Oops – Yet Another Missed Deadline….


Lately I’ve been missing all kinds of deadlines. Won’t go through them all, but it was my turn to post here at Books Around the Table on June 16th and it’s now June 23. Ah, well. And ah, darn it. How does this happen – time passing at warp speed? And why does it happen more and more often?

My last post had to do with a Big Move (sold our house of 30 years, moved to a new town) and all the packing and unpacking involved (still only about 33% unpacked.) In the middle of that move, I flew off to an Alumni Mini-Residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts, had a ball, recharged my writing batteries, saw colleagues and former students, delivered a lecture about the importance of reading like a writer, led a workshop, won a couple of items at the Alumni Auction (proud to contribute to the fund-raising), marveled at the glass-enclosed lounge in the new faculty residency I’d been hearing about (lovely design but….impossible to sit around in your p.j.’s talking to friends at night with the lights on….), had an important conversation with a friend and colleague that I’ve only known slightly but now I know quite well, then took the bus down to Boston, saw my daughter and her family (grandson is now ten years old, how on earth did that happen??? Ah, yes, that phrase again: “warp speed” ) for a few days, flew home day before yesterday, unpacked suitcase, began to unpack boxes again….


Whew! Life got busy and days just evaporated. I only noticed tonight that it was my turn to offer up a well-considered thought or two about writing and or/the writing life for Books Around the Table. Well, what I’ve just described — that is my crazy writing life. Filled with curiosity and activity, but basically amorphous. Or, better said, shaped into periods of creativity book-ended by 1) chaos or 2) fallow times. I have friends who offer up the advice “BIC” (meaning “butt in chair”) and they follow their own advice – they sit themselves down and work every day. And they produce good books. I can’t seem to do the BIC thing.

Maybe because writing isn’t really a career for me? I’ve begun to wonder about that.  Writing is more a curiosity-satisfying activity for me. I love it, but it doesn’t really put food on the table for me. I’m unambitious – that’s sometimes good, sometimes not. And friends who know me know I don’t punch the clock well. But I’ve been writing in-between all the moving and traveling, so it’s not all fallow. I’ve written a series of poems called “What She’s Been Thinking Lately” about what a woman who lives a little too much inside her mind. Each poem is about what this woman has been thinking about lately – mainly about stars, tiny houses, medical research, space travel, bog bodies, the roots of Western Civilization, sink holes, mind control, biometric authentication, tissue engineering – things like that. She isn’t me, but….I’ve been thinking about those things lately.

Like I said: life has been haphazard and chaotic. Curiosity survives. I do like to share, so I remain part of Books Around the Table – and my BATT friends put up with me when I miss deadlines. I’m in awe of each one of them – they’re artistic, organized, energetic, productive, thoughtful friends. Then there’s me – often scattered, lost in thought, overbooked, late to the table, under-productive, absent-minded.  One of the nice things about “the writing life” is that you have writer-friends. So I want to say this to them officially: You know that woman I mentioned in that series of poems? She’s been thinking lately about friendship. And she’s very grateful her friends put up with her.


10 responses to “Oops – Yet Another Missed Deadline….

  1. Writing is talk written down, communication of shared or comparative ideas. Best wishes, good day. atk

    • Interesting idea, Annette – that writing is talk written down. Sometimes, I think writers who are trying too hard to sound smart forget the conversational element of the English language. I often had to ask students whether, in passages of dialogue they had created, someone would really speak that way. And when students were concerned about that, I’ve encouraged them to read the work of writers whose use of dialogue sounds authentically like spoken English (at least, as much as possible…spoken English sometimes gets a little choppy!)

  2. Leigh hammett

    I’m not sure only writers miss deadlines. Just retired have lists of what I will accomplish today, but like your deadlines my projects are often woefully behind at days end.
    I enjoy the writerly thoughts and thank Laura for sharing you folks.

    • So true, Leigh! My lists have gotten even longer now that I’ve retired, and by the end of the day, I can’t even find them…..

  3. You are officially absolved, Julie. 🙂 I join you in the failed BIC club!

    • Bonny, we’ll call our organization the WAFF Club – Wandering Around for Fun. Founding members: 1. Me 2. You.

  4. Julie, you must keep writing, I enjoy your posts so, so much! Your easy slow smile and wit brings such a sparkle to my day. Thank you, Nancy

  5. BIC has never worked for me, Julie. I am a bear of little attention, and o need to keep moving. The treadmill desk was my productivity solution. But I also know that I can’t produce at the rate some of my brilliant writer friends and colleagues can. I take time. More time than I can predict, usually. Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh took 13 years and needed every minute. A picture book in progress is clicking into its tenth year now. We all do this differently and whether it’s a career or not seems irrelevant. If there is a book dying to be written can’t we just make iroom for it to grow?

    • What you say is so true, Uma – leaving the room necessary for a book to grow is important. Quite similar to a garden, actually. And to kids, come to think of it!

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