Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Absently present.

I've always been a bit slow on the uptake, mainly due to having lived inside my own head for most of my life. When someone speaks to me I have to come out of whatever waking dream I'm in the middle of to be able to answer. By some miracle, I have occasionally heard the question. Recently, it has dawned on me just how annoying that must be for those around me.

Years back, I instructed my children to say "Mum!" clearly when they started speaking to me so that I knew to drag myself back into the real world and listen. Sometimes they even got an answer on the first go.

I know that as a writer I should be listening carefully to everything going on around me, but in reality I just become more and more preoccupied. Conversations become a trial because what I want to do is slip back into my head and finish the train of thought I was on. I am less sociable and much more inclined to sit and think.

Having spent a lot of time and thought mastering my work/writing/life balance, I think I now need to address how present I actually am in my day to day life.

Is this the lot of every writer? Does the struggle to reconcile writing with real life never end?

I'd love to hear how you cope!

14 comments:

Annalisa Crawford said...

People INSIST on talking to me when I'm deep in my MS, then look affronted when I ignore them, or when I scowl and swear at them... as though it MY problem not theirs :-)

I see it as my job as a writer not to be present in day-to-day life as far as possible :-)

Annalisa Crawford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Awen said...

Cope?? I'm supposed to cope?? I think my lot have just adapted.... I'm permanently away with the fairies! :)

Awen said...

On a more serious note , I'm permanently in a state of 'inside my head'. In my previous life as a designer/textile artist I never looked at something and saw the thing it was. I always saw the potential for further creativity. People got used to me showing them 10's and 100's of photos from our holidays that had interesting bits of paving stone, walls, waves, cloud formation, colours, lines etc. their questions were always. ...Where did you go? Who did you go with!!, now I can't sew anymore , I write. I take pics of locations I can use, unusual looking people that inspire a back tale or a character. I latch on to odd phrases, peculiar stories, snippets of conversation around me.... But can I remember what they told me (in answer to my question) seconds after they tell me... NO , by then my head has switched off because its storing better creative information and starting to plot and subplot an idea I had earlier. A few close friends know what I'm like and accept me for it, and that is fine. With the family I have to force myself to concentrate, they are less tolerant... Although I do make a good subject for my daughters funny stories when she is out with others. For instance the time that I did cartwheels down the prom in Southport because I'd reached 50k words of a novel in a month . I had foolishly said , to the suggestion of my joining the Nanowrimo challenge, that if I reached 50k words in 30 days I'd do cartwheels along the prom! A woman of my word, once I accomplished it I had to do it, much to the huge embarrassment of my daughter who hurriedly walked in the opposite direction :D the child inside my head enjoyed it immensely (y)

TracyFells said...

Oh heck Linda I thought you were talking about me. I constantly get my hubby saying "I've lost you again, haven't I?" as I've clearly wandered off inside my head while he's talking. Trouble is as a writer when something does pop into your head you have to follow it - don't you?

Dana said...

I'm like this, too. My family thinks I'm nuts. ;)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

So glad it's not just me!! I was working a football ticket stand and something set my mind to thinking and the lady working with me snapped her fingers and asked if I was all right. She thought I had a seizure!

Rena said...

I'm definitely not as present when it's "my time" but I'm a crazy hyper aware person the rest of the time. That being said, if you ask what's on my mind, you're likely to get a very unusual answer, because it will have nothing to do with the present.

Jill Haugh said...

Oh--I'm married to someone like this. Luckily, I am a serious multi-tasker and can have more than one thing going on at the same time BUT... when I am writing in the morning I am often surrounded by children inquiring as to the whereabouts of a hair-brush, a husband inquiring about bills and my youngest playing some annoying automated sound-byte on the keyboard. Tis then I turn into pirate-mommy and banish em' all to the gallows! Seriously! How am I supposed to write/send a query letter with all of this going on? Sigh. Onward and upward into the fog...
Embrace who you are. Your family loves you for it too. (Except when they are trying to find the brush...)
~Just Jill

Cecilia Robert said...

O gosh, you are not alone, Linda! One day my son told me, "Er mom, I think you should serve dinner before you go to that place you love so much, and end up serving us water" haha. At work, it's work. My mind just wanders.....

Jaxbee said...

Oh! Thank the lord it's not just me :)

Patsy said...

It's not just me then!

I cope by pretending everyone around me either mumbles or if I don't think I'll get away with it by just agreeing with whatever they said.

It's not a very good strategy.

rebeccabradleycrime.com said...

I'm regularly off somewhere thinking, but I get quite a lot of driving time a day in which to do this so I try to not drift off when I'm at home, though that's not always possible. I think we're just doomed to live inside our heads!

Deborah Osborne said...

I'm always drifting off into my writing world. The people closest too me are really supportive about it, although my brain has always been bit like a butterfly most of the time so they have had a while to get used to it.

And I think some time it is useful to watch and observe, but sometimes we need to retreat and process all the data too.