The View from my Hammock
It's 7:49 p.m. on the perfect summer evening.
Picture me in a hammock underneath a Japanese maple tree. Birds chatter in the weeping spruce bordering the backyard--mourning doves, crows, robins and cardinals. A dog barks in the distance.
The sun creeps up the side of the neighbor's house, a splotch of light moving imperceptibly slow up the vinyl siding, then across the roof shingles, then gone. The air smells of a faraway campfire. It's cool but pleasant against my bare arms, like bathwater that's been standing too long.
I dragged my laptop and a pillow out the back door and over to the hammock this evening after putting the boys to bed. I couldn't let this beautiful weather go to waste. I did the same thing the summer my oldest son was still a baby. I'd signed up for a MediaBistro memoir writing class. The instructor, Wendy Dale, led conference calls one night a week. I didn't want to wake the baby, so I took my phone and laptop into the backyard, or if it was raining, the garage.
Sacrificing that hour of sleep, once a week, was a hard decision back then. My son was still nursing several times a night. But I didn't know if I'd ever be that hungry to write again.
And yet here I am, three summers and another baby later, still scratching away at my memoir in fits and starts. Stephen Hunter recently published an article on the Daily Beast titled "If You Want to Write a Book, Write Every Day or Quit Now." It's good advice. It makes me feel sad and motivated at the same time. On the surface, I've made so little progress. But I'm still writing. Still hungry. And still with this hammock, and this occasionally gorgeous weather, and a whole summer in which to work.