When I Need a Break from Writing

There have been many times in my life when I wish my father kept night hours. Many people have been bothered by my middle-of-the-night phone calls… some of those calls are simple, “Hey, how are you doing?” interactions. Then there are the other types of calls that have a specific purpose. An actual question needs to be answered, or I very much want some support.

Tonight is one of the nights I’d like to call my father.

Nothing terrible is going on. I’m not hurt or sick or in trouble. My wife, Tara, is fine and sleeping peacefully upstairs. My bills are paid up for the month; Christmas was wonderful – everything is a-okay.

However, I’m in the middle of a modeling project. I bought a wooden HO-scale Bates Motel model kit. (Earlier in the year, I put together the Bates mansion and wanted to have the motel, as well. My goal is to assemble a diorama, complete with landscapes, stairs leading from the mansion to the hotel, a parking lot, trees and grass, and, hopefully, some lighting.) The problem is I hardly know how to put together a simple glue-the-pieces-together model available on the discount rack at the local pharmacy. This motel kit is ten times more complicated than that. The wood is thin. Pieces need to be sanded, primed, and painted; the instructions are vague, short on describing the “easy” step-by-step processes, and it has terrible visual aids.

Perhaps the biggest problem of all is – ME!

My patience is something that needs to be rewired.

My fingers are too big, and calloused (two of them have almost no feeling at the tips due to injury).

How the hell has my father done it? And how has he done it successfully? If I were able to call him – without disturbing him, that is – those are the types of questions I would ask him. Not, “Hey, how’s the weather up there?” They would be more like: “How the hell do you keep your fingers from sticking to a piece of freaking trim board half the width of a toothpick?” Or, “Have you ever ‘accidentally’ thrown a bottle of Testors paint across the room?”

“This is supposed to be relaxing. This is supposed to be relaxing.”

I whisper that to myself when things are starting to get frustrating. The irony: I started painting, putting together dioramas, and building models when writing became so frustrating, nothing good was going to happen by me continuing. However, especially in the middle of the night, I don’t want to stop creating. My mind is still trying to function on being productive in some way. Sure, I could say the heck with everything, turn on the television and vegetate. But, I don’t. I jump from one thing to another. And, if all fails, when I know I’m done for, I’ll clean, or reorganize my bookshelves.

Sometimes, I just need someone to talk to during the midnight hours. Someone to bounce ideas off of. Someone to learn from. Reading. There is always reading. And I learn a great deal from my books. Sort of difficult to have a dialogue with them, though.


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