Life: It Happens to the Best of Us

It’s been my experience that a creative person’s goals–fragile, beautiful little things that they are–frequently crash headlong into the mercurial realities of life.

This morning, as I sit at my kitchen table to do my morning pages, I can’t help but catch sight of the wall calendar opposite me and notice that August 28th is a mere sixteen days away. Time appears to have sprung a leak this summer. Just a moment ago, it was June 16th, and I was attending the end-of-year faculty party.

Ah, summer vacation. The kids would be in camp all day. Hubby would be hard at work with his stuff down in his studio. I’d have two

Monhegan Island, Maine
A visual representation of my mental image of summer in all its leisurely, creativity-inspiring glory.

months crank out as much work for my graduate studies as possible. Heck, I might be able to knock off every third-semester assignment before the end of August when I had to return to my full-time job of teaching science to high-schoolers. The future looked bright.

Now, I have less than three weeks before I’m back in the classroom and my creative endeavors become relegated to a dimly lit, neglected corner of existence. What the heck?!

Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote in 1785, “The best laid schemes of Mice and Men go oft awry.” Isn’t that the truth?

Now, sitting here, faced with irrefutable evidence that yet another blissful summer of writing has snuck by me, shielded by the dust kicked up by the mocking chaos of reality, a couple of thoughts spring to mind.

First, I spend perhaps a bit too much time cursing J. K. Rowling for thinking up that damnable Time Turner from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Why, J. K.? Why did you have to tease me with that thing? I’ve never been good at math, but even if I were a genius with numbers I still wouldn’t be able to count all the times I’ve wished for things that don’t exist: the ability to fly, a non-evil and therefore helpful clone, a sable-coated prehensile tail… and now, I can add a time turner to that list. Garr!!

Additionally, I find myself thinking yet again of the first episode from the 1980’s reboot of the Twilight Zone. In “A Little Piece and Quiet” (directed by Wes Craven), a housewife with way too much stuff in her life and no time for herself digs up a necklace/amulet in her flower bed that gives her the power to stop time completely. It’s fantastic until nuclear war breaks out, and then it’s not fantastic anymore.

There she is, realizing that her fabulous discovery has just ruined her life.

Hey, it’s the Twilight Zone. Nothing ever ends well in the Twilight Zone. That’s what I loved about it and still do. The thing is, I first saw that episode as a rerun when I was fifteen or sixteen. That was… a very long time ago, yet it’s still with me. A magical necklace that can stop time! Not unlike that half-alien chick from the TV show of the same era, “Out of This World” (which, in stark contrast to the Twilight Zone, was terrible) who could stop time by touching her fingers together. The time-stopping amulet was way better because of its mysterious and potentially sinister origins.

Anyway, I think about Hermione’s time turner and that doomed housewife’s time-stopping amulet all the time. If only…

Well, I’ve finished nursing my cup of coffee. The tea kettle just whistled to let me know the water’s hot and ready for my post-coffee cup of Constant Comment. The kids are awake and ravenously ready for breakfast. And the home-repair project that ate up my entire day yesterday sits waiting to be finished. If I’m to be honest with myself, this day is probably already spent, and I shouldn’t get my hopes up regarding being able to sneak in any creative writing. That said, you never know what might happen. I could be picking roofing nails out of the lawn and stumble across the uncovered corner of an ancient rune-encrusted box containing a mysterious golden amulet. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she.

What do you dream about in the harried moments when life devours your creative goals and spits out their shattered little bones at your feet?

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