For the past two weeks I lived in a house with a bunch of other women writers. Then I drove with one of the residents and was dropped off in a rest stop and picked up by my Spouse and a friend. It was a poet drug deal. Being in a car with two men was the first major transition. It took me a couple hours, but finally I was able to explain to DP why I was being so weird.
Every day I woke up and padded into the kitchen. Sometimes people had even made coffee already. As soon as I saw one of my coresidents we talked about one of my very favorite things in the world: doing the work she and I loved best. Then eventually we told each other to stop talking and get to work.
I can’t talk about my work to casual acquaintances. “What did you do this weekend?” “Oh I read a book about XX in order to write about YY. Then DP and I went to a coffeeshop to write.” Not very interesting. Or they ask you questions you can’t answer like, “When are you going to finish your book?” When I’m done, never, and bursting into tears are all possible answers to that question, none of which are terribly socially acceptable.
Then I had all day to do my work. It still wasn’t easy. I spent a lot of time trying to get myself into the right headspace to be productive. Even though I love my work, my brain would rather be on vacation at all times. And then I worked. At the end of the day, I went for a walk with my friend S and had amazing and silly conversations. Then, back at the house, we all discussed how our work went and how it could go better. If there was drama or if I was bored I could politely excuse myself. My job was not to be a social person; my job was to get my work done.
I can’t just ghost on a conversation with my spouse in real life. I have paying work to do and a dog to feed and social and emotional obligations. Yesterday I mowed my lawn, and it was surprisingly refreshing to do something that concrete and easy to finish.