Sunday, May 25, 2008

My Addiction

Ah, irony. I don't know if my life holds more of it, or if I've just developed a better sense of seeing it in my old(er) age, but these days it seems to be everywhere. Today, for example, I have been trying to edit a book proposal for an agent who has asked to see it, and been constantly interrupted by my children. Of course, this is a parenting book I'm proposing, so the fact that it may never get out the door because my children are not listening to me is pretty ironic.

Actually, my kids are great. The problem is me. Since quitting my editing job all of a month ago, I have sold two articles to a national magazine, have a request for more queries, and have gotten this email from a literary agent asking to see my book proposal. I hate rain, but I love it when it pours like this. I love it so much, in fact, that I've been all but neglecting everything (including meals and sleep) for as long as possible this weekend to get in more writing than ever. It's not that I'm on tight deadlines. I realized my problem at 4:30 this morning when, after giving feverish Ben some cold water, I seriously considered getting up to write. When I decided that would be crazy, I instead continued to lie in bed and write and edit in my head for a good 45 minutes. That's when I realized: I have an addiction. I am addicted to writing.

They say the first step in fixing your problem is admitting that you have one, but what do you do when you don't *want* to fix it? What if you don't consider it a problem and are merely recognizing a personality trait that you hadn't really appreciated before? You would think that by age 41, I would have learned this much about myself, but no. The truth is that before now, I have never had the luxury of being able to write full-time, committing all my energies and efforts to furthering my writing career. There were high-paying computer jobs; a new house; new babies; editing jobs; more editing jobs; T-ball; Cub Scouts; gymnastics classes. There was always something that kept me too busy. Fear of failure preventing me from making the leap? Fear of success? A nice, balanced life? Who knows.

The fact is that, now that I'm writing and submitting and getting positive responses and more opportunities to write, I'm hooked. It's an unbelievable feeling to do something you love, and have loved for as long as you can remember, and suddenly be getting praises for it, *requests* for it. They want more! I get to write more!

The problem then becomes my focus. If you could do what you loved all day long instead of what you needed to do, or what you should be doing, which would you choose? OK, Mr. Responsibility, but which one would you WANT to choose? Ah ha. So it's not just me.

If we were just talking dirty dishes in the sink, laundry, running out of milk, this compulsion to write exclusive of everything else wouldn't be a problem. These things can be put off. Food can be ordered in. I work at home and could do it in my pjs. But feverish children, dogs with small bladders and other family members who aren't all that fond of takeout or water on their cereal are hard to ignore. Not that I want to ignore them. OK, maybe a little. OK, maybe just for a few days. Just until I get this proposal out. Oh, and my next pitch to that magazine. Yikes.

OK, I admit it. I have a problem. Fortunately, a dog with a small bladder gets me out of the house several times a day, making me realize, "hey! It's really nice out today! That sun feels great!" And hungry children who are too picky to eat anything but bagels and tomato soup make sure I get up and move around the house once in a while. And while the soup is simmering, maybe I'll just throw in a load of laundry. Oh, and fever boy? He whines so much less when I read him funny books. And he smells so good after a bath that I want to cuddle with him and read to him forever.

Maybe addiction is not my problem. Maybe what's come over me is passion, and that is what makes my life so rich these days. It is filled with people, work and events that I am passionate about with my whole being. Who couldn't love a life like mine? It's filled with everything I've ever wanted.

The problem, it seems, is finding a way to go without sleep so that I can enjoy all of them as much as possible. Hmmm. Maybe I'll do a little research. If I can find a way to go without sleep, I can write an article about it....

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