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Archive for September 8th, 2009

Distractions

Even on the best of days a bookstore is a dangerous place for me.  But on a day such as today, when I am supposed to be working, it is even more so.  Surrounded by so many books, I find it hard to concentrate on the task at hand.

woman with coffeeLeaving my husband and children to fend for themselves, I took this Labor Day morning off of mommy duties and headed to the local bookstore with my laptop in tow.   Since school has started and my older children are no longer around to entertain my preschooler, I have found writing to be nearly impossible.  Each of my last four articles has been written in my car, during my daughter’s soccer practice.  This was not the romantic idea I had of writing before I decided upon this career path.  I had pictured afternoons in a sun- filled room, coffee at hand, pouring my words out onto my computer screen.

To be successful, I know I need more than a couple of hours each week alone in my car.  I need time to look inside and find the story.  This morning I decided it was time to take the bull by the horns and head to the bookstore, find a table and write, undisturbed.  But the books call my name.  I didn’t even make it to this table before stopping to browse the aisles, gathering books that will grace my bedside table until I finally get someone to add yet more bookshelves to our house.

Before leaving the house, I realized I would have to overcome the temptation of the books, but there is another distraction I had not considered.  The people around me peak my interest.  Their conversations and their books stacked on the table beside them send my mind racing in too many directions to count.

As though sent by the devil to distract me, the guy at the table beside mine has a stack of books about my favorite non-writing activity – running.  Based on the titles, I know he is a beginning runner.  How do I ignore this opportunity to speak with someone who is still so excited about the prospects of the sport that I love?  Shouldn’t I tell him that running is my specialty?  Aren’t there words of wisdom I should share?

No, I should be writing.  I should be thinking about my readers and what they might find interesting this week.  Maybe I should write something about the power of rest.  Something in celebration of Labor Day.  But I know my readers and they don’t rest.   They run, bike, swim, read, write and parent.  They are active.  They would understand this restlessness I am feeling and know that it is for them that I stop for a minute to learn that the beginning runner started running with his wife six months ago and they are now training for their first marathon.  I have learned that his wife is beginning to feel a pain in her right knee and already considering changing sports.  Now, I am sure it is my duty to keep her in the sport.  The writing must wait a moment as I guide her to a great orthopedic surgeon who is also a runner and a good running store that will analyze her gait.  I knew this running knowledge would come in handy one day.

If my running club is any sign of the future of our sport and I am not sure that it is, then we need these two to stay true to running.  The last race I ran was full of seasoned runners, runners who are slowing down and even stopping to smell the roses and appreciate the course for the beauty rather than the speed.    A new runner or two might add to the competition in our local races but more importantly may help guarantee a future for our historic running club.

So, once again a morning meant for work, has been wasted, not because of the dogs barking at the front window or the preschooler pulling on my leg but because of the world at large.  But maybe that’s my story.  Maybe I don’t need that quiet, sun-filled room to find the words.  Maybe the words don’t have to come from inside.  Sometimes, instead of the words spilling out of me, maybe the world around me is what spills onto my page.  This again is not what I dreamed of when I chose to become a writer.  Instead, it is an unexpected perk to what has turned out to be an already perk laden career path.

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