, fully expecting to be thrown from Sunny’s back at any moment. By contrast Sunny stood very still, knowing that he had a newbie on his back and was expected to keep me there.

We were in a small paddock and I was expected to move Sunny around and around. What actually happened was Sunny slowly led me in increasingly small circles then decided he had had enough and stood stock still. Chip, Tex’s brother urged me to lightly push my heels into Sunny’s sides but that seemed like an ungrateful thing to do to animal that was kind enough to not throw me.

Tex and his brother mused over Sunny’s behavior “Why the hell is he acting lame?”

“Because Sunny knows who is on his back” I thought, my white knuckles clutching the loose reins and saddle.

Then we started the actual ride to check on the cattle in the far pasture. Just before setting off, Sunny shivered, causing my whole being to shake, looking back from his horse Tex said “Oh good, you stayed on” while I gripped the saddle with both hands, my eyes wide with shock.

Seeing as for the branding and castration event, I would not only be expected to stay on the horses back but also round up the calves and heifers at the same time, my and Tex’s participation in this event seemed not only unhelpful but unlikely.

“Uhhhhh” I texted back.

In the end, we didn’t go because I got pregnant with Mini-Tex and was therefore asleep. At Thanksgiving, a couple of months later, when Tex’s brother asked for volunteers to herd the cattle from their summer to winter pastures, I got out of that too. Because pregnancy. It’s one of those rare times where pregnancy is awesome.

The next year I got out of riding a horse because I had a newborn. This may have been why I chose to breastfeed my son until two and half- to get out of riding a horse. “I’m sorry, Mini-Tex may need to nurse, I can’t herd cattle for three hours.”

This story is about three and a bit years old, but once again, I’m getting out of herding and rustling because I have a newborn. Cheers to breastfeeding until age seven this time. I’m not sure what excuse I’ll have after that but you can be sure it’ll be a rock solid one.