My Busy Days

It’s 2 a.m. when I arrive home, but my husband Cam doesn’t question where I’ve been all day. Instead he says what he usually says: “I always love seeing your face when I come home from work. . . . All my worries melt away when I see you.” But I don’t scoff at the sentiment or its repetition—twice daily for the seven years we’ve been married.

If asked, I would have told him I’d been out fishing, my expression carefully neutral. But there’s no hint of suspicion from Cam and no guilt on my part, though I’ve left our daughter, Dahlia—nearly a year old—alone all day. I shower and head to bed without a care in the world.

Friday rolls around—Date Day. After I rise at six to feed my three dogs, two cats, and owl, my husband taking little interest in their welfare, I greet Cam with his daily gift—whatever I can scrounge out of the sack I always carry. He usually likes herb tea and flowers. And, as is his custom on Thursdays and Fridays, he will walk about the inside of our house while I slave over the farm work, caring for my four cows, two sheep, two alpacas, and six chickens. But I don’t complain.

My co-laborers in this venture are my dogs and cats, which herd the animals in and out of the barn and chicken coop. The owl gets underfoot.

My husband . . . just stands there. Thursdays and Fridays are his days off from the flower shop. When I race into the house at 11 a.m., he suggests that we head out for our date. Our child lies in bed oblivious. We dash off, leaving her behind. We’re cheerfully neglectful parents.

Afterwards, back to work I go. I have two million dollars to raise to build a spa. I gather the necessary wood and stone. Afterward, I head into town, greeting people as I go. Every bachelor I meet still wants to date me though I’m happily married to a guy who wears the same outfit every day: a lavender shirt and vest combo, skinny tie, topped off by a purple plaid cap. The sparkly party dress I’m wearing probably has something to do with my allure.

I hand out gifts to my fellow townspeople to keep their favor—the mayor included. Then off I go to purchase food to maintain my strength. Inflation is high. Everything I buy costs hundreds of dollars. But I can afford it. I’ve got the two million nearly saved.

Off to the next town—the one from which I moved. I’m growing two fields of crops there. I harvest my crops and then head through the tunnel back to my town. I run past a messenger whose attention is usually quite fervent and his temper when thwarted volatile.

After shipping my crops, I return home late. Again my husband fails to question my whereabouts. Instead, he tells me that seeing me makes his day.

By now you’re wondering what’s going on. Is this a story I made up? The plot of a reality TV show? A fantasy? A cry for an intervention in real life? Before you dial Child Protective Services or suggest therapy, let me quickly say the answer is none of the above. This scenario is brought to you courtesy of the RPG Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns for the DS. (Rated E for Everyone.) If you’ve played this game, you probably already knew what I was talking about.

HMTTOTT_DS_L_Packaging

130px-Cam_(TToTT)This is not a post about the game’s issues, but about its emphasis on work. From sunup to sundown—work, work, work. Even the relationships are work. You have to earn friendship points with everyone and build the one you want to marry up to a certain heart level. And before you can marry, your house has to be up to the level where you can marry. But work is fun. It’s a game, right? A fun challenge to conquer.

I have to evaluate whether I’m willing to put as much effort into my writing as I do this game. Do I have the same work-is-fun outlook when I have to revise a story for the fourth time? Do I have the same determination to make it through every day, striving to meet my writing goals without fail? Do I cross every T and dot every I, making sure the elements of my story all add up to a compelling narrative? Or am I a neglectful parent, leaving my child—my writing project, whatever it might be—at home to care for itself while I tend to a guy in a purple plaid cap?

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The other bachelors in a Usual Suspects pose. Cam is second from left.

Off I go. See you around, Cam. I’ve procrastinated with you long enough. I’ve got some writing to do. Oh, and don’t wait up.

Is writing fun work for you or just work? How do you motivate yourself to stick to your tasks?

Cam from harvestmoon.wikia.com. Other Harvest Moon bachelors from kupika.com.

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32 thoughts on “My Busy Days

    • Well, you have such a big series, so I can understand how daunting editing might be. And you have your blog!

      I don’t mind editing. But then, I only have one book to worry about. Some days, though, I wish I could get some help with the housework while I write. My floors desperately need vacuuming!

  1. I left a reply earlier, but it doesn’t look like it stuck. When I started reading, I thought this was your new version of a short story. And it sounded exactly like something you might read in The New Yorker! 🙂 I am heeding the call to have fun with the writing. Will you heed it, too?

    • Ha ha! I haven’t tackled another short story. I just wrote about what was happening in the game. But yes. I’m ready to heed the call to have fun. I could use a bit of fun!

  2. I thought this was a short story too when I started reading–I’ve never even heard of the game–and it pulled me right in. 🙂 As to fun work v. work, it depends on the day. Mostly it’s fun–but the days I feel stuck or when what shows up on the page seems like crap are more like just work. Sometimes reading back through what I’ve written can get me going, sometimes I switch projects or do something else that needs doing, sometimes I just force myself to produce something I know I’ll probably delete later, and sometimes I just give myself a break.

    • Wow. I guess the Harvest Moon storyline is compelling! 🙂

      I’m glad writing is fun for you most of the time! And you have a plan for pumping yourself up when it doesn’t feel fun. That’s great. I have my days when everything I produce seems awful. This blog has really helped me rediscover the joy of writing.

  3. You had me going there, L. Marie. I was thinking what a gem your husband is, telling you twice a day that your face melts his worries.

    Creating the stories is what I love, the editing and revising…not so much.

    • I’d love to have someone like that! Only, I could do without the plaid cap. 🙂
      As I was telling Akoss, I hope you’ll also come to a place where you enjoy the editing/revising process too. I’m probably just weird. But for me, the story doesn’t really start to take shape until I begin revising. That’s the way I write, however. Some people edit as they write, so their drafts are polished. Mine–not so much.

  4. By the third paragraph I knew something was up but you really had me going. 🙂
    I treat writing as work every time I need to revise. The only time I’m having fun is when I’m drafting something brand new.
    I love farming games, so I just might add this one to my wish list. 🙂

    • Well, Harvest Moon is very addictive like Animal Crossing. If you have a 3DS, there’s a version for that. It’s very, very fun. Lots of crops to raise. And there’s a mining component too. Some people have complained about the repetition, but I don’t mind that so much.

      I hope you can also come to enjoy the revision phase too. I didn’t like it at first, but now I’ve come to really love revising.

  5. Great question, since I am now revising my novel for the I-don’t-know-how-many-th-time.

    And the answer is: I still see it as fun. In recent months, throughout the submission process, my joy went away as the rejections piled up, as I tried to make my novel something that would appeal to a trad publishing type, as I worried about reach and stats and connections and the like.

    I’m in a very different place with all that now, and I’m a happy writer again. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. For now.

    • Good!!! I’m trying to get back to that place too, Andra. I’ve seen my share of rejections in recent months. They knock the wind out of your sails for a bit, true enough. I’ve revised and cut my novel because of some feedback. Someday, I hope we’ll look back and laugh at this time of our lives.

    • Isaac, I admit I’m a bit of an addict myself. I started with Harvest Moon Cute at the insistence of my niece and nephew. We received quite a few raised eyebrows when we’d all announce, “My spouse and I are expecting a baby any day now.” Good times.

  6. Writing with a border collie either side of me sitting on the sofa can be challenging! They nudge and lick and a paw lands on my tablet creating a little typo! I couldn’t live without my dogs or my writing. My husband sighs and goes off to make another cup of tea, as the last one went cold!

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