It’s nearly eleven on Sunday night, and I’ve just woken up from a 3-hour nap. There’s something inherently “nappy” about Sundays. We got up early to meet friends for brunch, and getting up early + lots of food = the perfect recipe for a late afternoon snooze. Of course, I woke up with my bra digging uncomfortably into my ribs, hungry, cranky, wide awake, and in no mood to skip dinner. I compromised with some Life cereal and soymilk instead of the alfredo-smothered cheese tortellinis I really wanted, but it’s still not advisable to go to bed on a carbed-up stomach. So…
Good evening! Thus begins another weekly cycle of staying up all night, being a total zombie all day.
I’m a night person, no way around it. I’ve always been. I remember times in high school when I’d wander downstairs at 2 in the morning and find Mom equally perky, watching TV or cleaning something. One time there was a power outage, so Mom and I lit some candles, broke out the Girl Scout cookies and played this card game called Rack-O till the sun came up. She’s still like that. It’s why she can follow around my baby brother’s band, staying at gigs till 4 am, and why most of our conversations these days take place over late night IM sessions.
So, reason #1 I’d rather be writing: I’m genetically predispositioned to be a night person.
I do my best work after 9 PM and am all but useless before noon. If I appear to be alert and excited at a morning meeting, it’s only an illusion. I think nothing of drinking 2 cups of coffee at 10 PM, or starting a movie at 11. That’s probably what drew me to New York in the first place, all those many moons ago. That place truly never sleeps (and you can get good coffee anywhere).
Reason #2 is all about words.
Words that my characters, 16-year-olds Anna Reiley and Frankie Perino, would never speak… but words that swirl around the corporate suck like mini tornados. On Friday, I started tracking them. Here is but a sampling, a smattering if you will, of actual quips and quotes from from the robot graveyard:
- “We need to create a story around this product.”
- “I asked the architect if we should get a skunk SWAT team on this ASAP.”
- “Why aren’t we locking ourselves in a room for 5 hours to hammer this thing out?”
- “Come on, people, we need to think beyond the boxes of our little world.”
- “This is simply an addressment of the problem.”
- “Can we have a dialogue about that?”
- “We need to descope this thing. Scope creep is out of control.”
- “I don’t know; that’s going to require some effort.”
- “This relationship is all about communication. We see ourselves as your partners in communicating.”
- “Let’s reconnect on that later.”
- “You’re too cynical. You can’t be a marketer if you want to be honest all the time.”
Mixed metaphors. Clichés. Turning verbs into nouns and back again. Sheesh, could you imagine if I let my girls speak this way in the book?
- “Anna, what’s up with your hair?” Frankie asks. “You’re definitely not thinking beyond the boxes of your little hair-world today.”
- “Frank, I’m using my hair to create a story around myself.” Anna closes her eyes and sprays her bangs with another coat.
- Frankie is not satisfied. “Anna, we need to have a dialogue about this hair situation. You look like a circus clown.”
- “Frankie, calling me a circus clown is not really an addressment of the problem,” Anna says, teasing her hair from root to tip. “We need to lock ourselves in a room for 5 hours to hammer this thing out.”
- “Anna,” Frankie demands, “how do you expect to lose your virginity this summer if you insist on wearing your hair that way?”
- Anna spits the bobby pins from her mouth. “What? You said this was just a summer vacation! Losing my virginity is not in scope for this summer. That’s going to require some effort, Frank.”
- “Anna, you’re so cynical. This relationship is supposed to be about communication. Let’s reconnect on it later.”
Reason #3: Alex.
He just gave me a foot rub while singing a made-up song he calls, “It’s a Husband’s Job to Make Sarah Happy”. How great is that? I love clacking away on my laptop in the living room while he’s working on some Web project in his home office, which has real walls made out of plaster and brick, an actual door, no gray fabric, and no one in a bad suit looming behind him, prattling on about project impact reports.
Reason #4: Drinking in the afternoon.
Or the morning, if that helps jumpstart the creativity. I bet I could even deal with all the corporate jargon if I could drink in the office. But we had to sign a Code of Ethics strictly prohibiting such debauchery (and most of the time, we adhere to it!). We also can’t misrepresent the company outside of work, engage in insider trading, force others to perform sexual acts in order to advance their careers, or participate in illicit drug use. Man, they never let us have any fun. But writing? Writers can get away with all kinds of lunacy under the guise of “reasearch for my book.” *Hiccup!*
Reason #5: No Internet police.
That’s right, when I’m home writing, I can go on any site I want. No one is tracking me. No one is telling me which browsers I can use and what software I can download, sucking me into their Microsoft monopoly. I can browse through blogger and not get the obnoxious “Access Denied: Personal or offensive content” message that pops up whenever I stumble upon a site the firewall doesn’t like.
Reason #6: Sunsets outside my balcony.
I am not a fan of leaving work when it’s dark outside. It makes me feel like the last stupid girl in the zombie movie, the one who was listening to her iPod and missed the blaring announcement that all remaining living humans should hole up at the mall and wait for the national gaurd. The one who inevitably gets eaten. Especially in the winter – entire months go by in darkness. I look out my window at all the traffic coursing through the veins of Interstate 25 in the middle of the day and wonder, where are you going? Don’t you people have jobs?
Reason #7: Afternoon naps for no good reason.
Just me and my woobie. *Yawn.* ‘Nuff said.
Reason #8: PJs.
Anna and Frankie don’t care what I wear when I show up to greet them. They don’t even care if I shower or brush my teeth. I can bring coffee and be late without being accused of unprofessionalism. I can ditch out on them early, or blow them off entirely for weeks on end, with no verbal abuse or threats of lost paycheck to follow.
Reason #9: No lies.
I don’t have to lie to my readers. In fact, I can’t lie to you – you won’t trust me, and Anna and Frankie won’t get to tell their story. Yet in the coroporate suck, lying is mandatory (see aforementioned comment, “You can’t be a marketer if you want to be honest all the time.”). They make us lie – lie to our customers, lie to senior management, lie to ourselves. It’s so… dirty! It’s worse than riding the subway on a 90 degree day in New York City. You have to shower when you get home just to rinse off the shame. Dirty dirty dirty!
And the most important reason I’d rather be writing…
Reason #10: I was born to write.
And every day that I don’t write is a day I snub my raison d’être, along with my favorite girls.
I’m coming to terms with the fact that I must generate an income while laying the groundwork for my dreams. I’m kind of okay with it, as long as I can figure out the magic formula for balancing work, writing, exercise, sleep, relationships, relaxation, other free time, etc. That’s the piece I struggle with. Any ideas? I guess I should ask, What would Anna and Frankie do (WWAFD)?
In the meantime, I should try to sleep. It’s after midnight and I have to be in at 8 tomorrow for the aforementioned 5-hour, hammering-it-out lockdown. I’ll be sure to reconnect and give you a full and complete addressment of the situation next week.