The month of March was rife will sickness for the Waters household, which is kind of strange because Fenbruary is usually the plague month for our household. I think about half the month was spent with me either taking care of sick children home from school or being sick myself, or doing something birthday related--the kids and I, my brother, and a few of my closest friends all have March birthdays. I find I can't work when one of my kids is home sick (even if it is just the sniffles); it just seems wrong to lock myself in the office while they lay about the living room quietly suffering.
So I ended up being highly entertained instead of working. Television, DVDs, etc. A few days rest and relaxation is great, but I am the sort of person who gets very edgy and cranky--irascible, even--when I go longer than 24 hours without working. I love work. Actually, I love writing, and I should get in the habit of calling it "writing" instead of "work" because it honestly doesn't seem like work to me. It seems like fun.
As a side note, such admission might get me kicked out of the Suffering, Heroic Organization of Writers (If they even consider me a member; I was recently denied membership in a "professional" writers organization!), because there are many writers out there who would have the reading public beleive that life as a writer is a life of pain, heartache, and despair, of repeatedly smashing one's head against a brick wall until all the ideas leak out. They'd have you believe that electing to be a professional writer is to court poverty, to invite public disdain and enmity, and to seriously weaken one's mental health. The will talk of long lonely hours, of crossing out and then rewriting the same word on the same page for twenty minutes, of self-doubt, of the sudden urge to set fire to the 90,000 word manuscript that not twenty four hours before seemed like a pretty cool thing.
And of course, all of these statements are true. But writing is also Fun, capital F.
Sure, it can be hard work. Waa, waa. Maybe people are afraid that if they admit to having fun while working, they won't get paid for what they do anymore. I think the reverse is true--those that have the most fun and therefore the most energy end up doing the best work and therefore ultimately get paid in just about any profession.
Anyway. I was doing my best not turn into Mr. Crankypants while taking care of the kids, enduring a constant steady stream of entertainment. With my daughter, it was mostly What Not To Wear and other fashion shows, Full House, and some fine Disney channel programming. With my boy, it was Spongebob, America's Funniest Videos, and various cartoons that even I, a lifelong lover of cartoons, found thoroughly incomprehensible. My kids are both great readers normally, but who wants to read with a headcold and various other ailments? At night when they went to bed I found that I wasn't able to jump into the writing like I hoped, so I ended up watching even more "entertainments" (note:I didn't actually find much of what I watched, with or without them, to be entertaining). I watched Tales of Terror from Tokyo vol. 1-3 and some other things I got from Netflix, music biographies and other Asian horror films mostly. I watched some basketball. I did manage to read a few books-- The Gum Thief, I am Legend, When You are Engulfed in Flames, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. A dozen magazines. Two dozen comic books. I snuck away to see The Watchmen at an IMAX theater, I bought a bunch of new CDs and listened to them. I played half a short season of EA Sports Basketball with a custom team on the XBox. I went to see Denis Leary with my father and brother. I've been entertained, entertained, entertained. Shoot me now.
I also started working on a new book at the end this entertainment gluttony. Prior to being a big time member of SHOW, I worked for a cleaning company, and it was there that I learned the concept of "dwell time". Certain cleaning products need time to begin the chemical processes neccessary to remove soils and stains, and I thought this was a great metaphor for the time I need to take for an idea to properly take hold in my imagination. I need dwell time (and here I picture caustic brain-acids eating through cellular walls, gobbling up objections, reacting with memories, exploding synapses, etc.)for an idea before I can properly begin to work on it. Maybe watching all that stuff and reading, being entertained, helped with the dwell time. We'll see.
I'm really, really excited about the new project, though. And I'm really, really sick of being entertained. Let's hope everybody stays healthy.