The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Schedule Me

by Antonios Maltezos

I think I’d have been a better Dad if I was an accountant. Year-end would’ve been a bitch, but at least my kids would have had an easier go of it stealing me from my work.

Oh, shit! I just realized something. What if one or all of my kids grow up to be writers? Four girls, you just know they’re going to write Dad into each and every story. The thought boggles my mind. Do I have time to change my ways? That’s something to consider, no? Maybe I could set aside a couple hours a day just for them, well… for them and me. I’d have to make a list, a detailed list I could work from, a list of things to change, to consider, to avoid. How ‘bout a schedule, not unlike the one I have pinned to my cork board for the novel I’m working on, a foinking novel that doesn’t give a foink about schedules, that keeps me up at night questioning my resolve. What if the schedules clash? Well then, maybe I could get a second cork board; put it up on an opposite wall so they wouldn’t clash, so the worst that could happen is they shoot each other dirty looks all day.

Things to Avoid, Consider, Change
1- I should never start writing before all the kids are up, because then I’ll just get cranky when they give me my good mornings.
2- Whenever one of them knocks on the office door, I should never reply with a WHAT! They’ll feel unwelcome, and that ain’t right.
3- Snacks and TV are horrible pastimes. (mental note: remember to make a list of activities designed to keep ‘em developing through the summer months.)
4- Because I’m staying home Monday to Friday during the summer, I should sit with them through breakfast, lunch, and supper. We should talk as we eat.
5- I should never get mad when they use my printer paper for arts and crafts. It’s just paper.
6- I shouldn’t get on their case when they mess up part of the house while playing, especially if I wasn’t around while they were playing.

I’ll stop here. It’s a beginning…

Daily Schedule
1- Get their breakfast ready. Pick up all the crap they left lying around from the day before.
2- Supervise when they’re done with the breakfast and it’s time to clean up. They drop crumbs, spill juice, and drip when they eat.
3- Think about lunch. Take out any meat from the freezer if need be.
4- Set ‘em up with an activity for the hours leading up to lunch. Make sure they’ll be challenged mentally and physically, and that they’ll play nice together.
5- Lunch, me included (breakfast will be tough to share because I’ve never gotten into the habit, myself).
6- Think about supper. Take meat out of the freezer.
7- Activity to three o’clock. Three o’clock is snack time. After the snack, they should do a chore or two, build their sense of responsibility.
8- Slowly start supper. I don’t like rushing to get a meal together.
9- The house should be in order before we sit down for supper, that way we can enjoy some family time afterwards.
10- Stop writing. Evenings are for families.


I coulda growed up to be an accountant!


Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I love your post today, Tony. It's true that novels and stories don't give a crap about schedules. Other things, people, even loved ones, have to pester their way into our brains but our writing is already there and can stake a claim. My mind drifts to my work in the middle of conversations with people I care about and I feel quite guilty. It's nice to read here, about your troubles with trying to consciously carve space and time for your kids. On the whole I feel the writing improves when we take time away from it to live.

Thu Jul 20, 12:40:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Thanks so much, Andrew. You actually made me feel better about my post. I was feeling guilty. Those kids mean everything to me.

Thu Jul 20, 01:01:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Of course you do, Tony. If you didn't, you wouldn't have written this post at all. The pull between the desire to write and the desire to be all that you can be for your kids is strong. My dad was an accountant and he had to borrow time for us, too, especially at year-end and monthly payroll runs. I'm betting your kids will write about what a fabulous dad they have.

Thu Jul 20, 07:05:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

Oh dear, so much pressure! Your children are so fortunate even to have their father in the house with them all day. In witnessing your writing they will know that their father values creative expression, literacy, and perseverance to name a few things. It's damn hard to balance the two extremes. Thanks for this, Tony.

Thu Jul 20, 10:15:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

If you communicate half as well with your kids as you do with us, you're doing a bang up job.

Fri Jul 21, 01:46:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Thanks, guys. We really do understand each other.

Fri Jul 21, 10:18:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

this is great Tony, changes during the summer are always difficult, I find it quite interesting, as my post is somewhat related to yours, that we're, as writers, all in the same boat this summer, trying to fit in time to write, time to spend with our families, and well, time, it's a precious commodity, enjoy your family, everything will come together, and well, you're a wonderful dad, and a wonderful writer....xoxo take care..xo P

Fri Jul 21, 04:24:00 pm GMT-4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I coulda growed up to be an accountant!"

Yah, me too, Antonios, and we'ld both be richer. Diane

Mon Jul 24, 03:24:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

Tony, you sound like the kind of dad kids would be so grateful for. Balancing dedication is such a feat, and what a great example to set.

I admire your schedule. And I'm glad you didn't choose to become an accountant ;)

Thu Jul 27, 05:37:00 pm GMT-4  

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