What is my average day? It depends. Honestly I don’t think I have an average anything. There are certain things I do every morning, and some seem to be ‘every morning’; there are things I do every night, but the rest of the time, between waking and going to bed? Some things happen regularly, like work (thankfully) and things I make happen like writing, but the order and how I manage to fit it all in… not really all that predictable.
Take this morning for example. My alarm is set for 07:00… uhm… actually, it’s not so I’m going to change that right now. There, my alarm is set for 07:06 because sleep is worth an extra 6 minutes. I went to bed late, allergies are acting up and I should have slept through the night, so of course I wake up in the middle of the night with a blog post in mind. I don’t want to stay up too long because the bed will be cold, and I’ll be too wired to sleep… and even if the alarm fails, my puppy won’t.
He is like an alarm, that you never know when it’s going to go off… but you know he’s going to go off, and you can only tell him ‘give me an hour’ so many times. (and the dog has a good sense of time). Then it will be my morning chores: walk the dog, do the dishes, make my brother-in-law’s breakfast, Orange Juice, Cereal, Fruit. Take it down to him and place it (in order fromm left to right Fruit, cereal, juice) on the table, turn on the TV, set it to either MeTV or TNT, move the remote from the left of the lamp to the right.
My brother-in-law is profoundly autistic, and although he’s lived with us for about 10 years now, I’m still learning my way around his world. Why so long? Because his dad always took care of him, and after he died, my husband took over, then my husband got sick about a month ago and chores have realigned, and probably will again as he gets better, but I’m still morning dishes and breakfast lady.
My husband will give him his bath, and I will take him out for his daily outing if I’m working from home. If I’m not, I have a two hour drive ahead of me, or a two hour car/train/bus ride. But the train will wait until my husband is feeling better.
I like it when I take the train because I have at least an hour to nap or write, or plot. I like driving because, in addition to listening to books or working on languages, I can take what I’m working on, PDF it and have my PDF App read it to me while I drive, and it actually reads what is written rather than what I thought I wrote.
Then it’s work, which is almost as unpredictable as everything else. It can be challenging, frustrating, manic, panic, boring, tedious, amusing… I am a software developer with a secret ability to make software blow up, which means I’m great at testing software, but it also means I’m behind the curve when it comes to learning new things because… well… I’m needed to make sure the software doesn’t blow up on our users. I do support, documentation, analysis… everything I enjoy and sometimes… on the best days… I learn something: I am challenged, and I love a challenge, I love learning and I guess that’s why I’m a code junkie. There’s always something to learn… some new way of doing things: a box to be thought around, and through.
Somewhere in there, I try and get some writing done. Not the tech writing, I do that for work – no, the fiction or the non-fiction, the words that flow and fill my mind with laughter and delight.
A short story will come to me when my phone’s swipe option refuses to text what I want, and I use that frustration in a story. Or something will amuse me and I’ll save it for a story. My brain is always on, always at work, building worlds where I can express myself, places I can go to escape and hopefully take some people with me and then hope they enjoy the trip enough to join me on another adventure.
That would be my writer’s circle: my friends and at any given time my sisters/brothers, mothers/children and I am forever thankful for them. They keep me from being too critical of my own work, while challenging me to do better. I’ve learned from them, and I’ve learned what I do, and why I do it by trying to explain it to them.
But most importantly: I write.
I will get it down on paper, on the computer… on index cards or napkins if I have to, when I can. And then I have to drive home, or take the train (again, I edit or read or nap depending on how I’m traveling). If I’m driving, I may have to stop for groceries etc on the way… and I’m not home until after 20:00 which is time to walk the dog, groom him, eat… try and catch up with my husband… only to have the dog complain because we’re not paying attention to him… and then I try to write, or edit… and get to bed so it can start all over again.
And that is just one week day out of five, one of seven days in the week. And if life weren’t challenging enough… with sequestration and the economy the way it is… I’m getting furloughed one day a week, which means less work, and more time to write, but it also means less pay, which means trying to fill the gap, and keep things going all the way around.
So writing becomes less about entertainment and more about release, and getting it all out of my system before my head explodes.
My average day… It has music, and writing, and work, and laughter; tears; frustration and joy. It is anything and everything and like me and the world around me… anything but average.
Average is just an illusion, but it helps to balance things out.