The Right Words

These are not the write words to be typing now. These are not the words that are required by others who sign paychecks and editors who wish to insert them into magazines and websites that would otherwise have holes in them. Instead they are the words of a father who is seated at a table that includes his ten year-old son. The boy and the man sit at the table working on their respective assignments. My beautiful son has bad case of shpilkes. Shpilkes is Yiddish, think of it as “ants in your pants.” He is always in motion and when he isn’t he is muttering to himself, singing songs and or doing a million other things that distract me.

It is a funny thing watching this boy with the shpilkes because the Shmata Queen noticed that about me immediately. I am filled with nervous energy and though I am quite capable of holding still it is not unusual for me to be pacing around the room or moving in some fashion. I don’t think that I am always conscious of my movement so I probably shouldn’t give him too hard a time, but I do. I do it just as my father once did to me. Yep, I just blamed it on my dad as he would do with his dad- it is a family tradition.

Years ago my grandfather would have told me that he was sorry that he wasn’t rich and that it was his father’s fault. I’d say that it wasn’t fair because zayde (grandpa) wasn’t around to defend himself and grandpa would laugh. And so now that time has passed and grandpa is gone my dad repeats his words, “my father played a dirty trick on me….” I haven’t had the opportunity to share that particular pearl of wisdom with my son yet, but I look forward to doing so.

So here I am thinking about the words that should be typed now and preparing to do so. This post is similar to being in the on deck circle. I can’t start officially until he finishes his homework, but in the interim I can take a few warm up swings. It is not unusual for me to work in this manner. When the words flow forth from my fingers they do so with great speed and enough accuracy that I don’t worry about my productivity. When the mood strikes I can really pump it out.

But this is not how I want my children to work. They need to be held to a more rigid schedule. They haven’t earned the right to work as I do. They haven’t proven that they can get it done as I can and that is ok. I am a hair short of 42 and have been doing this for years. They need to be disciplined in their approach so that they learn how to do it. They need to learn the ropes so that it becomes second nature. It is a skill that will serve them well.

And yet even though I know what I am capable of I am growing anxious. I want to start working. I want to start focusing because I don’t want to do work that is just good enough. I need better than that. And in the midst of all this I start another exercise that has always served me well. I visualize the story that I want to tell and warm up the narrator that lives inside the my mind. I hear his voice and see pictures that I need to describe for the readers. There is music playing in the background but not the kind that you can hear, not unless you live inside my head.

These are not the write words for the work that needs to be done but soon they shall be.

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14 Comments

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  4. ChopperPapa February 28, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Your ability to pump out multiple posts per day is extremely impressive.

  5. Cathy February 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    My 12 yo can sit still…very, very still. And stare at his pencil, and pick the eraser, and fold the edge of the paper back and forth, and stare some more at his pencil, and pick some more on the eraser….If he had ants in his pants to? I think I would bang my head on the table out of sheer frustration.

  6. lifeintheboomerlane February 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I live in the Land of Shpilkes. I can’t sit still (except at the computer) and I always have “projects.” Blogging, of course, is one. There care many others. They all give me enormous satisfaction and no remuneration. It’s a curse.

    • Jack February 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm

      It depends on the situation. Sometimes the perfect words present themselves and others….not so much. It is part of why I write, in search of the words and stories that complete a life.

  7. Abby February 25, 2011 at 5:14 am

    I agree with the comment above, in that multiple posts of quality are very impressive (key words there–“of quality”.) For me, I think I overanalyze the things I actually hit “publish” for. That doesn’t mean I think everything I post is of a high quality, but rather that I end up doubting whether I should share the schmutz before I try and shine it up.
    As for your son and his shpilkes, I can relate. Even though I’m at a computer all day, that doesn’t mean I can focus on the job at hand all the time (I posted “Creative as a Noun about this.”) If I have something blog-related I need to get out, I have to get it out before I can move on to the “real” work that I’m probably already ahead of schedule with anyway (I suppose I’ve earned that as well.) I can do a great job at any time with writing for enjoyment or employment, but I can totally tell when it’s coming from a place of greater inspiration.
    Sorry for the ramble. These obviously aren’t the right words at this time, but it’s a start 😉

    • Jack February 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

      Rambling is ok with me. I like to ramble and jingle-jangle. I do it all the time. If you want to produce more content there are two words to remember; just write. It is a blog not a term paper. Just write.

  8. 30ish Mama February 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    I am fascinated by the fact that you can regularly publish multiple posts on a daily basis. Seriously.

    • Jack February 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      It is not hard to do. You just have to make time for it. Work keeps me online all day so I find time to post in between projects. Little cracks in time are all I need.

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