Friday, April 13, 2007

A Day in the Life

Back when I was a flight attendant, the two questions I was always asked were:

Where’s the bathroom?
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen onboard the airplane?

The first was easily answered by pointing either to the front or back of the cabin. For the second, I’d just smile and shrug, knowing I’d one day write a book about it.

But now that I’m a stay at home author, the questions have changed. Now people want to know:

Where do you get your ideas?
What’s your typical writing day like?

For the first, I just shrug, not willing to cop to all of the characters that reside in my head. For the second, I just cringe, because the truth is, it’s not pretty.

Because now that I’m no longer required to begin my day by squeezing into a blue polyester dress, control top panty hose, airline approved pumps, little pearl earrings, and two swipes of lipstick, things have gotten a little, well, sloppy.

No longer a slave to the alarm clock, I now wake up sometime within the second half of the Today show. Then I stumble blindly into my office, fire up the computer and turn on the TV, before feeling my way down the hall and into the kitchen, where a full coffee pot awaits.

After heating up some milk, I pour it into my jumbo sized mug, then drag it all back to my office where I slump at my desk, sipping java, sifting through e-mails, and traipsing around the internet under the guise of “research.”

Hours later, when the pot is empty, the e-mails handled, and the “research” concluded, I convince my husband that it is now time to make a Starbucks run, as that first pot of coffee was merely a warm up, a sort of practice run, until I can get the real thing. And while I wait for his return, I contemplate working out, showering, and getting dressed, but then, just as I’m about to partake in those very activities, my husband is back with a Venti skim latte in hand.

And then, of course, there are new e-mails to read, more “research” to conduct, not to mention the obsessive checking of Amazon and B&N rankings even though I’m told that they’re meaningless.

But when my latte cup is empty, I am officially awake and ready to write. Except for the fact that it’s now just before three, and Oprah has been known to feature some very relevant topics that could truly serve as “research.” And what goes better with Oprah than a steaming hot cup of coffee? And maybe, just this once, a square of dark chocolate . . .

By 4:01 P.M. the TV is off, and I’m fully prepared to get down to the serious business of writing, yet, it’s also getting late, and I still need to shower. Not to mention how I promised myself I’d start working out again. Though it’s probably better to wait until next Monday, you know, start the week off right.

By 5:00 I’m showered and changed into a fresh new pair of sweats, ready to head back to my computer, sit myself down, and get some serious writing done. But just as I begin to type, I realize it’s Friday-- which, if you think about it, is really just the gateway to the weekend. And since I’ve been thinking about adding a coffee house scene to my current work in progress, I grab my keys, and head out the door, knowing there’s nothing like real life experience to make a scene ring true.