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I’m going to start an experiment tomorrow.
I’ll wake up at 5 a.m. to write. I’m not a morning person. At all. I’m a night owl. I write in the afternoon while my daughter naps, and I write at night once everyone else is in bed. I like the quiet in the afternoon while the other house inhabitants are off at work and school. And I like writing at night because I can just write until I get tired, without the clock ticking down that my shift is almost up.
But, sometimes my kid doesn’t nap. Like today. She sat in bed singing at the top of her lungs just on the other side of the wall, and for some reason it made my revisions more difficult. Sometimes I go out at night, or get tired, or what have you and I don’t write for the day.
Then I get cranky.
So, I need a new system. I’ve tried writing in the morning before. I’ve tried to sneak downstairs and out the back door to my office/shed without waking anyone, but I have creaky stairs. One or both of the kids will wake up, and in the house I will stay.
Now summer is right around the corner, and those guys will be home all day. I love summer. I like to garden, hike, kayak, and laze around in the park. We go for ferry rides and camp on the beach. Summer is my season. If I can trick my brain into some early bird creativity then I can have that feeling of accomplishment to carry through the day, which is so much yummier than that mild frustration of not having done the work. Right? So, I’m going to try and reprogram myself now.
I’m not the only one. Jolie and Ben came up with the idea, and I’m just tagging along. They’re going to try it, too. Some of my other favorite creative folk like Martha and Jaime already get up early. So, I’ll be in pleasant, groggy company. I may need to pick up a coffeemaker for the shed.
Wish me luck.
When do you write? Why?
This doesn’t have anything to do with publishing or kid lit, but I’m going to blog about it anyway because people have been asking me about it this week. I apologize for the length, and I’m guessing it will be the most personal thing I ever post, but you know. Feel free to skip it.
My youngest kid was adopted from Guatemala about two and a half years ago. When we decided on adoption we knew that we wanted to adopt internationally, and from a Latin country. I have a Hispanic background that I identify strongly with, and I wanted to have that connection. Unfortunately, Mexico (where my mother’s family came from) is not open to international adoption. So, we chose Guatemala. We researched agencies to find one with good ethics and communication, and we started the process.
It took a couple of years. We were matched with a lovely baby girl, but lost the placement when it was revealed through DNA testing that the woman claiming to be her mother was not. I was grief stricken. We hadn’t met her, but something happens when you’re a parent waiting for your child, biological or not. I’ve done it both ways. I know.
We were matched again with our daughter, and we started all over again. We visited while the media was shining a bright light on a few sensational cases of trafficking under the guise of adoption. When we went down for our pick up trip, they advised us to stay in the hotel because of the rising tension (we didn’t). Anderson Cooper was there “reporting,” and I’ve taken anything he’s said with a rock of salt since. The state department warned that adoptions would stop suddenly, without warning. The Guatemalan government granted permission for us to leave after everything had been checked and rechecked, with our daughter. I’ve never been so relieved in my whole life. Guatemala closed their adoption program just a couple of months later, and many friends we’d been going through the process with were thrown into limbo.
It wasn’t an easy transition, but parenthood never really is. She was world weary, wondering why these strange people had taken her from her loving foster family. She wasn’t crazy about me for a long time. Her big brother, warned for years that the day would eventually be coming when he would have a little sister, was gobsmacked. She warmed to her dad and brother first, and then eventually me. When you adopt, any agency worth it’s weight in feathers warns and educates you that it probably won’t be sunshine and rainbows at first. It’s a tough transition. But still, something clicks before you ever even see them and you’re family.
So, last week some idiot woman in Tennessee decided she was unhappy with the child she adopted from Russia and sent him back. Alone. With a note.
Russia is pissed, and rightfully so. So today, they’ve suspended all adoptions. Anyone in the middle of their adoption process is thrown into the unknown. Just thinking about it makes my pulse speed up. It was my worst fear.
Now there will be a slew of articles and experts gabbing about whether parental bonds are as strong for adopted kids as biological kids. It’s sensational. It’s Sneetch-ish. It’s going to be “news” for a bit. I’ve got one of each, so I’m going to go ahead and say I’m a reliable source on this subject.
The bonds are the same. I love each of my kids with ferocity, and I think I can speak on their dad’s behalf, too. That woman who sent her child across the world alone is an asshat. She should be prosecuted for child abuse and abandonment. She’s not a parent. Every headline and news snip that refers to her as an adoptive mother makes me bare my teeth a little bit. My son is the same age, and that poor guy can’t even walk home from the bus stop alone. She is an asshat with poor judgement, not a victim of the adoptive system.
I know people wonder about how much people love their adopted kids. People ask, and they ask around it, and they don’t ask in that way that tells you that they’re trying very hard not to ask. People from each side of the fence wonder at the mysteries of familial bonds. Strangers in the store ask. Friends ask. Families with only adopted children ask, wondering if they’re perhaps missing out on some essential ingredient that gets thrown in when you have a baby the old fashioned way. There’s still such a stigma around adoption. We watched a movie a couple of weeks ago where the younger brother was insulted and traumatized when his older sister claimed he was adopted. Oh, the horror!
I’ve been rambling on, so I’ll keep the answer simple and concise. The process is different, but the results are the same in millions and millions of cases. Like ours.
Family. A big, crazy, loving family.
And sometimes, zombies.
A friend asked me for a music recommendation recently, and I suggested a band I find myself listening to a lot. While I drive, while I cook, but mostly while I write. Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago.
There was this guy in Raleigh who got mono, got dumped, and broke up with his band. He went to his dad’s cabin in the backwoods of Wisconsin alone for the winter to recuperate. He took some instruments and recording equipment with him when he moved, but just wanted to lay low and have some r & r. But, there’s only so much you can do trapped in a cabin in the winter so he started fiddling around, writing songs, and recording them for a possible demo.
The result was For Emma, Forever Ago. It’s a great, melodic album that I find myself listening to frequently (especially when I’m writing), and I like the whole phoenix aspect of his creative process. Inspiring, I tell you!
You can hear it here:
Do you ever listen to music while you work? What do you find yourself listening to?
Sorry for taking such a long blogging break. I needed it. By way of an apology, please enjoy this new Muppet video (via Neatorama), to go with our musical theme.