I Can’t Write Without Bananas

I have three scenes to write by Sunday morning, and this week the writing has not come easily. My father-in-law, who has required a great deal of our attention lately, has begun to stabilize, and one by one his doctors are saying things like, “come back in a month” or “only come back if you have more problems.” We moved him this week into a senior living facility, and he had his first lunch on his own today while we, the proud son and daughter-in-law, fretted and worried that he wouldn’t have fun. My husband tells me it’s a bit like leaving the kids at camp.

Today, a bit tired from yesterday’s move, I decided to excuse myself from today’s doctor’s appointment to tend to my own work. Here’s an odd quirk about me, though:  the house has to be in some semblance of order before I can work. The laundry had piled up, and the kitchen compost bin strained to keep its lid shut. The garden needed weeding and watering. My father-in-law needed some food items to get him through the weekend, when meals are not served at his apartment complex. And I had no bananas. Without bananas, I don’t enjoy my morning smoothie nearly as much. Hubby made me oatmeal, which I like, but I like my smoothie more.

There was a time when I would have used all this housework and obligation as an excuse not to write, but the good news is, I have learned. I gave myself the morning to handle a long honey-do list. I bought groceries, did laundry, tended to the garden, and cooked. I even swept the kitchen floor. I felt better, calmer, with fresh food in the house and a sense that I’m returning to a more normal routine. Of course, I had a banana and loved it, even though it was still a little too firm and green.

Once centered, I was able to sit down and work, letting another character tell me her story. She is Julia, and she’s everyone’s friend. She lives a sheltered, privileged life but longs for more and is open to a certain amount of adventure, as long as no snakes are involved. Right now, Julia is bored with playing tennis all the time, and doesn’t get to see her grandkids as often as she would like, so she’s decided to learn Spanish. This way, she reasons, she can talk to her landscaper. Well, like I said, she’s a little sheltered. But she’s plenty likable, and she’s going to go through some changes in this novel.

Anyway, I had a good time getting to know Julia better and working on several scenes. Looks like I’ll have more than three to choose from, and it’s still Thursday, so I can write a lot more. It helps to have bananas in the house.

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