How and why do I write?
Living in this large family provides many moments that are meant to be shared (for good reasons and not-so-good reasons). Unfortunately, I don’t record them as much as I’d like. By the end of the day, I usually just want to collapse in bed. I fully admit to being deficient in my writing, but I also fully admit some evenings I’m not willing to recall and record the shareable moment.
My lack of writing is also due to WHEN I recall/remember the shareable moment and I don’t have a writing tool. It has been suggested that I use the recorder on my phone. However, my best ideas usually come to me in the shower, which isn’t practical in the wet environment. I suppose I could use a bathtub crayon on the shower walls…. I’d need to prep my husband first, though. His suspicion that I’m psychotic and on the verge of a breakdown doesn’t need to be confirmed with my random thoughts on our shower walls.
With resolve to write more, I decided to sign up for Christina Katz’s 21 Moments Writing Challenge. Twenty-one moments might be a challenge for some folks, but for me and my life, more clarification is probably required. Twenty-one moments in one day? In one hour? Depending on the situation, I could easily find 21 distinct moments simultaneously. So, I tweaked my approach to the Challenge by weaving my 21 moments into one story. I’m on day 5 and writing 2 pages per day….. I’m still considering myself quite brilliant.
One moment that won’t be included in my 600 page novel took place in Prince Rupert, Canada. We were PCSing (permanent change of station for the non-military readers) from Kodiak, Alaska to Houston, Texas and had ferried for 4 days from Kodiak. Our ferry was delayed 24 hours in Ketchikan, Alaska, so our Canadian road trip portion was behind schedule. At midnight, in an Alaskan/Canadian summer dusky light, we disembarked and found the first campground on the main road for rest.
Our nerves were on edge, our routines abandoned and our sense of impending disaster was heightened. When we awoke the next morning, it was decided for time saving that everyone would shower in the campground’s public showers rather than using our camper’s shower, which would require dumping the water tank before getting on the road. I was tasked with bathing the twins, who were upset about leaving the familiarity of our traveling home.
To make the task easier, I decided to load them in my truck and drive across the campground to the showers. As I hauled them out of the vehicle, I explained the bathing plan and herded them into the shower room. They began to protest in whines. Their whines turned to screams when I attempted to put them in the shower. Screams, mind you, that could be heard for miles. Screams from two little deaf boys who can’t wear their hearing devices in the shower and find comfort in my voice. Screams from two little boys who were frazzled, who just wanted to go back to our home in Kodiak. Screams from TWO little boys that sounded as though I was torturing or maiming them.
What I wanted to maim were my own eardrums. With a dull screwdriver. I hadn’t even attempted to brush my hair in my rush to get my screamers back into their confines. I’d barely put on clothes and only managed one foot in a shoe. So, when I opened the door and stepped out of the shower room to find a strange man bending over in front of my truck taking a photo of my license plate, I paused. I considered the facts – mom torturing two little boys in a public shower and looking like she’s in need of her next meth fix – and debated interrupting the man’s actions. But, I didn’t.
My truck was registered in Alaska with our Texas address, so we joked for the rest of our month-long, cross country trip that Child Protective Services would be waiting at our door. In a twisted way, this worked well for my sanity, thinking someone might be willing to give me a break at the end of this journey. Ironically, bathing the boys in our camper shower had the same effect.
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