Mom is trying to be a Writer.
So we’re being quiet and leaving her alone.
As we tip-toe, stomp-foot into the kitchen searching for cookies. Searching, searching till Mom asks What are you looking for? and we say Cookies and she says They’re in the cupboard drawer labeled cookies and we shrug and say That’s weird and stomp-foot back upstairs.
Trailing crumbs as the dog follows us vacuum cleaner style, which is the right and proper job of dogs and how they earn their keep.
Mom is trying to be a Writer so Dad hisses Quiet! Louder than we ever are and Sister wants peach yogurt not spiced pear and isn’t there any left and Mom says I dunno and Sister asks again,
While Dad runs the garbage disposal (which as everyone knows is super quiet), and Littlest Brother says Be Quiet! to Sister who sticks out her tongue and Dad yells We need more wood! Which evidently doesn’t count as noise because if the fire dies we will all freeze to death and Mom’s fingers will be stuck to her computer keys forever; or at least until spring thaw by which time she will have starved or maybe even lost that weight she’s been talking about losing since Littlest Brother was in diapers.
Minutes pass. Mom’s fingers are still. We imagine she is Thinking..
And the microwave beeps and Dad rummages in the spice cupboard while making the grocery list for dinner, and Oldest Brother - spotting Middle Brother eating a bagel by the fire - exclaims Is that the last bagel!
To which Middle Brother replies, I Ttihinbm Swo.
And Oldest Brother hollers, What?
And Middle Brother hollers back, I Thinkbm Swo!
And Dad hisses Be Quiet!! And Littlest Brother says Mom needs a Be Quiet sign! And Oldest Brother hollers, Well what the crap is he saying?
And Mom yells HE SAYS I THINK SO!
So Mom, who is trying to be a Writer, decides to stay up late to work. And now it’s dark outside and kinda creepy and are those coyote eyes gleaming? The fire has burned low though she has the space heater and a cuppa tea and a bag of spice cookies and it's blessedly quiet with a full moon shining in through a window she feels not quite positively certain no one is standing outside of.
Mom’s fingers click doggedly upon the keys and her mind races and she think thinks: wasn’t that a scratch at the back door and I’m no doubt imagining the moving shadows outside the window. Isn't it odd here when everyone is asleep but me, and dang but this space heater is burning up my right leg while the left is freezing right off and this flippin' hard chair's making my butt numb.
Virginia Woolf advocated having a room of one’s own - but look how she ended up. Though I do have a room of my own and another one besides, so why’d I put my desk so near the family room in the first place?
Because trying to be a Writer takes diligence and tenacity and perseverance and total insanity; plus the other rooms are cold and lonely and no doubt that’s part of the reason poor Virginia drowned herself.
It was the Quiet.
She just couldn't take it.
L.D.B. Taylor (aka Lisa) is the author of several books whose newest manuscript is pending publication; she is represented by Rena Rossner. Formerly of Its Own Sweet Will, she now blogs at LDBTaylor.com (a very new, work in progress!) A lifelong reader and writer, Lisa appreciates wit, sarcasm, chocolate, hot tea, cool mountain evenings, travel, and books by the score.
Incredibly cheesy photo of Lisa.