**rated PG for language**
Pretending to write into the blog editor.
“Composition mode,” in Scrivener. Looks like preferences didn’t keep though, through latest OS upgrade. Text is still old-school-Apple-green, but on white background instead of black.
Scrivener -> Preferences -> Composition Mode.
Colours -> Editor -> Lead. Or Licorice?
Text -> Lime? Spring? Seafoam? Flora? What’s with these colour names. How about just green?
Background black but text is grey. Also now in regular mode. What the fuck. Escape -> Preferences -> Fuck it.
Back to blog editor. But no distractions! Do not click dots. Do not read comments. Do not read friends’ posts. Do not reply. All that later. Not all day, not all night. Time block, one hour. Maybe two, for the two blogs. Leave time for work. Real work. Meals, home renos, paying bills.
Okay, one hour. Better make it count.
* * *
[Flash (non?)fiction: “On Holiday — Fall Break” (or “Yard Work 2.0”)]
05:55. Get up. Life is drudgery. But not too bad. Just get on with it. Back’s sore. Bed is toast. Need new mattress. Put on list. Again. Need more round to-its.
Wife sleeps on. Social media hangover. Too many clothes… kissed as promised. Check.
Oatmeal, coffee, news, Duolingo. Instawhatsit: dude’s smoking cigars again. Another night on the town. Headed for lung cancer. Better off married.
Get kids up. Blinds open, whistling tune. Covers off. Harass ’em till they move. Whining, protesting, have it too easy. Herd ’em downstairs.
Oatmeal in bowls, kids complaining. Make lists. Chores. Herd ’em out the door. Forward march. Countryside green! Good place. Lots of space. (They don’t know how good…)
Questions, answers. More questions, more answers. Technology, weaponry, particle accelerators, the life of walking hamburgers (otherwise known as “cows”).
A lot of listening. More talking. Too much noise. More walking. Keep heart healthy. Gotta stay alive. Work to do. Family to feed.
Yard work. Rain. Kids complain. Hazelnut needs trimming. Apples need collecting. Will dry most, bake stuff with rest. Mom would’ve been proud.
Chainsaw needs oil.
[End of “On Holiday — Fall Break” (or “Yard Work 2.0”)]
* * *
Yesterday, while racing along on a family outing: she quickly re-reads her freshly-published piece, sneaking a glimpse on her phone from the backseat. She claps her hand on her mouth, eyes widened, a bit of suppressed and embarrassed laughter bursting through. She says aloud, to husband and boys:
“Oh my god! My online friends are seriously going to think I’m a transgender man-to-woman, now!”
“No, not possible.”
“Seriously! Listen to this… and then ‘medical records’… and this…”
He shakes his head slowly and comically, exaggerated bemused eye-rolling in the rear view mirror. Keeps barrelling down country roads. She laughs self-consciously and stops reading aloud. She’s never read her own work aloud to them all together, sure that it would bore them or bemuse them. How could she have written something so ridiculous and monotonous?
He says: “In no way could that have been written by a man.”
“Sure it could have! Any novelist with enough imagination!”
“Yes! Think of — what’s his name — The one who wrote ‘A Widow for One Year,’ the one who later said he got flack from real-life widows, for appropriating stories that weren’t his. He coulda done it!”
“Not even him?”
“It’s a different style altogether.”
“Well, obviously, but that’s not the point; the point is that any male writer with enough imagination could theoretically appropriate the story of a housewife.”
“Um, not like that. Come on. Some fat old guy in a basement is going to spend that much time on describing dresses? It would bore them way too much. Why bother?”
“What if I could prove you wrong… fine, I don’t have the skills of the-widow-for-one-year guy… but what if, just for a fun exercise, tomorrow, I try to write like… like a man?”
“Uh, yeah…okay. Sure, why not.” (He presses his lips together in a semblance of a smile; nods, raises eyebrows amicably in the rearview mirror.
She thinks: “tries to sound interested and encouraging. Not too bad; good effort. He’s a keeper.” She says: “I mean, I know I probably won’t succeed, but… just for fun.”
