This is a picture of my son doing an impression of a zombie, but it might as well be a picture of me as of late.
If you’re anything like I imagine you to be, you’re checking in here at least twice a day to make sure your eyes aren’t deceiving you, and possibly even calling your Internet provider claiming that your strand of the World Wide Web must be tangled in a knot, resulting in the loss of almost a month’s worth of Twincidents.
“Surely John hasn’t stopped writing!” you lament, blotting tears of frustration off your trackpad. “Surely it is the Internet’s fault! I knew I should never have trusted Charlie. That kid bit his own brother’s finger without batting an eye. And it really hurt!”
No, Charlie has not bitten off my fingers, thus crippling me as a typist. And no, a LOLcat has not taken off running with my laptop, enthusiastically meowing “I can has computer?” And I certainly have not been busily studying the craft of how to write in a more Gangnam Style.
No, you must free your mind from these highly possible scenarios, O Loyal Reader. The truth is that lately, I just haven’t had a free frickin’ moment to sit down and spew genius into this fine publication. The reasons will probably not surprise you, since many of you have already told me you don’t know how I’m able to write at all while spending half of my week wrangling twin toddlers and the other half getting my PhD on. Factor in being a trophy husband and maintaining a shadow of a social life, and there’s not a whole lot of time left for pseudo-clever wordplay and bow-wearing stick figures.
Writers who are way better at publishing regularly than I am assert that to be as awesome as they are, you need to set a recurring writing time and stick to it. I used to have some semblance of this when I’d block out the Twins’ naptime on SAHD days for writing, but it seems that each new semester of my program comes with ever-growing responsibilities. For instance, on top of my actual classes this semester, I’m involved in several research projects (some paid, some for the love), co-authoring academic articles (and even publishing a few), preparing for my dissertation (which involves oodles of reading, field research and writing), and have even been talked into a gig as managing editor of a book.
I’ve illustrated previously that I Can’t Hear Myself Think when I’m holding down the fort with Thing 1 and Thing 2, so on those days, the moment I finally achieve a Nap Overlap, I invariably find myself thinking, “Well, I could take this opportunity to flesh out one of 20 fantastic ideas for Twincidents I’ve had rattling around in my brain for weeks…which would mean ignoring the twelve to-do list items that will screw me over if they aren’t done by the end of the day…and, of course, this is the only free moment I’ll have until tomorrow…Aw, dammit! You win again, school.”
A similar situation presents itself as soon as the Twins are in bed for the night. After cleaning up the daily wreckage in the living room and kitchen, making workday lunches, and taking out the overflowing garbage, it’s 8pm. My wife and I then retire to our room, where we pretend to watch TV while we both focus on homework (she’s in a Master’s program) until we lose the capacity to think coherently. Having rendered ourselves essentially useless and unproductive, the following portion of the night is when my wife and I spend quality time together and attempt to communicate without the aforementioned capacity for coherent thought, which typically makes for some fascinating conversation. Soon, it’s ni-night time for Mommy and Daddy.
I’ve tried that thing that hardcore writers claim to do–staying up after everyone else goes to sleep to finally get some writing done–but by then, my mind is a complete mush and after about five terrible sentences, I wake up with my face on my keyboard. I’ve hated to admit this my entire life, but I, as a human, do, in fact, require sleep.
. . .
This blog is a labor of love, but also sometimes a source of frustration. I’m constantly full of ideas for it, but because of my situation, only a few of them see the light of day. Like most other bloggers, I aspire to take Twinfamy further–to get more readers, to post more often, to write Twinfamy: The Book, which will no doubt be a ridiculous success resulting in Twinfamy: The TV Series or Twinfamy: The Movie, which in turn will sweep the Emmys and/or Oscars, resulting in Twinfamy: The Action Figures and Twinfamy: The Pez Dispensers. There’s this constant, nagging feeling that if I could just find more time, I could do it…I could really do it.
But I have to tell that nagging feeling to shut the hell up and take a number. I’m sure I could use my time more efficiently (couldn’t we all?) and write more regularly, but the reality is that my life isn’t all about me. It hasn’t been for quite some time. In fact, if I were to strip away the responsibilities that limit my writing time, I’d actually be left with nothing all that interesting to write about.
This three-ring-circus-like, dead-sprint balancing act that is my life is what inspires and colors these words I occasionally find time to string together, and although from time to time I feel overwhelmed and wonder if I can pull it all off, I always come back to the deep belief that my family is worth it.
I walked into this with two goals: providing quality care for my kids and advancing myself professionally, thus providing a better financial future for my family. It’s an added bonus that I happen to thoroughly enjoy both twin-herding and my area of study, and while many people are “working for the weekend,” I’m pretty psyched to be wherever I’m supposed to be each day, whether it’s on campus or inside a blanket fort. So if my only real complaint is that I don’t have time to write about a life I enjoy, I guess I’m doing all right after all.
Anyway, I’m hoping to find a regular writing time that actually works for me, so we’ll see how that goes. Whatever happens, know that I just enjoy this too much to stay away for very long. Thanks to all of you who keep coming back to read despite my irregularity. I’ll do my best not to disappoint.
That is, unless something more important comes up.
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