A #summer of #writing & #motherhood, part 4: Know When to Collaborate.

Time is not my friend this month. Hell, it ain’t even a church acquaintance. It’s more like the medical assistant at the kids’ clinic that I had to call once a week for two months straight due to stitches in and stitches out and sickness and more stitches in and more stitches out: initially helpful, then busily surprised, then downright annoyed I need time made for me yet again.


Good morning!

So yesterday I woke up, struggling to keep my face above the flood of first week student issues, and wondered: What can I possibly blog about this month? I really want to study Agatha Christie’s use of multiple povs in And Then There Were None and how despite being inside everyone’s heads, we still didn’t know the killer until the epilogue. I want to explore the struggle of following God’s Calling in life when all the certainty of that road is thrown asunder by yet another Calling…also, apparently, from God.

But, as said, time is not my friend, not with a literary conference to prep for, school prep for my own kids, my own school to work for, some birthdays to celebrate, and grieve, too.

My mind remained muddled as the boys launched themselves out of bed and right into their sister’s room. Blondie was having a special sleepover at Grandma’s, which meant all her toys were up for grabs. Eventually I lured them out with breakfast and books, especially Truckery Rhymes, our latest acquisition from the library.

Mornings are slow-going here even on school days, so I didn’t think much of their gabbing instead of eating. But then I listened…

Mind you, this isn’t all of it, and of course I wrecked the moment by opening my big mouth. In those minutes, though, I forgot my stress…well most of it. Collaborative story-telling can quickly digress into fighting when Bash won’t say what Biff tells him to. But this moment of imagination shared reminded me what a difference a partner makes.

Writing can be like that.

I still haven’t told many friends, and hardly any family, about the writing life. That lack of “real life” support means more freedom to write about the raw, festering pieces of my past, but also means I can’t count on others to help me in, well, months like this, when time is too beleaguered by “real life” to give any more for our passions.

That’s why I thank God every day for you, Friends, for being here. For sharing how you struggle to balance writing with everything else. How despite it all you still create because you must. Me, too. And that “me, too” ties all the unseen in me with you.

Now sometimes, that sharing goes one step further. Last year Michael Dellert gave me a character and a corner of his fantasy world to make my own. It seems he approves of what I’ve done so far with Middler’s Pride, for he’s asked to co-write a short story starring some of his Droma natives and my pompous–but decent (mostly decent)–Shield Maiden. It promises to be quite an adventure for me, since I’ve never written a story with another writer before.

Like Blondie, I usually do my creating solo.


Blondie & her first epic, “The Wrong Pants.”

Currently she’s got her heart set on making comic books, starting with a special edition collection of Super Mario Brothers stories. Me? I try to write about Mer’s  fellow Shield Maidens whenever I can, which hasn’t been more than once a week, if I’m lucky. But I’ll be damned if I give that scrap of time up to despair. If I only get one hour a month to write, then that’s what I get. The light is brighter in me when I write, stronger, happier. To give this up will only darken the way I see the world and myself. My family will not be submitted to that darkness, not again.

Bloodshed aside, summer has not been without illumination. Books are explored, toilets are used without a battle, and friendship continues its tenuous wrappings from one child to the next. They drive each other crazy. They make each other laugh. They lock each other out. They smell each other’s feet. They thrive together. They thrive apart.

And I love it.


Biff of words, Bash of action, Blondie…um, gone at Grandma’s. 🙂



42 thoughts on “A #summer of #writing & #motherhood, part 4: Know When to Collaborate.

  1. Don’t ask why, Ms Lee yet coincidentally I was listening to the old Cat Stevens song, ‘Time’ earlier this day. It came back to me when I read this post of yours, particularly, ‘Time rise, Time falls, Time leaves you nothing, Nothing at all, Words, just words, don’t know, Words take you nowhere,
    Nowhere to go, To go. Back…, I’m going back…’. Keep up the good fight, you’ll win out in the end. It is a pity we can’t go to a shop and purchase a little more than we require of that thing called, ‘Time’!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s hard, but nothing at all like when I wrote “Mrs. Fix-It.” 🙂
      My three Bs are, in their own way…not the way I’d always like, but as I have to tell myself, they’re not me. They don’t have the same tastes, interests, joys. So I need to make myself take a step back, and let them figure things out. The boys turn five in a few weeks; it’s time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you again Jean…”That’s why I thank God every day for you, Friends, for being here. For sharing how you struggle to balance writing with everything else. How despite it all you still create because you must. Me, too. And that “me, too” ties all the unseen in me with you.” – good grief yes, I’d not be around without all the unseen ties of the likes of you…Blessings…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you remember when summers were ‘boring,’ friend? And now it slips by so quickly…
    I’m so glad that you are carving out these precious chunks of time to share these stories, and letting us be tied into your journey. You have such a great gift!
    I’m excited to hear about the collaborative project! More Gwen is always a good idea.
    Ha- my littles are currently engaged in a battle between a doll-sized plastic recycling bin and shark slippers…WHO WILL CONQUER??? And I’m being called in- take care, deep breaths, and on we go!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s so cool you’re going to write with another author! Craig co-wrote his book with Gary who lived 400+ miles away. That was definitely a labor of love. Mind you, it wasn’t always easy, but they enjoyed the entire writing process much more than I think they had anticipated. (That’s saying something given it took them about 7 years to complete the book!)

