IN some cosmic clash of the planets, the Billy Joel song “Vienna” came up on my Pandora while I was practically plotzing about how much I needed to get done. (Yes, in honor of Hanukkah, the Catholic girl decides to bring the Yiddish. Go for it. Correct my usage.)
The song lyrics refer to slowing down, not getting ahead of yourself and not being everything you want to be before your time. Clearly, when he wrote this, Billy Joel did not have my “to do” list. On the agenda for today there is shopping to finish, decorations to get up, prep for Christmas Eve dinner in which the entire family descends, and caring for the aging parents who, while adorable and dear, can at times act somewhere between the ages three and thirteen. Let’s not forget normal chores, errands & bookkeeping, the day job, blogging, publicity, a bit of exercise, and oh yeah(!), some desperately needed ass-in-chair writing time to meet the work-in-progress deadline—all of this while traversing those dangerous, brain-altering, trantrum-inducing waters of menopause (for those who don’t know the feeling, trust me, you just have to be there).
Of course, I can’t blame the holidays. If it’s not that, it’s something else. Balance between life and writing is concept that I continue to reach for and seems just beyond my grasp. There are days when it’s an effort to make sure the tender, tightly wound tentacles of my nerves don’t slowly unravel into a character in a Sylvia Plath novel. I can’t imagine how younger writers do it with kids afoot, a social life to keep. Maybe they can because they are, to put it bluntly, younger than me. When my memory is working, I do vaguely recall not worrying about balance when I was in my twenties and thirties. As Norah Ephron put it: The past is slipping away and the present is a constant affront. I can’t possibly keep up.
Okay, I may insert tongue in cheek slightly, but seriously, tell me, should I relax? Is Billy Joel right? Does Vienna still wait for me? Or do I need to continue to walk that tightrope and stay my course of using wine and humor to deal. How do you in the blogosphere do it? How do you do all the things to keep your writing going when life demands so much of your time?