Saturday, October 9, 2010

Shifting Gears

It has been a week of late arrivals and late departures,  changed plans and reworked strategies--in other words:  a giant, unrelenting pain in the ass.

I was thinking about writing a post entitled Am I in Hell, or is this just another airport?, and probably one day soon I will.  But as the nature of my trip has morphed from business to pleasure, my attitude about the whole thing has been refreshed as well.

Writer's Nirvana
At the moment, I'm sitting outside in Northern New Jersey on one of the most beautiful days I can remember.  There's a strong, cool breeze, but the sky is clear and the sun still has enough strength left, even in early October, to keep me warm inside my windbreaker and jeans.  I will be going out soon with my hosts, two of my oldest friends in the world; but this moment I have to myself.

Leaving home, even on a short trip, is something I no longer handle gracefully.  There was a time, a mere decade ago, when I spent three nights or more of every week in Chicago or New York.  I worked this way for about a year, and honestly, I enjoyed it.  It wasn't only about the restaurant dining and the nice hotels:  being away gave me the opportunity to reach the end of a long work day without facing new demands on my energy and attention at home.

The reason that arrangement was successful for me is that I do not easily shift gears from one condition to another.  My internal state machine has rusty gears.  If I am in work mode, I need some time to move back into daddy mode.  If I'm in daddy mode, I do not slide easily into writer mode.  And so forth.

OK, not quite THIS big
Jackie is different.  She can come home from work, walk in the door, drop her giant über-purse on the counter and start sorting through the mail, or helping the kids with their homework, all without missing a beat.  I have no idea how that works.  She finds it equally hard to understand why I can't just look up from a story I'm working on, answer a question about how to do something on the Mac, and then jump right back into writing.

So I'm grateful to Jackie, our kids, my friends Andy and Sarah, and their kids, for managing to find room in their lives to give me this extra day of transition between my insane, annoying week of travel and my return to my normal day to day existence.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you found a moment of peace! Greg and I are off to New York on Thursday. Yes, that's why I couldn't do the crit group. It was a last minute arrangement.

    Love the photo additions to the blog posts. I've got to learn to do that next. Safe travels and see ya soon!