Writing in the Midst of Chaos

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

How many of you have done remodeling in your houses while you’re trying to live there? And work there? Believe me it’s not the easiest thing to do. We’re building on a room to accomodate our growing family. We tell people we’re building a big room for one day a year when we celebrate Christmas with the kids. With nine grandkids and a grand dog and the mommies and daddies, things were beginning to get over full in our little house. You see we moved into this house when our kids were young. It was a starter house, but we built it on our farm and we’ve never wanted to move anywhere else. I think I’ve told you before that my roots go all the way to China and I’m attached to the place. The girl in my current book has something of the same problem. She’s attached to her place, too, but things are making it hard for her. Me, I’m doing fine here and not anticipating any reasons to need to loosen my roots.

So the house was small but big enough for us when we moved in over thirty years ago. It had conveniences I’d never had and so we were very happy with the house. Then about twenty years ago, we added a second bathroom (a definite improvement) and an office for me. Before that I wrote at a desk in the kitchen. But having my own office with doors that closed was a fantastic blessing. Still is. My room has four big windows where I can look out on the fields and yard. But you know, when I get into my story, I don’t see the trees and grass outside. I’m looking inward and it’s only when I get stalled that I see the outdoors that’s actually in front of my eyes.

So I love my office and it’s a great place to work. But it has been wild around here this week with all the home improvements going on. Monday we had a convention of pickup trucks. I think there must have been ten in the driveway as plumbers, carpenters, electricians, heat & air workers all showed up to work. The contractor was knocking brick off the wall to get ready to cut holes in the side of the house. Trust me, that’s not quiet work. Right outside my office window in the place of my usually peaceful view of trees and birds at feeders three men were putting in a new heat pump. I closed the blinds. That helped a little. Then they were moving around in the crawl space under my feet and talking about cutting new vent holes in my floor. Not exactly the most ideal atmosphere for writing on my book. But the deadline looms so I can’t stop. I considered taking my laptop and going out to try writing in the car. I talked to a writer who says that’s how she likes to write. But I think she was on the way places when she was doing that. With a driver, of course.

But I kept on keeping on and actually got some words out of my head and onto the page. I read a “how I do it” article once by a sci-fi writer. I can’t remember which writer for sure, but he’s written many, many books. Anyway, he said he could write with a crying child on his lap and that he had done that. I can’t write with a crying child on my lap. I know that. I wouldn’t even try. I’d be trying to get the baby to stop crying. But I have found out this week that I can write with some heat and air guys yelling back and forth at one another while they crawl around under my floor while saws are cutting through concrete and bricks are falling off the walls and hammers are hammering. That’s something. And I’m going to do it again tomorrow. At least I’m going to give it my best shot.

If any of you have done remodeling, hope all the hammering is done now and you’re enjoying your new and improved spaces. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy mine. Someday.