Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Day in the Life

I recently read Annie Dillard's The Writing Life, in which she describes the daily schedules of herself and other prolific, well-known authors. It's remarkable how similar MY daily schedule is to hers. Here, for example, is Wednesday's schedule:

6:00 am Get off red-eye flight on Atheneum jet home from Bildungsroman.
6:30 am Yoga, quiet meditation
7:30 am Pensive walk through woods behind house
8:15 am Chop firewood, make coffee, 100% organic whole wheat banana pancakes
8:45 am Kiss children (who have quietly prepared themselves for the school day) off to school
9:00 am Write 1,700 words.
11:00 am Stop at local independent bookstore to pick up Thor's manifesto on Faust. Be mobbed by adoring fans.
12:00 pm Luncheon with two of smartest women I know. Discuss educational philosophy and the gifted student, transcendental characters in literary theory, and Dante.
1:00 pm Write 1,700 more words.
3:00 pm Soup kitchen
4:30 pm Pick children up from school. Serve homemade organic blueberry muffins with 2 pounds spinach (from our hydroponic greenhouse!) blended into batter.
5:00 pm Work with children to thresh wheat, harvest squash, etc. for hand-rolled gnocchi with fall vegetables.
6:00 pm Family volunteer night at local animal shelter
7:00 pm Family dinner. Discuss highlights and lowlights of everyone's day in calm, non-combative atmosphere. Brainstorm together possible solutions for individual difficulties. End by linking arms and singing Kumbaya.
8:00 pm Family read aloud from classics in children's literature
8:30 pm Children sleeping peacefully. Romantic dessert with Thor.
9:15 pm Write 1,700 more words. Also, re-tile master bathroom and plant 150 tulip bulbs.
10:00 pm Make tomorrow's lunches, pick tomorrow's outfits, clean house, get breakfast ready to go, brush cats, hang "reminder" notes for kids.
10:15 pm Yoga, floss, 15 minutes organic avocado anti-aging mask
10:35 pm Read this year's dense but rewarding Booker/Nobel/Pulitzer Prize winner.
11:00 pm Fall soundly asleep. Dream plot to best-selling and literary masterpiece.

What? You don't believe me? But who would read a writing book that tells the truth about the daily schedule...

6:00 am Give up trying to get toddler back to sleep. Get up.
6:30 am Have already said, "Don't touch that" 15 times. Hear toddler wake up sister.
6:31 am "What was that?!" "She hit me!" "Did not! Besides, he woke me up!"
7:30 am Everyone downstairs for breakfast of frozen waffles. Make lunches, locate coats, hates, and one glove each, give up on lost library book. Forget to feed cats.
8:15 am Discover green booger-like slime ball in container of soy milk. Do not vomit.
8:17 am Announce, "We are leaving NOW."
8:35 am Leave.
8:45 am Kiss daughter. Throw her in general vicinity of school.
9:00 am Stop at local independent bookstore to pick up Thor's book on the NBA. Try to keep son from eating books in front of proprietor.
11:00 am Storyhour at library.
12:00 pm Luncheon with two of smartest women I know. Discuss educational philosophy and the gifted student, transcendental characters in literary theory, and snot.
1:00 pm Pick daughter up early from school for the big "buy a new fish" adventure.
1:15 pm To PetCo. Choose new fish. Return home.
1:45 pm Wash rocks for fish tank. Son falls while climbing. Try to determine if that is actually a missing chunk of tongue he has bitten off.
2:00 pm Flood daughter's dresser with overflowed fish water.
2:30 pm Son consumes mouthful of dried fish flakes.
3:00 pm Blue's Clues. Attempt to write.
4:30 pm Release fish into tank of water. Assure children fish are acclimated.
5:00 pm Realize dinner of salmon was risky choice given the new pets. Assure children that salmon eat zebrafish and that zebrafish will be thrilled we have turned the tables.
5:30 pm Make chicken nuggets.
6:00 pm Family dinner. At no point will all four members of family be seated, nor will anyone be allowed to finish a sentence. End by checking on fish, who seem sluggish. Assure children fish are adjusting to new home.
8:00 pm Family read aloud from Richard Scarry's Busytown Mysteries. Again.
8:30 pm Twitter.
9:15 pm Fall asleep writing own story.
9:30 pm Brush teeth. Sort of.
10:00 pm Read Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally).
11:00 pm Fall asleep. Dream brilliant solution to thorny plot problems. Forget it immediately.

7:00 am Flush dead fish.

Sigh.

14 comments:

Tara Lazar said...

Wow. You and I are living parallel lives. Except you've been IN a Cheerios box while I have a Cheerios box dumped out onto the kitchen floor.

Kimberly Pauley said...

Yes, my day resembles this in very frightening ways. Except I just have one kiddo and none in school. :-)

cath c said...

the problem here is the 2nd version contained a severe lack of doughnuts, which as we know makes everything run much more smoothly .....before the sugar crash anyway....

deborah freedman said...

But Jacqui, just thing of the material you are collecting! SOME day, you will have time to do something with it.

BTW, I love that book. There is something about Annie Dillard's voice that just makes me smile.

Rasco from RIF said...

My youngest is 30 and I read this experiencing vividly each step of your day, the memory imprints are strong. I loved this, needed to laugh this hard! Oh, me............thank you.

Jacqui said...

Tara, oh, we have those too. Except ours have been sitting around since 2007!

Kimberly, oh, school is essential. Seriously. :)

cath c, EXACTLY. Think hos much better the day would've been if it had started with doughnuts instead. Very wise point. (goes to get some)

Debbie, I know. But I just can't see Jodi getting all excited about my new picture book "The Slug in the Soy Milk."

I love The Writing Life too. Writers, if you haven't read it, it's wonderful.

Jacqui said...

Rasco, thank YOU.

cath c said...

i confess i stole the writing life from a friend after a borrow because i couldn't in good conscience give it back. it was mine.

i'm usually much more trustworthy than that. i really should buy another copy and send it to her. it has been decades...

Ann Finkelstein said...

With older kids, the issues change but the tempo and tone of the day remain the same. Any landing you can walk away from ...

J. Thorp said...

I like your story better, actually-- makes me feel like there's hope for me ...

word verification: lysol -- too many snot and booger references in your post?

WordWrangler said...

so - your list begs the question: were we separated a birth? ;)

When my oldest DD (who was in kindergarten at the time) finally understood her goldfish had died(Alligator was his name), she asked the very pertinent question, "Can we fry him up for supper?" :)

Anonymous said...

Tears of laughter are rolling down my face. This one is priceless!

Jacqui said...

Thanks, Anonymous!

Ann, yes, I usually ask "Are you on fire?" "Is it bleeding?" and "Do I need to cut it off?"

Thorp, there's lot of hope for you. But I always picture your house running so smoothly.

WordWrangler, hee hee. I love a goldfish named Alligator.

Anonymous said...

My day is like this, except there is more sibling arguing,eye-rolling and lost items. Not to mention a few chocolate bars consumed at high-stress moments.

Pat Zietlow Miller