    Literary conference? Oooohhhh! I hope you’ll write about that down the line.

    You’ve had a momentous summer – milestones reached, a horrendous accident to your precious boy, and much more.

    I admire your strength and perseverance with all my heart and (this is big) with every drop of caffeine in my system! ☕️

    Please know I love you, my glorious Java Queen!!!!
    Princess Percolatia 👰

    Liked by 1 person

    • A labor of love, indeed! I’m hoping Michael will be kind with the writing schedule, since I have no clue how this coming school year will go. I am soooooooo nervous how the boys will be, but we have to try, right?

      UGH, last year’s conference was such an irritation. Yes, I really should write about it…that and I’m scrounging for topics to blog about, so this should count! 🙂 Luckily for me the Higher Ups picked the theme “lessons learned” for this year’s conference. Oh yeah, I was totally “That’s MY thing!”–not in jealousy or anything, but in relief. I can just compile a few blog posts and tweak them to work with a powerpoint, and ta-da! Presentation!
      I’m still nervous as Hades when the boys start flying off of stuff. You know after all that stitchery, what do those boys do? They decide to try and swing one-handed. Of course they both fell right off and into the woodchips. Bash came through unscathed, but Biff got a bloody lip and thank the good Lord nothing else. GAH!
      And I love you, O High Empress Percolatia! You’re working through some impressive milestones yourself. I’m so proud of you and your work in Toastmasters and professional connecting for your book! You’re amazing. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Java Queen Jeany Bean 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How I’d love to wrap you in some comforting prose that says it will all be fine and time is your friend. Truth is, Time, that bitch, is no one’s friend, but there can be some uneasy alliances made. I make 20-minute deals with Time. Just give me 20 minutes to write this scene, edit this bit, jot down notes on the bigger story. Turns out, 20 orn30 consistent minutes – like at least five times a week – will get you a novel in nine months. So don’t go for the whole enchilada. It’s the microbites that add up. 😜 Good luck, Jean.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eh – yes… The summer holidays is always something of a marathon. All I can say is that it will pass – you’ll look around twice and they will be in their teens, cadging lifts and off with their mates. In the meantime, your wonderful prose sizzles off the page and I love reading it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks so much, Dear Friend. I admit, I’m happily looking forward to next month when school begins, and there are times when I see them as adults, off fighting fires in national parks or rescuing animals or…hauling garbage? That last one’s Biff’s. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lol… my mother has always said she doesn’t mind what we do – so long as we do it with the best of our ability:)). In the meantime, I hope you manage the rest of August without any more stitches…

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! We were at my nephew’s birthday party yesterday. They had a bounce-house there, so of course there I am, Helicopter Mama, whirling around and shouting, “Not so close! Don’t whack your head! I don’t want any more facial injuries this summer! Don’t throw the ball at her face, do you want to send her to the hospital?!?!?!” 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I know! Bless my mom’s heart, she’s taken all three kids solo, but as far as sleep-overs go she prefers just Blondie–understandably so, and Kiddo could use a little time being the center of attention again. She can do things with Grandma that we can’t do together at home, like cook or garden. But now that the boys are potty-trained and old enough to notice their big sister gets special time with Grandma, I brought up the possibility of having the boys take turns sleeping over too. My mother’s reaction: “You don’t mean both at once, do you?” No. “Oh. Okay, because that wouldn’t end well.” Nope, probably not. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – I can see that could prove to be testing:). I’ve been looking after my grandchildren since they were tiny babies only a few weeks old, so they are very used to my regime with their own rooms, drawers of clothes and toys – but I didn’t have to deal with twins! I’m sure each will have a wonderful time with Grandma:)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. First, let me say you have adorable children. And you are a creative namer: Biff, Bash, and Blondie. Never stop trying to listen. Mine are mid-to-late forties, and I still wreck “the moment by opening my big mouth.” Those “moments” come less and less frequently now. And not just with kids … of any age. The fact remains we need to listen to everyone more, keeping our “big mouths shut” and even our next-move-planning brain that can’t listen while waiting for the other to take a breath so we can jump in with our jabber. We need to turn everything off and listen.

    My God, I love your free-and-easy brand of writing. You’re in your voice, and you sing so well! Good luck with your collaboration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Blondie got her name easily–she’s always had quite the mess of golden curls on her head. Biff and Bash have been fighting since they noticed the other’s existence, reminding me of henchmen for a 1960s Batman villain.
      I do love your sentiment here; I was just reminded today, after the boys’ first day of pre-school, to calm the #*&$ down and focus on the good things that happened today and not the bad. Keep my mouth shut, and think on the good. So that’s what I’m gonna do.
      and thank you kindly for the compliment! I’m, um, not exactly confident in my prose just yet. Getting there. I hope. xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sometimes you have to fight the demons or the battle or the challenges or the work demands or the parenting or the grieving or whatever…. on your own. It’s so difficult to explain how that feels. You do it so much better than I could. By the way Son was telling me how cool one of Blondies comics is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hee hee! She loves to draw…when the whim hits her. I wish I could get her to keep on it every day. 🙂
      And you’re right. Some fights are indeed solo fights (said as I revise a story on channillo where the heroine realizes she can’t fight alone) 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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