A good distraction is good to find, especially in the form of good literature. When I’m sick; cold, flu, whatever, I always pick up the Grapes of Wrath. It’s one of my favorite books regardless, but there’s also something about joining characters on a quest or a journey that distracts me from whatever I’m going through.
Right now I’m reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. It’s the epic tale of twins Shiva and Marion abandoned by their parents and raised by two doctors at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The voice and plot are engaging and transporting. And, it’s over 500 pages. I’m hoping it will take me through my due date. So far it’s been the perfect escape from my uncomfortable and ungainly body, but I recommend it for anyone looking for a terrific read.
Your favorite escape books?
Being 9 months pregnant is not necessarily a great time to evaluate and judge one’s life choices. However, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my writing life and my teaching life. They intersect in some wonderful ways. Teaching adolescents definitely gives me an ear for how they speak and what’s interesting to them. On the other hand teaching is also incredibly draining and often leaves me too pooped to write at the end of the day.
I’ve often said/thought that if I won the lottery I still wouldn’t want to write full time. I’m definitely a social animal and I enjoy the structure and community that school creates. I don’t really want to see teaching as my “day” job and writing as my dream, mostly because it’s just not true for me. They’re both fulfilling to different parts of me.
Perhaps this is coming up as I think about the time and energy that this new person is going to require from me, and I’m wondering how my writing life will survive and emerge? It doesn’t help that everyone loves to tell pregnant people to enjoy their alone time because it’s the LAST TIME THEY’LL EVER HAVE ANY! People just love to have something to say.
Day job or dream job? How do you negotiate it all?
So I’m counting down to the arrival of my latest work in progress; that would be our baby, due to arrive sometime around the end of this month, beginning of next. I’ve been working on a “birth plan”, a kind of wish list for how I would ideally like this labor to go. There are templates for this sort of thing on-line that ask you to consider everything from whether or not you want mood lighting to whether or not you want an epidural.
Music has come up as a topic because at first I was adamantly opposed to having any during labor. I’ve never been a person who could focus if there was music in the background. When I’m riding in the car with someone I have to choose between conversation or music. I simply can’t do both. This is odd, because in most other parts of my life I am an incredibly competent multi-tasker.
I’m always interested to read about writers who have playlists for their novels; songs or albums that they listened to incessantly while revising or grinding out that first draft. I know that if I tried to listen to music while writing the lyrics would end up interspersed between the sentences and nothing would make sense.
Lately though I’ve been thinking that music might be just what I want during labor. It could be that I don’t want to be so present in my mind, so focused on exactly what I’m experiencing, and music could be just the thing to distract me.
Music while you work? Does it work for you?
My students find it very irritating that I don’t know the gender of my baby AND that I refuse to tell them what we’re thinking about naming it. Here was the latest exchange today.
Student: So you really don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl?
Student: Do you know what you’re going to name it?
Me: We have some ideas, but they’re top secret.
Student: Really? You’re not going to tell us?
Me: Nope, we haven’t even told our parents our ideas!
Student: (appreciatively) Ooh, that’s sassy!