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Writing Hiccups…or Blessings

I apologize ahead of time for my next book. I have four toddlers, you see, and a stressful full time job to support them, and more often than not I haven’t been able to think about what to write. A typical writing session for me goes like this…
Self: Ah! Got my cup of tea, got my scented candle, cleaned the library, cue the music, dramatic steepled finger pose with my eyes closed in front of the keyboard for a sec… Then…

Kids (enter stage right, tearing books off shelf, shedding stuffed animals all over the place, hitting each other, crying and giggling all at once): “Rarrrr! Rarrrrrrrr! Wheeee! Hooo!!!! Catharina hit me! Tyndall put yogurt on my head! Whaaaaa! Please have candy? Please?”

Self: “No… No candy. Go play. Daddy’s trying to write. Now let’s see here… Then Esmond pulled forth the sacred chicken of Oom from his helm and… Tyndall! If you are going to sit on daddy, don’t wiggle so mu- Agh! Where did all this yogurt come from? Wife!”

Wife: “I’m feeding the baby and reading my book. Can you please deal with it, Darling, dear?”

Self (inside my head of course): “Why doesn’t she deal with all these kids? Why does she always dump them on me?” She only spends, like, every day wrangling them by herself every minute. “This is my writing time! My own! Mine! My preciouuuuusss….”

Kids: “Please have candy? Please? Please? You said yesterday…”

Self: “No I didn’t! Now what was that character’s name again…?”

Other kid: “Hold you! Hoooold you, daddy!”

Another kid: “Foo? Foo?”

Still another kid I didn’t even know we had: “Toys are boring. Play a game with us!”

You get the idea. I sometimes get a paragraph or two squeezed out before I shamefully lose my temper, blow up, and then pout like… Well, a toddler. Or just put it all down and go play a board game with the kids or swing em on the swing. And no writing gets done.

That is, of course, if it’s not at a late night writing session at work. Those nights I can generally get a page or two written before something comes in dying, with screaming owners… Who am I fooling? Usually two or three things come in dying, and my section dies with it. That’s why the whole second half of this book seems so choppy and sectioned that it might have been written by James T. Kirk.

It’s kind of hard to write a story about the blessing and wonder of raising a child, by ignoring living with four of them, and hoarding perpetual wrath at them because they keep getting in the way. So I let the toddlers kill it… And stomp on it… And rip out its fluffy stuffing… And break its fragile parts to bits… And eat whatever’s left of it… I’m too tired to stop them anyway.
And maybe that’s just the point… Maybe God intended this project all along to bring me (more than once) to the point of deciding whether to obsess about things or to obsess about my family. It’s really not hard to see which of those two I’d regret losing time with most when I look back on all this craziness.

I will eventually finish this story… It’s just going to have to be after a few more neighborhood walks, reading the same books millions of times, rounds of Enchanted Forest, tea parties, trips to the mountains, and Bible and school times. I’d rather have my wife and kids remember those things anyway, than me hunched over a keyboard all day in a fantasy land without them.
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