Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Whips and Carrots

Another month over?  Another holiday gone?  Really?  As in, really really?   Wow, this time I was afraid I wasn't going to make it.  Thank god for catering.  And husbands who cook.

I spent the first part of Thanksgiving break flat on my back with the migraine from hell.  Two and a half days of skull-morphing agony, skulking in my bedroom, glaring at random piles of laundry as constant reminders of my slovenly ways.  And then there were the books.  So many lovely books, and I didn't dare read them.  Did I mention the army of angry gnomes who took up residence in my brain with tiny pickaxes and other gnomely instruments of torture?  And you can tell from my other post I was soooo looking forward to the holidays anyway.

Maybe it's just a regional thing, but both of the universities where I teach give us a whole week off for Thanksgiving break.  The kids still only get Wed.- Fri.  Usually it's heavenly, with lots of good homecooked food, looking forward to Christmas, visits from relatives... but Daniel's got his record label, and I have this book, so we're hobbitt-holing it a lot these holidays.  Code for "Um, not a good time.  Visit next year.  Oh, and do you know a good caterer?"

So I'm flat on my back.  It's day three.  My eleven year old son comes to me.  He sits down on the bed and asks me, very somberly, with these soulful brown eyes of his, "Mom?  How much writing did you get done today?"

Expose heart.  Insert stake.

I had a really complex reaction to that (not so) innocent question.  Guilt, of course.  Primary, intense, and immediate.  But also pride.  I mean, an eleven year old boy is actually paying attention to the fact that his mother is writing a book???? Enough to ask her how it's going????  How sweet.  How unexpected.  How wonderful.  I put it in my pocket to save for uphill days.

Because it was exactly what I needed to hear.  Headache and all, I dragged myself out to my office and wrote. And wrote and wrote.  So that's the whip part.  The carrot?  I will not let myself go see the new Harry Potter until I finish this book.  I'm close enough that it's bearable, but still have enough to do that it's killing me.  I want to see it really really bad.  But I won't.  Carrot, right?

Funny thing.  Max and Grace spent their post-Thanksgiving holidays with full social schedules.  Max's included a trip to see HP7 with friends.  Oh well.  I suppose he deserves a carrot for being such a convincing part of the whip.