Writer, Interrupted

This rant, extended whine, or whatever you want to call it is brought to you on behalf of a demanding day job, a parent who insists on phoning every night and just sitting on the phone occupying my time for close to an hour, and – as always – the joys of narcolepsy.

Lately, I’m having hell’s own time getting anything done at home. I try to write something each day, but when I get home, have dinner, have the Daily Skype Call From Hell in which my beloved mother whines at me until either I fall asleep at the computer or I find an excuse to end the damn call, then by the time I’ve recovered from that I’m falling asleep again and there goes yet another night.

Yes, I’m whining. Writing, as well as being something I want to do full-time when my income from it justifies that, functions as my stress-release. If I can’t write, stress backs up and things get ugly.

It doesn’t help that I’m too bloody nice. Yes, you read that correctly. The Kate, charter member of the Evil League of Evil, is too nice. I’m just very selective about who I’m nice to, and my mother happens to be in that list (Yes, I love her dearly. But I love her much better on the opposite side of the planet and in small, well-spaced doses. She is, as they say, high maintenance). I can tell people I don’t care about where to put their stupid and irritating. I can’t do that to my mother.

Which leaves me ranting over nothing in particular because when I finish sleep-typing (it totally is a thing: I do it all the time) and schedule this to post at not-quite-oh-god-is-that-the-time in the morning (I get up at really-oh-god-is-that-the-time in the morning, in order to get to work and have a couple of hours more or less uninterrupted work time before the crazy starts, so the posts get written and scheduled the night before), I’ll be taking my night time medications and going to bed. With, yet again, absolutely buggerall done.

The worst of this is that writing wants to happen. Things are running through my mind. But every goddamn time I sit down to do anything, I get interrupted. My mother calls (every bloody night – and if I dare ignore or miss the call, I get the interrogation the next time I do pick up. She must have been in the bloody Gestapo in a previous life, because she does not give up, just keeps nagging and nagging until she gets what she wants out of me).

On the narcolepsy front, I have a limited useful time each day and each week. If I push too much or I’m not well, my brain just flat does not work. I can and do get to a point where I can stare at the screen and have no idea how to type a simple sentence. Most of the time I can work with this, and I do. Sometimes – like right now – it gets overwhelming and I share the joy with anyone who’s willing to put up with it. Then I apologize, pick up the pieces and try to move on.

So, yeah. Sorry for the whining. If all goes well, I’ll be back to my normal self next week (not that it will matter, what with Christmas usually being rather dead-ish here, as it should be). In the meantime, try not to let life wear you down and enjoy the show the glittery ones are putting on for your enjoyment (the latest target is heavy metal bands, so bring plenty of popcorn).


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23 responses to “Writer, Interrupted

  1. I feel your pain, although my problem is not a mother. She unfortunately left almost thirty years ago. But the falling asleep in the middle of a sentence that I’m writing is tough. the amount of stuff that goes on in life that keeps us from writing is insane. I don’t see it getting better.

  2. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I’ve been busy lately on something fascinating, and perhaps gainful, but I haven’t had time for anything useful on the creative writing front, except maybe reading and analysis. Hence doing squat for Nanowrimo this year. I’ve been sick and brain fogged lately, so even the analytical and descriptive writing has gotten it in the shorts.

    As for loving people making disruptive behaviors have more impact, I hear you. I could tell stories. Even as an anti-social loner with little use for interacting with vast swathes of the population, I think we can agree that love has certain rewards, and that cutting off one’s connections to humans costs more than the gain.

    • Kate Paulk

      Oh, absolutely. I’m actually not *quite* as anti-social as it’s possible to be (my husband wins that one), but I’m damn close, and cutting oneself off from humanity is not a good thing.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Hey what’s this thing called “social” that I’m supposed to be for? [Wink]

        Seriously, I also have a strong tendency to “shut myself away” from others.

        Which is why these sort of boards are a “life-saver”. [Smile]

  3. Narcolepts and insomniacs–if only there were some sleep exchange where we could do trades. I’d gladly give you my 2 am wakefulness.

    I know you’re just venting a bit about your mother, but bless you for having the daily patience to deal with her. And if you have kids, they’re watching, and taking note 😉

    • Dan Lane

      Heh. I have been accused many a time of being a narcolept, but the opposite holds more truth. Though I can, and have, slept standing up, during a heavy metal concert, through a three alarm fire not fifty feet from my head, and in various other unlikely/uncomfortable places/situations, I usually don’t sleep well at night. Insomnia is no fun- I’d not wish it on anyone.

      For mothers, bless you twice for your forbearance. Mothers, by and large, love their chilluns. Sometimes you might wish they’d show that love a *little* more carefully, but we don’t get to change people in this world to suit our wishes, alas. I know I’m a hard one to get along with myself, and I can only hope the people I care about will show me half so much patience.

      • Kate Paulk

        I’ve slept in some interesting situations… in the gym while working out was definitely not a good time. Long car drives are always an issue.

