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Friday, December 05, 2008


Friday Speak Out: Keep At It! Guest Post by Michelle Hickman

Keep At It!

By Michelle Hickman

The house is quiet. The nephews are in bed. My niece has had her bottle and will give me at least four hours of time before her soft cries push through the nursery walls as she asks for her next feeding. The house is quiet...for about two seconds.


My fingers skim over the black keys, giving light strikes as I try to keep the noise down. However, my mind will not be quiet. Its words have grown louder and my hands have to obey them over my worry of an awakened child. This is my time away from the aches in my back after I had swept all the floors. My time away from wrinkled skin soaking in greasy dishwater as I had washed the mountain of plates to feed dinner to three children who ate like twenty hungry firefighters.

Eyes stray to look over at the cup of steaming tea. My tongue runs across dry lips. I drank a diet soda this afternoon when the kids had their snacks and watched "Dora the Explorer" videos. Yes, one can (half really) before I ran into the basement as the washer buzzed at the end of the rinse cycle. By the time I returned to finish the can (five hours later after another mess to clean because the kids thought it would be neat to lick the back of Teddy Graham crackers and stick the tiny bears to every window), the warmness had offended my taste buds enough to pour the rest of the soda down the sink. Then I grabbed the scouring pad to rub out the rust stains along the drain that I had been neglecting for the past week.

The tea appears tempting. Yet my fingers keep typing, refusing to take away any time from my writing. I dare not stop now. The boys have a full schedule for me tomorrow. They will fill my day with watercolor paints staining the carpet and missing jigsaw puzzle pieces I will spend most of the morning trying to find only to then have the kids wanting to play with their missing matchbox cars instead.

My hands stop moving over the keyboard. I hear a noise. Was it one of the boys having a nightmare? Or perhaps a stuffed animal falling from the crib as the lack of fuzzy warmness against my niece's face will cause her to awaken? No. The noise is coming from outside. I tense. House keys jiggle in the lock. The door opens.

My brother is home from work. He asks, "How were the kids today?" I wince, not from the question but from the loudness of his voice.

"DADDY'S HOME!" Two pairs of running feet enter the hallway from the boys' bedroom. Then wailing cries begin from the nursery.

I look at the computer screen. Four lines. Four sentences sit alone on the word processor page. I smile at the wonderful sight. I got farther than expected.

Even four sentences are considered an accomplishment in a writer's hectic life.


Michelle Hickman is the owner of The Surly Writer, a fun and inspiring blog that posts stories of surly humor and, as Michelle says, "on occasion bits of useful information, although I'm trying to stomp out that bad habit." We think she's way too modest though!

Her blogger profile says, "I grew up in the rural hills of Pennsylvania (yes, I am a hillbilly--you do not have to rub it in.) I first discovered a love for writing in high school where I had the opportunity to annoy my fellow students by waxing poetry. No! I didn't use car polish on it, although it would have given the verses a nice shine. My pleasures in life involve laughing at a good pun, enjoying a good read, and having a good friend."

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Blogger mlh said...

Thank you for the opportunity to submit a story!

6:04 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Thanks Michelle! I really enjoyed your story and gosh, have I been there. I don't have the kid distractions, but even my cat, phone, email, and my hubby can keep me plenty distracted. ;o) Thanks for sharing a wonderful story that made me laugh.

6:55 PM  
Blogger laughingwolf said...

grats michelle... short, sweet, and a genuine slice of life!

4:21 AM  
Blogger mlh said...

Thanks, Laughingwolf!

1:53 PM  
OpenID writerinspired said...

Michelle, How cute and true! I laughed out loud when you said "four farther than I expected." What an optimistic attitude!
I'll have to keep that in mind when I get interruptions after just logging into my email!
Mary Jo

8:48 AM  
Blogger mlh said...

Mary Jo: Oh, the dreaded email! I was asked a question recently on why I don't keep logged into my email account all day. I believe it is the one biggest distraction to writers aside from cooking, cleaning, and everything else we call life. Yet email comes in at a close fourth.

10:42 AM  

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