Saturday, March 02, 2013

I Am a Pretentious Schlub

Life doesn’t really get much more exciting than this. I am sitting at home on a Saturday night with the kids, eating popcorn chicken that came in a 10-pound bag from Costco and watching a yodeling cowboy on television (Home on the Range). Oh yea, did I mention that I am wearing sweatpants and my son’s tube socks? If I am not the poster child for forty-year-old apathy, then I don’t know who is.

This has been my life lately since deciding that I am going to be a “serious writer.” I have come to the rather disconcerting conclusion that writing…well….it ain’t pretty. As a matter of fact, it is downright ugly at times. I spend hours hunched over my laptop, ignoring my children, deep in thought. I live in pajamas. Some days I don’t shower. I talk to myself now, too. Yep, that’s not the sign of a stable mind. All because I want to be a “serious writer.”

Is it worth it? Yea…probably not. Am I enjoying it? I am. And I am not. I am enjoying it because I truly love to write and fiction is proving to be challenging and exciting and horizon-broadening. And I hate it because I don’t want to do anything else. I don’t want to walk on the treadmill. I don’t want to play Mario with my son. I don’t want to watch television (I even lost all interest in Downton Abbey, which in my opinion, is tantamount to treason against public television). I have all but stopped visiting Pinterest. And Foodgawker. And Etsy. And eBay. And Zulily. I even—and I hesitate to admit this—would rather sit and write than go to Target. Gasp! It’s s sickness, I tell you. A scourge.

I tell myself I should write less, but that is really counterintuitive for someone who wants to be a writer. The common wisdom is to write, write, and then write some more. But how wise is the common wisdom? And if it was such good advice, wouldn’t it be called something like “the goddamn greatest wisdom in the world” instead of “the common wisdom?” I don’t know. I think I lack even “substandard wisdom” most days.

And then to make matters worse, I have all but stopped writing about my children on this blog. Now I write about writing, which is probably about the most pretentious thing a writer can write about. So not only am I an apathetic substandardly wise schlub, I am a pretentious apathetic substandardly wise schlub. Writing is making me pretty damn unlikable. But maybe all writers are like that? Maybe they are all pretentious, unlikable schlubs. I think I am on to something here.

Because I realize that many of you who read this blog may have no interest whatsoever in my creative writing pursuits, I have created a new blog. I will still be posting here, of course, but I will also be posting short stories I have written on the new blog, called Shannon's Shorts. Because I hope to one day have one or more of my stories published, the new blog is not open for public consumption. Viewing rights are by invitation only. If you are interested, please send me your email address and I will forward you an invitation to the new blog.

Now, in an attempt to make myself seem a little less pretentious, I will share a funny anecdote with you about my children—my daughter, in particular. Sophie is not baby-crazy like most girls her age are. As a matter of fact, she is quite the opposite. She does not like babies at all. She even refuses to speak to my 9-month-old niece Mimi who is, by far, the cutest damn baby I’ve ever seen in my life. She just doesn’t like babies. Or small children, really. Or older kids or adults. Let’s just suffice it to say she is not a people person at all, but she especially abhors babies. And she gets extremely upset when her brothers tell her that she is going to have babies when she grows up. Of course, they believe with their entire little Y chromosomes that women and mothers are interchangeable. Women are mothers and mothers are women.

Earlier this week, we were driving in the car—because all of my children’s question about God and/or sex always happen while in the car—when Sophie asked me if she has to have babies when she grows up. Of course, I told her she did not. The choice was completely hers to make and, if she did not want children, she did not have to have children.

“So, how does that work?” she asked.

“How does what work, honey?” I replied.

“How does a woman keep from having a baby if she doesn’t want to?”

“Well…she just doesn’t have one.”

“But how does that work. What does she have to do?”

This is the moment when a less-schlubby mother would explain at least the rudimentary basics of sex to her daughter. Right? Unfortunately for Sophie, she has me as a parent.

I panicked. Then I dodged the question. Then I used a distraction tactic.

“Well…hmm….we can talk about that later…look! Did you see that puppy, Sophie? Wasn’t she the cutest puppy ever?!”

I am not proud.


Madgew said...

You crack me up. I love your writing and your stories.

Sam said...

If you're looking to get published, check out Mirror Publishing of Milwaukee, WI. Neal Wooten, the owner, is fantastic to work with. Good luck with your writing adventures!

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