We Don’t Quit

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.“Ernest Hemingway

“The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.” Ernest Hemingway

I call this time of day late Sunday night but most of you probably refer to it as early Monday morning. I’d like to say that the reason I am consistently awake at this hour is because I am doing something important but that is questionable.

It would be fair to say that part of the reason I am awake is because I am following Uncle Ernie’s advice and I am bleeding. No, it is not because I headbutted the typewriter, punched the wall or did anything that would cause my blood to flow freely from places it is not supposed to flow.

There have been moments where I considered it, but I am not that much of a masochist.  If anything you could say that my biggest challenge right now is finishing the damn novel. I have most of the pieces together but I haven’t quite got it the way I want it to. Not going to give up because we don’t quit.

The Second Week of Middle School

The second week of middle school begins tomorrow and I am curious to see how it goes. Overall the first week went much as I expected it would go. It wasn’t perfect but it seemed to go pretty well.

However my son is less than anxious to go back and I admit that I have some concerns. The challenge is trying to figure out what is really going on.

Most of my son’s friends are still enjoying summer vacation so after having heard about beach trips, swimming pools and general free time it is natural for him not to want to plant his butt behind a desk again.

When we add in that he is attending a new school that has almost six times as many students as his old school it is not unreasonable to expect some bumps in the road. What I didn’t expect to hear about were as many behavioral issues as I have.

I went to public school my entire life so I am not unfamiliar with what happens there. What I haven’t been able to figure out is is this is a normal and reasonable amount of school mischievousness or not. He is not used to seeing students openly defy the teachers.

This week we’ll pay attention to what happens. It is not time to freak out but if he is in a class where the teacher can’t handle the students then I want to move him.

He is in public school for a host of reasons including exposure to the real world but that doesn’t mean I am going to let the real world wreck his education.

Although it is only fair to admit that I was known for raising some hell in school so maybe the sins of the father are being visited upon the son.

Either way it doesn’t matter. I was pleased when he told me that “we don’t quit” and that he plans on going back tomorrow.

Week 1 - Opportunity Knocks

Nope, that is not a door at my son’s school or my daughter’s. Did I mention that my girl, the dark haired beauty who is determined to make me lose all of mine is having a field day in school.

She marched into class that first day and took the place by storm. Ok, that is an exaggeration because she was just as nervous as her big brother, but she has acclimated quite quickly.

Some of that is because of her personality and some because her school is only twice as big as the old one.

I need to clarify one thing, I don’t compare my children. I don’t need or want them to be the same. I want them to be who they are going to be. I want them to live, love and learn.

The bit about comparing is important. When the day comes that they read my words I want them to see that I am consistent. They’ll know that I wasn’t kidding about some things. I love them differently, furiously and equally. That is what fathers do.

Frankly that girl of mine has provided me with so much blog fodder I don’t know what to do. Been trying to figure out what is reasonable to share and what isn’t, there are boundaries in blogging.

The End Is Coming

The end is coming for this damn novel. I am going to figure out how to tie everything together in a way that makes me some what happy and then we’ll see what happens.

If you want to get some sense of what that might look like keep reading over here. Got to run now, it is 1 am and I am bleeding from my eyes.

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  1. Chloe August 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Just keep bleeding and eventually it’ll clot into your novel.

    My two children couldn’t be more different. One of the best pieces of parenting advice I ever read was in the book “Siblings Without Rivalry”. The author talks about the dangers of making comparisons, “Why can’t you be like your brother.” or “Why aren’t you more like your sister.”

    I have a terrible relationship with my sister and my mother’s insistence on comparing us is the culprit, I think. My sister has always lived under my shadow and it has wrecked our relationship.

    One of the things I am most proud about as a parent is the fact that my children adore one another. My daughter is a conservative Christian wife and foster mom ,and my son is a agnostic hipster musician. Like I said, they couldn’t be more different. But they don’t compare themselves to one another. And neither do I. They are who they are.

    Keep on bleeding, my friend. (And we must have some kismet going on, because I tweeted out that quote today myself. I feel a little bloody at the moment, too.)

    • The JackB August 21, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Oh I am bleeding, in more ways than one. 😉

      I know a bunch of people whose relationships with their siblings have suffered or imploded because their parents compared them to each other. I have been careful not to do that to my kids.

      I see them differently but love them equally and don’t need for them to be the same.

      My goal is to have my kids always like and love each other, sounds like you accomplished that. It is something worth being proud of.

  2. Judy Lee Dunn August 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I am in the middle of my story. Best of luck to you. I feel grounded now, writing my scenes, because I had the most amazing editor help me sort everything out and determine what moves my story forward and what doesn’t. So now I have an outline of 62 scenes, building to the climax. I wasted a lot of time meandering!

    On the middle school issues, my situation was totally reversed. My daughter began floundering in 6th grade, so I moved her to St. Georges’s, an amazing private school, for years 7-9. Smaller class sizes, more individual attention (team of teachers and conferences where they worked together and seemed to know Kellye inside and out—expensive, but worth it). By the time she reached high school, she was confident, high-performing and ready to conquer the world.

    Having been a teacher, I truly believe that every child has unique needs. It’s just a challenge for teachers and parents to meet them together. Kellye is now a senior at Smith College and, I feel, has truly found her calling (yes, that pesky acting career!). I wish such a happy ending for you and your kids.

    • The JackB August 20, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      Hi Judy,

      A good editor is invaluable. I am excited for you. It is great to hear that you are making good progress. I suspect my lack of a written outline is a big part of what is creating chaos in mine.

      It sounds like you really did right by your daughter. That is the sort of thing I want to say one day about my own kids.

      I don’t think there is always a right or wrong choice but you can’t always tell what is something will be like until you do it so this parenting stuff can be a bit more challenging.

  3. Jens P. Berget August 20, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I keep waiting for you to finish the novel.

    This is a novel I really really want to read!

    PS. my son started school today and he’s still smiling, almost eight hours after he got home. I don’t remember school was that much fun.

  4. bridgetstraub.com August 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Can’t wait to read the finished novel! As for school, yeah, it’s not going so smooth over here either and like you I am trying to balance how much is fair to blog about.

    • The JackB August 20, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      The novel will come. I just need to stop lollygagging and wondering about my words. Time to just bang it out and be done with it. Hope your school situation settles down sooner than later.

  5. Mark Harai August 20, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Here’s a tissue for the eyes… Now get back to work!

    The most important point in your post today: FINISH

    I loved this too: “love your children differently, furiously and equally…” Yep, that sums it up perfectly!

    Cheers Josh!

  6. Bill Dorman August 20, 2012 at 4:24 am

    Chugging along; if you haven’t heard about Lori’s son I am sure you will soon enough. How tragic; make sure you hug your kids tight tonight.

    Good luck w/ your novel.

    • The JackB August 20, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      Hi Bill,

      What happened to Alex is tragic and I feel sick. I am terribly sorry and wish that I could do more to help Lori than say I am sorry.

      Definitely made a point to hug the kids twice tonight. Just had to be done.

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