6.27.2006

Mom At Work

I recently started a non-fiction freelance writing project that will have me writing 20,000 words over the course of 4 weeks. Since 2,000 is about as high as I've gone in any freelance pursuit thus far, I am in for a world of hurt. But it's not just the word count that makes my left eye twitch--there's also the whole "non-fiction" thing. In such genres, facts are checkable. There are events that unfold in a certain way, and there are finite ways of reporting them. As I work with a reality that is not my own, I must find ways to give dimension to things I've only heard about. I know it's true that the fifth sense is heightened when the other four are taken away, but does it stand to reason that I can write an entire book (albeit a short one) based on less than ten hours of interviews? I'm still wading through the recorded files, but as each transcribed line elicits a whole slew of questions that I know I won't have time to get answered, I start to prejudge my ability to get this thing done.

Assisting me in this endeavor is a high school aged mother's helper who started this week. She keeps the baby occupied four days a week, three hours a day. She looks like Britney when Britney was illegal and hot, but that's where the similarities end. I prefer to reserve judgement on Britney's parenting skills, but I will say that outward appearances indicate my mother's helper has more positive maternal qualities than me and Ms. Spears put together. You see, I have so much sympathy for the bum rap Britney has received because I know how easy it is to make mistakes as a parent. If the papparazzi was following me the day Tolby's carrier fell out of the shopping cart and bounced three times on the asphalt, DCS would've descended on me like protective locusts. Alas, it seems that nobody cares about poor, defenseless Tolby except me.

Hearing my daughter giggle with her nubile babysitter outside my home office is encouraging but also just a tiny bit off-putting. Like, does Tolby have to laugh quite so much? I want her to be well cared for and entertained, but I'm not sure it's necessary for her to chortle. And, later, when I walk through the living room on a casual jaunt to the bathroom, why does Tolby have to be nestled in the crook of this babysitter's arm, placidly chewing on the remote control? For me to place Tolby on the couch beside me would be akin to committing infanticide, what with her BASE jumping proclivities. But put her under the calming spell of this relative stranger and she just sits there.

Yet, it's all very good. I'm getting paid to do what I love. I have three hours a day to pass in a makeshift cloister devoted to the writing life. Color me satisfied. And just a little bit nervous about the next 20,000 words.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Motherhood Uncensored said...

They will come. I'm so excited for you. Can't wait to hear more about it. :)

10:08 PM  
Blogger lildb said...

Color me impressed. But not surprised. You are the kind of writer that should be paid for every word that comes out of your talented fingers, with, at bare minimum, high praise (if not buckets o' duckets).

as for the sitter eliciting giggles and chuckles from your kidlet, yeah. that would *bug*. only, omigod. you have three. hours. a. day. in your room to write.

damn.

11:26 PM  
Blogger J's Mommy said...

Wow, that's so exciting. I've always wanted to write a book but I don't think I have the discipline to do it. I don't think I've ever written anything over 1,200 words. I can't wait to hear more about it. And don't worry, you may go through bouts of writer's block but the words are there. You are a great writer!

8:09 AM  
Blogger lynsalyns said...

I have a mother's helper, also , who was going to watch Em while I wrote. Sadly, I find myself using her services for grocery shopping instead.

You are going to go great. Your blog shows you have an instinct for lyrical non-fiction. Write, girlie, write!

I'd be interested to hear what this assignment is.

Oh, and we have slighly differing views of Ms. Spears, but did you see her on NBC? I mean, she looked more like Courtney Love. Somthing happened to that girl.

Just don't stop blogging, OK?

8:30 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Can I borrow Psuedo-Britney when you're done with her? I'm salivating over the idea of three straight hours to write. Though the child having that much fun with her would be a bit off-putting to me as well.

As for the project, you are talented and I think this challenge will be one you'll pass through with flying colors. Besides, turning flat interviews into a 3-D story is right up your alley. You're a great writer and that will show through.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

I love how you write the truth about your life--- I think you will do fine.

1:10 PM  
Blogger J said...

Good luck with the writing. :) You're a great writer, so whether it is easy or not for you, it will be good.

I understand your frustration that your child is so happy with the stranger. But don't be fooled...you are and always will be number 1. This is just a crush. You are true love. And really, the more people love and are loved by our children, the more people that care for them and have healthy relationships with them, the better. :)

2:22 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Congrats on a paid writing gig. So exciting!

Also, kudos to you for being okay with a hot mothers's helper. My original tag line was going to be "may your children be beautiful and your au pairs...not so much."

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Binkytown said...

I hope you are feeling inspired and that the words flow like beer at a frat party.. good luck!

9:21 AM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

Congratulations! This will be the first of many. You're way talented. It's always a little scary getting started but once you get going you'll be awesome! Good luck with all of it.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous MIM said...

That's awesome! (the book thingy, I mean. The babysitter thingy? Honey, NOTHING compares to mama!)

12:00 AM  
Anonymous mamatulip said...

How exciting! Good luck.

6:40 PM  

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