Quiet in the Barn

One of the hangups of being a responsible person is not knowing when to say, “Okay. I need some time to myself.” I deny myself the time to write. I admit it.

When the kids were young, I would hunker down over my keyboard until 1 or 2 AM, aware of nothing but the story. I would live and breathe, some days, to get back to my characters. And I felt guilty for that. Numerous people would tell me, “You’re going to miss this time in your kids’ lives. Treasure it.” I wish I could’ve treasured it more because they were right; I miss the times when they were little. Now I do. When they were little, I just needed a break! Every stage of life is different, and in that stage I was running from my kids–trying to find a moment to think, trying to shut the bathroom door to pee, trying not to burn supper while addressing the Battle of the Toddlers #7,008 in the other room.

Then the kids grew up, and I found the solitude I needed holed up in my walk-in closet (yeah, I talked about that once). When we moved, I missed that closet. I tried the next closet for awhile, but the magic was gone. I returned to writing at night, but I could see my kids were doing a lot of emotional growing up. When Mom was typing in the quiet of the night, that became the time they could have just me with no distractions. That was the time to ask, “Who am I, Mom?” and “I have these things I want to do in life, Mom, and I don’t know where to start.” How could I deny them that personal, introspective one-on-one time? (Don’t get me wrong; there were a few times I, flat out, did.) I had to put my writing aside and hear them–really listen to their needs. I fed their spirits, and I’m glad I did! But I went hungry sometimes.

After I stopped feeding myself the time and the space and the quiet I needed, I began to miss it less and less–which is the same as saying I missed me less and less.the barn

In four years, Lord-willing, my kids will be moving on. Leaving the nest. They’ll still need me, but it won’t be in the same role in which I’ve identified myself for most of my life now. I’ve been looking in the mirror lately and wondering who that person is looking back at me. I thought I knew her, but as I see the empty nest looming, I’m intimidated by her. What are her expectations? Who is she, and what are those dreams she’s been trying to tell me are in her heart? I’m already regretting the time I haven’t spent feeding her spirit, helping her find the place to start.

This past weekend, I took her out, just the one of us. My friends let me stay in an apartment over their barn and get some quiet time. I laughed. I cried. I was scared, but I still wanted to meet me. And there, I found my story. My characters had been waiting for me. If they can pick up where we left off, I know I can, too.

The White Rabbit

I wist not where my foot had dropped;

But at the door of a world I stopped.

With little act and little thought,

I saw him in his waistcoat frocked.

He said to me, “No time!”

 

I grew a deal, but I was small;

I drank from life a little of all;

I rose and tottered from a crawl;

And listened ’bout me for his call,

The ringing words, “No time!”

 

I marched, I circled with the rest;

I sang the chants and took the test;

And all for naught it was at best–

The race was never done, I guessed.

He worried on. “No time!”

 

I searched through leaf and vale and plain;

I searched his house, calling his name.

Was I his slave, his pride, his shame;

His Mary Ann, as he did claim?

He twitched and cried, “No time!”

 

By him I walked among the great,

Touched the hem and entered the gate,

Found it false, but spoke too late;

“Silence her!” and “Off with her pate!”

He saw I had no time.

 

My world, scatt’ring threes and twos,

I cared not who would win or lose;

For games and such I had no use.

Yet, I was his and he was whose,

The one who had no time?

 

When I awoke beside my tree,

So real and safe that stood by me,

I cast aside the memory

That he had not had time for me.

He’s running with no time.

Missing in Posting (MIP)

Report on MIP Blogger Rilla, 14 February 2019 at 0800 hours:

Rilla surfaced this morning with no outward signs of distress. Limbs all intact. Mind scattered but in good spirits. (Consulting blogger’s previous entries, frame of mind is somewhat typical.)

Past Whereabouts: Rilla assures us she was not abducted, but, rather, incognito, working on online projects under another name. Physical whereabouts include having bought a new house and moved in. Currently, the new home is undergoing a room addition.

Habits: She has been eating a better diet since her woeful first attempt at a 15-day juice fast. She still enjoys juicing and is excited about plant-based and paleo recipes. It’s likely she’ll share.

Teaching: Rilla admits to homeschooling all high-schoolers now, which explains the scattered thoughts. She is teaching grammar, writing skills, and literature outside of her homeschool. Heavily involved in a ring of authentic scholarship websites, Rilla peddles competitions to train students about the benefits of writing a decent essay.

Writing & Therapy: Her work in the past four years has been primarily non-fiction focused. 2017 was spent chipping away at a stubborn case of fiction-writing Writer’s Block through therapy. She is steadily beginning to unlock her emotions in writing, once more.

Rilla’s remarks: Happy Valentine’s Day, darlings!