Today hurt a little bit.  It ended up a good day, really, in part due to the decision I made earlier that felt pretty bad at the time:

I’ve quit NaNoWriMo.  Things were going well and I had 38,000 of the requisite 50,000 words and I was so close.  But in no way do I wish obfuscate the main point: I’m a quitter.  Quitting hurts.  It hurts me, anyway.  I have tendencies of, “don’t try unless you KNOW you can succeed,” because failing is kind of a worst nightmare (I’m going to skip over the fact that the whole novel was an exercise in FAIL, as in an assed-out terrible piece of reading, but anyone who’s written a novel knows this is typical for a first draft or Crap Draft as I’d prefer to call it).   I don’t blame any circumstances or anyone else.  I chose to stop and it was a measured, calculated, agonizing decision.

I quit because A. my husband been having a rough two weeks which has, unfortunately, translated to him not supporting me in the household stuff as much as I need, but perhaps more relevantly: B. my daughter told me I was spending too much time on the computer.  And no, I don’t do whatever pops into my kids’ little noggins.  My decision comes down to the knowledge of my daughter: she is more apt to swallow frustrations, to become hurt and resentful, to not ask for what she wants.  In a fight earlier in the day I asked her why she’d been glaring at me so much?  And this is what came forth from her.  And I thought about it, and when I sat at her feet and told her she was more important to me than my book, and I wanted her more than my book, her whole demeanor changed.  She was surprised – she did not expect I would change my behavior in any way based on her expressed feelings – and impressed and her eyes opened and her body language softened.  She knew how much the book meant to me – she remembered last year when I did the same thing.

So today I got back to cleaning, cooking, and being with the kiddos more.  And that’s that.

If you’re interested, you can read (most of) my aborted novel here.

the groupie who gets out the pjs and reads a bedtime story

Ten to eight years ago when my husband was fronting his most earnest and ambitious music project yet I prided myself on attending every concert they had. Come hell or high water, long hours at my job, a broken-down car (I think I availed myself of a one hour cab ride once) I made sure to be there (I remember a particularly grueling trip driving to Spokane, playing a show – unpaid – and driving back, in one day. Wait, there’s more: we had five of us in my little Mazda truck, including all the band gear. And none of the guys brought money for food – I paid. I think we went to the Outback Steakhouse somewhere in Desert Hell Fuck Hole, WA. When we got back at 4 AM or whatever Ralph helped his guitar player do his paper route, because the guy was wrecked. This is all 100% true and indicative of aspects of rock-band life). It was aggravating sometimes to support some of the types of shows and venues that went down. But I loved every minute of his performance. I loved his music, and I remain so impressed and inspired that he can write – and perform – the way he does. For me, this is something as close to magic as I can credit – creating something out of thin air, making people dance or cry.

I wanted to be there every time he played, for his sake and my own.

Things have changed since then, and tonight I’m reminded of the largest difference: our two children. Although a wonderful local friend here in Port Townsend found a childcare option for our kiddos (who we take to shows unless, like in this case, it’s 21 and over), it was so obvious to me tonight watching the children cavort with their babyhood friends at a grange dance that my daughter – who a few days ago was at the southern terminal end of the Western United States coastline – would not best benefit from a hang-out with a handful of kids and a movie night while her brother fought with her over popcorn and occasionally tried to murder her. She needed me or her father, full stop; and since her father was going to be up on stage reaping the acclaim (and possible airborne panty missiles, yet I kid) of his fans, it was going to be me.

And I was right. After we drop the bandmates off uptown Sophie, sad and forlorn like a wilted nightflower in her ivory and black silk dress, suffers through renting a movie and heading back to the hostel and my preparations cleaning out the car, stripping her and getting the bath and night clothes ready. By the time I’ve gone to the upstairs kitchen, fixed her a bowl of fragrant oatmeal, and brought down a few books to read she is curled up asleep in the corner cot of the six-bed room. Waving the bowl of hot cereal under her nose and she revives, her eyes sleepy and red. She is ravenously hungry and eats, then reads the books I brought her. She is bone-tired, but centered – even smiling, and I know I made the necessary choice.

Now, sitting in a dormitory while she showers, typing my handful of words (this month’s novel effort will have to wait), I miss my friends at the show, and I’m sad I couldn’t be there for my husband. But I do know he knows I’m inspired by him; and as for our many and awesome friends I hope they all know how much it means to our family to have them show up – because sometimes even the most die-hard fan can’t be there.