It must seem like I completely fell off the face of the earth, what with me not posting in forever. Seeing as it has been forever, I’m a little rusty with this, so it’s going to read like stream of consciousness because it is.
First things, first. No, the hole in my roof is not fixed. Tree-pocalypse 2016 continues its domino effect well into October and my patience is fried harder than some Ukrop’s chicken wings. Thankfully, the Hubs and I are no longer playing rotating between sofa and the air mattress. The children are back in their respective beds and a small semblance of peace has been restored on that front. While the jagged, gaping holes that dotted the ceilings of my living room and bedroom have been dried out, insulated, patched and painted, the third floor playroom and my office remain just as dusty, crusty, and unusable as they were on June 15th.
When I go up there to look for a file or one of my books or just to survey what needs to be kept and what needs to be tossed, I can feel my blood pressure spike. You all know I like order. You all know I love cleanliness and organization. You all can imagine that I’m twitching like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs at the sight of my desk in pieces over here, and over here, and over here. . . oh and wayyyyy over there. My bulletin board, where I tacked up my inspirational quotes, favorite photos, and my word count log is slightly bent and a little waterlogged. It rest forlornly against the girls play kitchen which has become the childhood version of the treadmill in the bedroom — used a few times for its intended purpose, but is now more of a catchall than anything else. My bulletin board looks as me and I can almost hear it sigh in resignation. We were doing so well! Everyday, I would unclip my notecard of words and tally up the I’d birthed onto the pages in just an hour.
I’ve fallen off, but I’ll get back there. I’ll get back there and I will surpass it. I just have to get my head right. We all know what excuses are and I’m about to lay one on you. I haven’t written because I just haven’t had it in me. I’m unmotivated. I’m uninspired. My notebooks that I so carefully curated with notes, character profiles, scene descriptions, plot points — all herbs and spices that were seasoning this work — are waterlogged, the pages rippled and the words smeared. My desk that I put together from a billion pieces is now in a billion more pieces. The thought of trying to spin words into scenes, dialogue, and intrigue from the sticky surface of my kitchen table is completely unappealing. The Hubs, who gets me so completely, understands that I need my own space in which to work. He hands me suggestions of places to go — WeWork, the library, Starbucks, his office — all of which I roll over in my palm before letting them fall through my fingers like gritty pebbles, like crumbling earth. Like the edge of a cliff where I’m trying scramble up and over, back onto solid ground.
It’s not that I couldn’t go to WeWork, or Starbucks, or the library. It’s just that those places aren’t my little piece of earth. It’s not my office. It’s not the same. I need my stuff close by. I need my files and papers and post-its and books and notebooks and my squeaky chair that doesn’t match my desk and to be able to look up when I’m stuck on a word and see my diploma flanked by photos of me and the hubs and my girls which hang beside the window where cardinals swaying on high, high branches on the other side of the panes, their bright red bodies pops of color that jolt my brain into another gear and the words start coming faster and faster, my hand skipping across the lined pages of my notebook so that when I finally stop and re-read what I’ve written I’m deciphering the chicken scratch with knitted brow, only to have it smooth out after realizing, this is some seriously good writing.
*le sigh* I want to push away from my desk, thump the pages I’ve written on the surface and think, “Yeah, I’m kind of a creative genius.”
Life has gotten in the way in the biggest, most unwieldy of styles. The plan that I had been following, the routine I had in place? It imploded and I’ve been walking around in circles, bumping into things trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve running the household, and for a few glorious days, I was eating a whole lot of gelato. Like, a lot of gelato. Like, twice-a-day-dear-Richmond-I’m-not-coming-home-Viva-Italia-a lot of gelato.
If you follow me on Instagram, and I hope that you do, you’ll have noticed I skipped town for a few days at the end of September to accompany the Hubs to Italy. Business for him, pleasure for me, total food-a-thon for everyone involved. Three days in Desenzano di Garda. . .
I think I ate my weight in gelato just about every day. It wasn’t all gelato, all day — there was quite a bit of prosecco and pasta, too.
And there was time for me to just be. While the Hubs and his colleagues went to do what they came to do, I spent a day just milling around the town of Desenzano. I fudged my way through changing dollars to Euros at the post office, making a new best friend in the clerk when she discovered we shared September as a birthday month.
Her: (looking at my passport) Settembre?
Me: Si, Settembre.
Her: Me Settembre! I fifty-five. Cinquantacinque! Two sons. You? You write down.
Me: (writing down my age, my children’s ages) Um, Io trentotto.
Her: (looking at paper): Tre bambini? Tre bambini?! (turns to the clerk beside her) Ha tre bambini! and then she proceeded to regale me with some kind of story to which I could only smile and nod as she counted out euros into my open palm.
I found my way to Villa Romana, where the attendant and I had a stilted exchange that resulted in me getting the student discount.
Her: Eh, tu sei studente?
Me: Um, si?
Her: (pointing to a fee schedule showing different price points for different age ranges. She points to 18-25) Si?
I visited the old castle – a medieval structure in the heart of the city —
the Rambotti museum, home of the world’s oldest plough (no, really), walked around a portion of Lago di Garda, stopping by the port,
and had my choice of piazzas where I could just sit and watched the world go by.
For three fantastic days, I was way across the ocean on another plot of earth, where aside from the walking and the gelato, I did a whole lot of nothing. And it was great.
Now I’m back in RVA, still bumping around trying to find a way to get writing back into the routine. The jet-lag had me completely delirious for about three days. The first day back, I was wandering around Target stocking up on essentials, convinced that I’d been in there so long, it must have been nearing 8 o’clock in the evening. I came outside, blinking into the sun like a mole — it was only 3 in the afternoon.
Thankfully, I’m back on schedule, and not a moment too soon. The girls are well into the school year. The afternoon activities are filling up the calendar like checkers on a Connect Four board. I’ve been producing photo shoots for a photographer friend of mine. I’m pulling out the fall clothes, rotating the tanks and shorts for turtlenecks and sweaters. The fall wreath is on the front door and talk of Thanksgiving dinner is floating through emails between family members.
I’m sure there is much I’ve left out since the last time I really sat down and unloaded. I don’t want to overwhelm you on the first foray. I do want to do better, though. I’ve got some ideas. I’ve got some things to share. I’ve got it written down in my planner so, now I’ve got to do it. I hope you’ve missed me as much as
I am missing that gelato I missed you. It really did feel like I fell off the face of the earth, but I’m back on solid ground.