Supposed To

I'm supposed to be writing a novel.  I say supposed instead of the more definite I am writing a novel because that's too much of what my work looks like.  Supposed to covers an intention, a duty, a job I have accepted, but have not really given enough energy and brain power to.  Supposed to keeps me tethered to the long rope of obligation that at least makes me give thought to my work in progess, even if the progress is hardly discernible. Oh, I give this novel thought.  I sit in front of my keyboard for long stretches of time.  I sit with my puppy Frankie on my lap and my feet up on my desk.  Frankie has become used to this, it's an arrangement that seems to work.  Again, seems to, supposed to---- does not imply that a lot of actual work is getting done around here, does it?  Why am I supposed to be writing a novel in the first place?  Why don't I move on to something more immediate--- like getting the laundry done or the refrigerator cleaned?  Well, those homely tasks come in handy as a distraction.  Sometimes they even come in handy as a device to let my brain float a bit-- just engaged enough to keep me awake and somewhat alert without turning the engine on full blast. My usual form of minimum engagement activity is to play hand after hand of computer solitaire.   The screen behind the game holds my little word gems while I try to sneak up on my thoughts for the next chapter or some character development or maybe some revealing conversation.  Once in a while it even works and I get a paragraph or two down and I can feel I have accomplished something.  Oh, but I am too easily pleased.

I say I am supposed to be writing a novel because for years, since I sat on the basement floor in my parents house, books piled around me, children's books, picture books, classic fairy tales and shelves filled with the works of Shakespeare, Dickens, Hemingway and so many others, the magic of producing and telling stories has been my biggest delight. the black letters on the page were more real to me than toys.  I would caress the words with my fingers and understand, so glad for this gift of reading.  I could not count the number of nights I fell asleep with a book folded across me, or mixed in with the blankets because my eyes gave out before I would willingly set the book down for tomorrow.

Also, I say supposed to write becasue my darling husband set this blog up for me because he knows this about me. He knows that I delight in words and thoughts and sounds and ideas.  So often I dispel this energy through talking and then find I have little left over to put on the page.  So, yes, I am supposed to write because I am supposed to write.  If it sounds okay, great.  If it doesn't, well, that has to be okay too, because if I waited for Shakespeare of Hawthorne to use me as a scribe, nothing would ever be done.