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Writing My Book: Yikes It's September

Cartoon by Marcia Liss

Published in ChicagoNow September 21, 2015

My writing journal is catching up with real time. This is a frightening development. September progress feels so slow – like a month-long case of writer’s block. So many distractions: my “special” birthday, new schedules to master with my local grandkids back in school, and too many Jewish holidays to count. By October, I will have re-written all of my original essays, and likely be finished writing about why it’s so hard to write a book. I think that will be a relief, especially to those you who actually read my summer posts full of excuses about why it is so challenging to produce anything worth reading. The next obstacle will be figuring out how to get this published and how to get back into the groove of blogging about something other than myself.

Week 12 – August 31-September 4: Writing Time = I can’t remember

Another flip of the calendar page, and (yikes) it was September. The dreaded birthday was only a week away, but the completed book, well that was another story. Monday looked like my best bet to buckle down and tackle revisions for the Evolving section. Why did these essays look so less brilliant now? When I “finished” this section a month ago, I was impressed with myself. This week I was more depressed than impressed.

And I still needed to re-re-re-revise my pieces about founding Cherry Preschool. After struggling several hours with the essays about the preschool I founded and Warren Cherry, the man for whom it was named, I kept asking myself, “Does anyone care?”

On Tuesday, after breakfast club with my granddaughter followed by walking her to school, I decided to buckle down and work on Evolving (pardon the pun). But first, I wondered if a breakfast of Frosted Flakes and chocolate chip Eggos would affect her ability to sit still. And if she would report me to my daughter. Then I schlepped to the grocery store on a humid 90-degree day, my punishment for not going over the weekend when the weather was more reasonable and my husband was available to help me carry in the stuff.

Finished those pesky edits. Now have to obsess about what to pack for Labor Day weekend celebration of my yucky birthday. Aside from the dreaded bathing suit, what is the appropriate attire for a 70-year-old to wear in 90-plus-degree heat with extreme humidity that is sure to melt my makeup and ruin my hair? I know I will look my age – bummer.

Week 13 – September 8-11: Writing Time = 10 hours

Back from the birthday blow out weekend. Now that I was officially 70, time to get serious about this book thing. Much to my delight and chagrin, my nine-year-old granddaughter gifted me a 31-page book she had written for me in honor of my birthday. It took her part of the summer and she didn’t need a writing coach. She even drew her own illustrations. Humbling.

Wednesday was my main day to write this week, and I now had to revise the Loving section. But I also had to do some actual loving and bake several challah breads for the upcoming (and seemingly endless) Jewish holidays. It’s not super hard to do, but the dough has to rise three times and that requires staying home most of the day. I calculated that I should get the dough mixed by 9:00 to have three challahs done in time for my granddaughter’s school pick-up, followed by schlepping her sister to speech and bringing her other sister home from speech. Then it was off for another birthday celebration with my sisters-in-law. I decided to pull up the Cherry Preschool story once more and re-re-re-re-write it. But first, I had to shower and start baking.

Thursday is never my most productive day, but I was feeling like I could put in a few hours after yesterday’s baking and revising marathon. I told myself I should finish the Loving revisions so I could pitch an education article to AlterNet. I had promised to return in September when schools were in session, and I even had a topic. Once again, kids in special education were colliding with ridiculous standardized testing demands. Having two grandkids with special needs, I could assure the politicians and businessmen who believed higher standards was the cure that it would not be. Why do they never call for better-trained teachers?



by Laurie Levy
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