    • Kate Paulk

      Alas, if we tried that you’d probably get the sleepy when you need to be awake AND the 2am wakefulness. And so would I… (Been there. It sucks)

      • I am an odd combination of an insomniac and a narcolept.. I have had sleep problems for years, but only lately find myself nodding at the computer or a tv show. I’m lucky that when I’m out, I can usually forestall it by biting my lip or tongue. The sleeping pill works, but only when I remember to take it. Some nights I realize I missed it at at 3 or 4 am, but luckily, I’ve usually been writing so it’s all good.

  4. Stephen J.

    I am so down with you on this it’s not even funny. I get home from a mentally exhausting job (primary breadwinner for the family here), and just need to sit down and rest for a few minutes, and then I usually get dragooned into either looking after my son, cooking the dinner or doing any one of a number of other chores, said evenings always ending with giving my son his bath, putting him to bed and reading him to sleep, by which time I have no energy left to do anything except zone out in front of the TV or the Internet. (My wife is a full-time writer who works at home and is frequently ill or in chronic pain, so she’s already doing as much as she can without losing time she needs for *her* writing, and my son is on the autism spectrum, so he is much less flexible about who does his nighttime routine with him than most kids.)

    Doing my share for a happy family is a worthwhile thing to give up that writing time for, but I can’t say I don’t miss it.

    • Kate Paulk

      Oh, yes. There are times when I think life is out there to make life difficult. My priorities are my job, my family, and then writing – but I do resent it when the job and family leave me nothing for writing.

      • I suppose, reading you both, that I should be happy that I am single and retired. But commitments come in all shapes and sizes, and am very glad my Mondays just became uncluttered. But I figure I’ve volunteered myself into a 14 hour work week, plus three to five writers workshops a week, two pieces to read and critique for each. Then I get to write, but what is in my head is all the other reading I’ve done that week. But it’s the bed I made, and I have to lie in it.

        • Kate Paulk

          Life is life – everyone has their interesting things that sometimes are good but take away from the space you’ve got to do what you really want to do.

  5. My mother wishes she could nag me ceaselessly. She tried, very hard. But after I had the job where I was on-call 24-7, I realized something very valuable: My time is my own, and I am not required to answer the phone for anyone or anything now. It’s not even as urgent as a knock at the door. (And I’ve been known to ignore those, too.)

    Sometimes my parents call. Sometimes I answer. If I don’t, I usually listen to the voice mail within four to seven days, and call back within two weeks. And she can nag all she wants when she’s on the phone, but once I hang up, She has no power to force me to answer. Doesn’t mean she didn’t pull out all the stops and tug all the strings trying, though, right up to “I was so worried you were dead!” Nor did she respond well to “Mom, I love you. However, the more you carry on like this, the less often I will call you. You have the choice of having a pleasant conversation I look forward to, or no conversation at all.”

    But she did, in fits and starts, learn to treat me as another adult, and sometimes we have entire conversations where she only nags by reflex, once or twice.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      The relationship between a son and his mother can be very different than the one between a daughter and her mother, but I’d share one thing that had helped between me and Mom.

      If I thought she was being “too motherly”, I started saying “Yes Mommy” (I started this in my late forties early fifties).

      It got her attention and made her realize I wasn’t her little boy anymore. [Smile]

  6. I can’t sleep nights. I have been working nights for well over 20 years now, and I get sleepy in the late evenings, but even on my days, er, nights, off, I almost always wake around 2 or 3 in the morning and then can’t sleep until maybe 6 or 7. And I’m almost always sleepy before midday because between 6 and noon is the time I usually do sleep. My schedule isn’t quite stable, it has a tendency to keep slipping forward – at regular periods I start to get sleepy later and later after work until I just stay awake most of the day, sleep maybe four hours before going to work, and then again can get to sleep right after work – but that is the most normal one for me anyway.

    Sucks during the holidays, and plays havoc with my social life – for some reason it seems to be very close to impossible for people having normal schedules to understand that I don’t, much less to understand that due to the decades I have kept this schedule it IS normal for me, being asked to be awake, sociable and alert around 9 in the morning is the same as if they were asked to be that around 3 in the morning, even if is during my vacation (and not because they had stayed up partying until then but either when they had gotten into bed around the normal time, after a day of work, and then dragged out of it a few hours later, or had not been able to go to bed at all after that full work day).

    • That sounds exactly like me. I TRY to go to bed around 4AM but frequently see the clock turn 6 (and lately 7). Left to my own devices I seem to have a 26 hour sleep cycle. (And with two weeks off thanks to the Christmas break and judicious use of vacation time, who knows WHEN I’m going to be up!)

      • Hm. Mine seems to be about same, 25 to 26 hours. I think I remember seeing something about an experiment where people stayed in some underground facility for a few weeks with no clocks, they slept when they felt sleepy and woke when they woke, and their schedules became about the same towards the end of the experiment.

  7. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    You can choose your friends, but not your family.

    Hehe. My wife has some of the same issues with her Mom. Mom is a really nice, little old lady. But she’s terribly scatter brained, doesn’t trust anyone other than herself to do things, repeats everything, and generally drives Heather nuts.

    I think that’s part of why Heather hasn’t been writing songs since her Dad died, and left Mom alone.

    And I’m damned if I know what I can do about it.

    Wish I could help, but knowing my talents, I’d probably make things worse 🙂