Tuesday, September 3

For Whom the Eternal School Bell Tolls

     Today was the first day of school in our county, and I can clearly imagine the bleary-eyed, sunburned-bodies rolling out of bed with a groan as their alarm clocks shrieked at some ungodly hour.  I have to admit, I was really glad it was them and not me.  By the time the kids were in the middle of first period, I was just pouring my first cup of coffee.  Next, I had a leisurely breakfast and then did a little writing.  There’s no doubt about it; there are real perks to being an adult.  BUT…there’s that other side of it, too. 

While cleaning up my leisurely breakfast, my garbage disposal went on the blink, so I had to deal with Jack, the plumber, coming over to attempt to fix it.  When he couldn’t, I had to order a new one, which set me back $150.00 on just the appliance alone.  And that “little writing” I mentioned, well, it was just that; a LITTLE writing.  I put down exactly three sentences.  It just wasn’t coming.

As with everything in life, there’s no telling what’s just around the corner.  Daily routines are never really “routine”, and the daily grind is never quite the same grind as the day before.  There are always new situations we have to navigate through, and there’s not a manual in the world that can teach us how to do so.  Heck, even having a manual didn’t help ol’ Jack fix my disposal. 

We have to wing things every day, but we do so without thinking about it.  I once read that one of the reasons the Allies won WWII was that the American soldiers were so good at improvising in whatever situation they found themselves in.  When confronted with an unplanned obstacle, they quickly figured out a way around it.

Writers fight their own kind of battle each time we pick up a story where we left off.  For me, I attempt to stop at a place that feels right at the end of my writing day; a place where I’m happy with the way I resolved some conflict, and have a pretty good idea of where I’m going from there.  But, that’s not always how it works out.  All too often, I’ve sat down to resume my story only to have something dawn on me which hadn’t the day before, totally throwing a monkey wrench into my pace, progress and plans.  However, those unexpected little twists and turns, both in my writing and my daily affairs, can end up being some of the most interesting aspects of my story or my day.  Now, that’s not to say that having my garbage disposal break was pleasurable, but it’s just part of life.  I can spend time moaning and groaning about it, or just deal with it and perhaps even have something good happen along the way. 

Everyday is a learning process, full of the unexpected.  We are for whom the eternal school bell tolls.  We’re forever students, continually being given a new set of problems which we’re required to study then solve.  There’s real satisfaction in being able to do so, even when a little help from folks like ol’ Jack is needed.  Besides, every once in a while the reward is far greater than just the obvious, like having a new disposal that grinds things into sweet nothingness.  As I stood there watching Jack wrestle with wrenches and WD 40, a new and interesting character started to form—one who just happened to be the perfect answer to the conundrum I found myself in at the end of my third sentence this morning. 



  1. I do love being a forever student! Great post, Janie!

    1. Thanks, Liz. It's never really the same ol' thing day after day, is it? Even if we do feel like it is some days. We have to look for the little things that just might inspire us.

  2. Writers are constant learners, always curious about something or another. Even everyday life is grist for the mill, as you discovered with Jack!