A Writer’s Life

“You look crazy.”

“Huh?” I say to my well-meaning husband. His  words, while amused and affectionate, have pulled me from my world. Doesn’t he know that I have dialogue to run?

“You’re talking to yourself. Your hands are even moving.” Full disclosure: my bio-mom’s family comes from Sicily, and people who study such things, know exactly which village by my hand motions.

I roll my eyes as I lose the thread. Edie had been talking smack, but it’ll have to wait. “Do you need something?”

“No.” He’s smiling at me.


“Do the kids need something?”


“Then why are you…” I don’t want to say “bothering me” but that’s the phrase that’s attempting to escape.

He smile at me. “You look crazy.”

“And?” My patience is wearing very thin at this point.

“Well, we’re at our son’s robotics competition and you’re walking around, talking to yourself.”


I heave a huge sigh. “There are four teams ahead of him. I  know what’s going on.”

“How’s the scene going?” I can tell he’s trying not to laugh.

“Not well. I’m not exactly sure who’s POV to use, or if I should cut directly to the action. Right now, I’m contemplating a quiet scene, and I don’t know if that’s right for the overall story. So I’m trying out dialogue.” I glare at him. “Did you need something?”

He finally laughs, soft chuckles that don’t carry far. “Yes. You. In this moment. And not looking crazy.”

My fingers drum on my twitching leg as I stare blankly at the stage where a small cube with arms manipulates Legos.

(Full disclosure: This video does not feature my kids or their robot.)

Two seconds later, Marley is clutching his guitar and flirting with Brenda. I’m not sure if this scene will work either, but I’m enjoying the hell out of their banter. Those two are always good for lightening the mood. And the book has been fairly heavy so far…

“You’re doing it again.” He’s laughing out loud, now.

“I really don’t care.” I try to hold on to the scene, but talking banishes the image of Marley laughing on the beach.


“Do you really wander around talking to yourself outside of the house? Don’t you realize how crazy you look?”

Our youngest, all of seven, though cynicism and emotional manipulation makes him seem at least two decades older, plops into my lap. He munches on a granola bar and flaps a hand at his father. “Yeah, but, dad, mom is crazy. How did you miss that when you married her?”

My husband loses it at this point, and his big-belly laugh echoes in the gym. My two oldest children glance around the makeshift divider that has been erected. We smile and wave before turning our attention back the robots.

I make it through the end of the round, but once the setup for the next round starts, my mind is, again, in the Haven. This time, I’m trying a fight practice scene with Barb and Matt.

“You really can’t help it, can you?” My husband heavy, warm arm slips around my shoulders.

“What can I say? I’m a writer. Also, still not sure what the next scene should be…”


author photo cropped
Kate Whitaker writes for fun and profit from the woods of the Olympic Peninsula. You can most likely find her sitting at her kitchen table yelling at kids as she tries to figure out a new way to kill made up monsters. She has a newsletter and a comic, and you can follow her on twitter.