Thursday, January 3, 2013

Why I Don't Write

It's very gratifying when readers leave comments like this one on An Analysis of the Cardassian Language: "Where's the rest of the story?" But comments like this also ask a legitimate question: Why don't I write more? It's not that I don't want to. Take today, for example.

When I got up around 6:00 it was five below out, and, yup, the bathroom is outdoors. Bundle up, go out, come back in, take off the outdoor gear, think about breakfast. The water's coming out very rusty from the hand pump. It does that when it's cold out; I don't know why. Maybe ice crystals are playing wall ball with the pipe. Anyway, no doing dishes or drinking pump water till that clears up. But that's why we keep several full bottles under the sink.

Then it's time to get to work. No, not writing yet. The convenient stack of wood has just about run out, so it's time to uncover the inconvenient one. Bundle up again, take a good layer of snow off the top, remove the weights that hold the tarp down, remove snow again, then remove the tarp. Now, the stack is carefully balanced, so I clear the snow off a couple of chopping blocks, stand on them and start removing wood, carefully, from across the top. I bring it in until the space beside the chimney and the space under the stove are full. Then I transfer the rest of the wood to the porch, where the convenient stack was. When I get tired I check my email and tweet about my blog. Not that I've posted anything today.

By the time the wood's about a third done it occurs to me that we're going to burn through it fast at the rate we're going. I can't control the weather, but there are a few things I can control, more or less. We're losing a lot of heat around the door, for example. Not only is that corner of the house just drafty in general, but the door opens directly to the outdoors. Good New Hampshire houses have mudrooms that function as airlocks to preserve heat. So every fall I hang a set of thick quilted drapes to make a temporary mudroom for the cold months. Only last fall I didn't. So when I'm done with the wood I get going on that. Or I try to, but I can't find the stupid thing. Small house, lots of family members keeping stuff here, stuff getting added and taken away every few months. The place is never tidy, always looks like a bizarre combination of charming log cabin and disorganized warehouse. And I lose track of things.

So I spend a few hours organizing the warehouse and looking for the mudroom. No dice. (Actually didn't see any dice, but I think I know where they are.) Give up and grab some blankets. No rod pocket in a blanket, so I'll have to nail them up, need to get out some nails and a hammer. One of the blankets turns out to be a tiny throw; I'll have to find another one. And then I remember where the mudroom is. I put my coat and gloves on, push off some snow, shake some ice loose, and open the barrel. That's right, I had it in a barrel outdoors. Space, sometimes - good indoor space - is at such a premium, we can get very creative. I pull out half the set, bring it indoors to warm up, wish it hadn't completely slipped my mind to do this months ago. There's a reason my daughter calls me "crazy writer lady." I see my computer, I see the time, and can't stand the fact that I haven't posted a blog entry today, so I write this.

After I hit 'publish', I'll finish installing the temporary mudroom, reheat some supper and eat it, and - if life doesn't hijack me again - write at least a little before I sleep. But chances are it won't be a big enough chunk to post yet.


  1. You accomplish an admirable amount, given the circumstances. Kudos!
    Louise Sorensen
    louise3anne twitter

  2. Thank you, Louise, that's very encouraging.

  3. I agree. Plus you're reminiscent of the old-time, self-sufficient New Hampshire yankees that make us New Englanders proud - even though most of us have only a passing familiarity with that.