“Yeah, sounds good!” (Slightly more enthusiasm.)
She sits in the back, satisfied, but feeling stupid, and worrying about the stupidity of stupid-feeling feelings.
By nightfall, she’s one-hundred percent sure she doesn’t want to continue the project at all. It’s ridiculous, and frivolous, and a waste of mental space, while at once feeling confining; much like some multi-tiered green-ruffled dress. Or cake?
But in the wee hours of morning, one comment rescues her, then another.
It only takes a true friend or two, to make it through.
* * *
She takes a sip of cold coffee, up in the attic bedroom; ponders expanding her novelling-site bio, a bit more in the style of a self-ironic (male) blogging friend. Adds a couple of last year’s graphic art experiments, for profile photo and book cover.
[Bio as it was:]
[October 2016:] Dutch-Canadian origins, wife, mom of four. BA in Linguistics, TESL certificate, freelance editor, lived in France for 7 years, now in Cambridge (UK).
Edit October 2017: Back in France again.
October 2018: Frumpy housewife (continued); loves filters. Dabbles in graphic design and drunk blogging.
March 2019: Gave up wine. One day at a time.
October 2019: Back to words. Only words. Too many words. Possible fishcat, but not catfish; wannabe dogbird.*
“Please don’t hate me because I’m honest.”
[End of novelling-site bio.]
* * *
“So honest it hurts.”
“Vultures peck at wounds of truth.”
“We’re gonna die…”
* * *
Y is beside me, laughing at my crinkled face staring at the screen. I read the “Yard Work 2.0” part aloud.
“What do you think?”
“To me it’s not your style; it’s more like Papa.”
“But… um, I don’t really get that part about ‘too many clothes’ though, or that part where it says ‘better married’…”
“I know, right? Should I leave it off?”
“I don’t know. Can I get a Pixel Art?”
Delete. Replace. Undo. Redo.
He reads over my shoulder as I skim back up the page, wondering where to start the copy-paste to WP. I’d ended up staying in Scrivener after all.
“I like how you wrote ‘eff-it,’ up top —” he says, avoiding enunciating what is actually typed there, “— it’s kind of like when you’re writing, you probably feel free… and I like that style, and that personality; it’s really good, to me.”
He yams what I yams. This one’s a keeper.
“Can you please print me a Pixel Art, now, Mama? Pul-lease. Pul-lease. Pul-lease.” Kicks headboard with feet. Now he’s lying on his back, beside me in outside-clothes; tail-to-head, on top of duvet.
“Right. Okay, so what is it this time? Zen mandalas? Landscapes? Flowers? Oh, look at this one, how beautiful!”
“Hahaha. No! Superheroes!”
“Sigh. Okay…” -> DuckDuckGo -> Images -> “pixel art superheroes”
“Yep, that Batman one…”
* * *
Well, friends, that’s today’s installment. Three days till NaNoWriMo (write 50K words in 30 days) begins. Not sure if I will even make it till the official day one, especially after this week, when fall break is over and amazing husband is back at work. But we can try anyway, for fun. This is my warm-up (started “novelling” here on Bloomwords several days ago, on a whim, on D-day minus six: “0-6”. “Friend” me on the NaNoWriMo.org website, if you dare, at @NadineJL. Very happy to say that fellow WP blogger @FreckledUck (DustBunnies436 on WP) has joined as well. And @JaclynMaryLuke is my new buddy. And brilliant miniautobio writer, @Aeryk Pierson.
*References to fishcats, catfish, green-ruffled dresses and cakes can be found on yesterday’s entry; day 0-4. Chainsaws I think were in day 0-5.
All we have to do is try. Nothing more.
BTW thanks so much for all your comments and emails, it’s actually getting hard for “mama me” to keep up with (both blogs, combined with life in general), and I feel so lucky for that, and so grateful. It keeps me going, even if I can’t respond right away. Also loving reading some of your work, when time permits [edit: and/or addiction allows ;))]. Thank you!!
xoxoxo love, n
* * *
Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from current vantage point in Zone of Emptiness, France. Thank you for reading. ❤︎