The past few days have been an emotional roller coaster. I spent a good chunk of last week working on an essay to submit for a magazine contest. After surprising myself by writing something quite fanciful (not my typical M.O.), I attempted to write a more straightforward, classic essay version. I offered both pieces to a few close friends for feedback and got discouragingly mixed results. While this started me on a loop-de-loop, it was just the beginning.
Concurrent with the writing exercises, my husband and I were looking into buying a new house in East Nashville (well, not "new" new, but new to us). While we are pretty happy in our current place and love our street and our neighbors, we have a three bedroom house with tiny closets and three daughters. You do the math. B & K share a room and our evenings go something like this:
8:00 - Put B & K to bed, including saying prayers, tucking them in, kisses all aroundSo when we saw a 5 bedroom home with (ahem) 4 full baths and a completely renovated kitchen, it seemed too good to pass up. We toured the home a week ago today and the entire family was pretty wowed. (Cue the roller-coaster on a steep ascent - we were gaining altitude.) After seeing the home with our agent on Thursday, we made an offer Friday night. (And here we pause briefly at the peak to take in the view.)
8:02 - K emerges, "I need to go to the baff-room." Parent responds, "OK. Go."
8:05 - B emerges, "Can I have a drink of water?" "A small one. Then go to bed."
8:07 - "K, are you still in the bathroom? Get in your bed!"
8:10 - Giggling, thumping, tussling sounds can be heard through the wall of B & K's room
8:15 - "Girls, stop playing and go to sleep."
Repeat cycle for another quarter to half an hour, depending on whether the night is a good one or a bad one.
Alas, we were too late. Another offer came through before ours. One that wasn't contingent upon the sale of the buyer's home. (Sharp decline. Stomach ends up in throat as we plummet.) We couldn't match that, so the lovely home with huge closets, hardwoods throughout and space for three teenage daughters will go to someone else. (The coaster levels off, we regain our breath.)
Now, we don't need this house. I'm not sure our closets can accommodate the wardrobe needs of a straight laced eldest, a hippy chick middle and an anything goes youngest daughter, but we're doing OK for now. Even as I write, I am sitting at my sweet little desk, with the window open in front of me. I love this spot. But... we had all started to imagine ourselves elsewhere. Each girl had chosen a bedroom. I was mentally rearranging furniture. (We pull into the loading dock, thankful to get off the coaster. Feeling a bit weak-kneed.)
And, perhaps hardest, I had wondered whether instead of writing, I was meant to focus my energies on selling this home and preparing us for a new one. The writing, after all, was tanking before my eyes. If I couldn't even write a simple essay that would please my own friends, what did I think I was doing with all of this free time? Why bother? (I consider climbing back aboard the coaster, if only to delay the inevitable return to real life.)
But I bother because I want to write. I want to write. And I want to do it well. And I'm old enough and wise enough to know what art does not come easy. It takes draft after draft, crumpled page after crumpled page, to achieve that initial vision. So in spite of a clenched stomach, I'm going to end this post and give that essay one more shot. Then, no matter how I feel about it, I'm going to submit something to the contest. Because I owe myself that much.