Sunday, May 24, 2009

Grounded in Work

What I said in my previous post is true: although I am started to be drownding I am also grounding, and it is satisfying. Yesterday, Sunday, was a glorious sunny day in Berlin and some neighbors were at a grand and delightful flea market, and others were at the enormous pleasure-lake of Berlin, Wannsee, where I haven't been even once this year - and some of them passed (jogged/strolled/biked) in front of the slightly-below-ground-level big glass window of my office where I was working and did that little half-teasing frown/scold of "working on this lovely day?"

What could I say? Yes, working on this lovely day. Yes, if we only worked when it wasn't gorgeous out we'd never get anything done and/or we'd all have to move to, I don't know, Fargo? Yes, I'm on page 410 out of 813 and it's all due mid-June and I have to get cracking. And yes, it's nice to have something to do. 

There have been times in his/their/our/my lives when my father has had health issues where my mother needed to help him a lot. A few years ago he had a mega hip operation with a long recovery and she had months' worth of pretty intense watching out for him. Some of her neighbors and friends worried that she had no time for herself, and I asked her about it, and she said in a very believable way: I like taking care of him. I like having something to do. It's not that my mother has nothing to do otherwise. I'm quite sure what she meant was: it's actually very nice to have something very pressing to do. Something all-engrossing, that cannot wait. (Something, actually  [to get away from my 813-page manuscript for a minute], like what I was doing on Thursday and Saturday and part of Friday while my sister-in-law and her partner finished packing and then moved to a new apartment: namely taking care of a not-quite-two-year-old! Very fun, very engrossing, very much not something you can put down and say: oh, I'll come back to this later, or in a couple of days, or sometime when I feel like it.)

So anyway, yes, I am grounded in my editorial work. It gives me something to structure my day around, and it gives me such very tangible goals (at this point, I need to get through 140 pages a week to be done in time, and last week I managed that [but only by working on sunny Sunday], but I have to keep plugging away, and sometimes ten pages takes less than an hour and sometimes it takes almost two), and once I get started on any given day I can pleasurably lose myself in it, this manuscript is interesting and we're using British spelling so that keeps me on my toes, and I'm learning about Iranian history - so yes, it is good to be grounded. And when I have to find a play for play-reading group that is available on the web or in a book I can find that is not too long and with not too many parts and interesting enough for my play-reading group, or when I have to be back at the apartment almost before I left, it seems, because school let out for Felix early again, or when I am having a gmail chat with Max in Bangalore or a Skype chat with Alex in Bloomington or worrying about hubby's upcoming 50th birthday or my writing group's upcoming all-day workshop or various things of that sort, I have to get back to the manuscript pretty quickly and ground myself all over again.

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