Grits and Purls

Spinning yarns about the grit of life

Woman on floor typing on typewriter

I thought that writing this week’s column would be a breeze this week. You see, our daughter is spending the night at her favorite place: Grandma and Papa’s. So, I have peace and quiet. I can wake up early, put the coffee on and have my favorite working time, early morning, all to myself.

But it isn’t working. I can’t think of anything to write. The quote from the instructor at the last writer’s workshop I attended keeps ringing in my ears: “The thing that gets in the way of the work is the work.”

So, perhaps it’s the “Momma come up here. I need you!” that invariably starts as soon as my computer has—finally—booted up and MSWord has—finally—launched, or the request for juice, a fried-egg sandwich or a different cartoon, or the opportunity for me to “be the bad witch” that provides the fodder for much that I do.


But, you’d think that since I was able to sleep, undisturbed, the entire night last night, I would have awakened, rested, fresh and inspired with an absolutely stunning column, ready to write itself this morning.

You’d think that since I had lots of time for uninterrupted, adult conversation with my husband about important things like world peace, the economy and our finances, I would have lots of important thoughts, top of mind, ready to express themselves on my blank screen.

You’d think that since I spent the evening under the lights at Miller Park on a late summer’s eve with the man that I love, I would have ready access to a host of deep and true emotions to share with my readers.

But no. Instead I have writer’s block. Perhaps it’s because what the instructor said is true. It’s the 50 trillion little things that get in the way of the work that are the work.

It’s going up to calm my daughter during her dreams, when she tells me emphatically, even as her eyelids closed back over her eyes, “Momma, the lady stole the purple necklace.”

“It’s okay, I’ll handle it” I reply, smiling a yawn and patting her hand. She mumbles “okay” and rolls over. (Oh, if only all the things that will bother her in life could be that easily dismissed!)

Or the work is the earnest conversation about the mouse in her nose who was eating the cheese he hid there when he stole it from her hand.

Or the work is the debate I have with my husband as we try to determine whether the dishes in the dishwasher have been washed or not.

Or the work is discovering why, if socks are going to disappear when you put them in the dryer, they can’t at least disappear in pairs.

Perhaps that is why I have writer’s block this week. I took a delightful vacation from the work, spending time with my husband for an evening or so, and nothing got in the way of the work, so I have no work.

Ah well. The thing that gets in the way of the work is the work. And I’ll see you all next week with a new column when I’ve managed a few more interruptions to rescue animals that have fallen between the bed and the wall or had conversations about truly inspiring topics like why Cinderella’s step sisters really need a Time Out.

And, when I’m back, I’ll be able to share these worthwhile thoughts with you.

© 2010 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

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