In response to last Saturday’s poll, “Do you work on weekends?” [Current totals on that poll, by the way are : 14 “Yes,” 2 “No,” and 7 “It depends.”], Amiee Maxwell wrote, “Curious what your typical day looks like and how you manage all that you do.”
The following is what one recent day looked like. Whether it’s typical is hard to say.
Friday, February 12, 2010
8:30-ish AM: Mariel wakes up smiling, as usual. I feed her and stay in bed until Francisco brings coffee. The deliciousness of the coffee is generally a barometer of how the day is going to be. Don’t ask me how or why, but it’s true. Fortunately, today’s coffee is strong, with a generous capa of foam, dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg.
9:00 AM: I realize, dammit, that the dog hasn’t been out for a walk since yesterday afternoon. Bad. I pull on a pair of jeans and rain boots, grab my keys, and kick through the sludge and generally feel bad about how shitty our dog has had it since the baby was born. I also pick up our newspaper and feel victorious. For the past three Fridays running, someone has stolen it before I’ve rolled out of bed and made it downstairs. Victory is mine. Like the coffee, this is good.
9:15 AM: I crawl back into bed with Mariel, who’s entertaining herself by grabbing both feet at the same time. Each time she does this, it’s as if she’s doing it for the first time. She giggles, throws her legs down, and starts all over again.
9:40 AM: Francisco gives me half of a bagel and I work on making my to-do list. A fellow writer recently told me she thinks most people have electronic to-do lists these days. Not me. Mine has to be on paper.
9:45-10:15 AM: I blast through email. 42 messages later…
10:20 AM: We call Francisco’s mom in Havana. She tells us the DVD he made of Mariel’s birth has now been passed around from house to house in Centro Habana. “I’m praying God gives me the strength to live until you bring her,” she says. A conversation ensues about whether and when I should take Mariel.
11:15 AM-1:00 PM: More email; editing; finish the “Writers’ teeth” article; occasional breaks to play with Mariel when she wakes up from her power naps. Promote Matador articles published today. Read other writers’ blogs.
1:00 PM: I have a Skype call with Andris Bjornson. We talk about photography, Nepal, telecommunications, and Haiti. I come out of the call with lots of ideas about how to write an article about the work he did setting up telecom in Haiti after the quake and start researching publications’ submission guidelines on MediaBistro.
1:30-3:00 PM: Mariel’s up from a nap, so I spent time with her.
3:00 PM: Francisco comes home. We talk about his morning, and I look at his photographs. I download the photographs, do some quick editing of them, and then upload them to Flickr. I make stir-fry vegetables, and he starts prepping dinner. I play sous chef, a role I love but haven’t held for a long time.
3:45 PM: I craft a pitch on the Haiti tech story and send it out via email.
5:00 PM: I finally start working on an essay I’ve been putting off for weeks. It’s not for lack of interest or a lack of feeling for this piece. On the contrary, I woke up at 3 AM a few nights ago, grabbed my journal and a pen and stumbled off to the bathroom to write out–longhand– the beginning of the essay. It’s just that it’s about Mexico, which is so important to me that I need the urgency of the deadline–February 15–to really make this piece hum. This is my relationship with deadlines: the tighter, the better.
And I’m pleased with the way this essay is going. I’m writing what I want to convey and it feels (mostly) effortless. The writing is interrupted, though, by Mariel waking up from a nap. I set it aside for the moment and join Francisco and Mariel.
5:00-9:00 PM: Trying to be present to domestic life, but I really hate leaving a piece of writing midstream, especially when it’s going well. I make occasional notes as we watch choreographer Bill T. Jones on Bill Moyers’ Journal; I’ve long admired Jones and the interview stimulates all sorts of new ideas. I also think Moyers is one of the finest journalists alive and I try to catch his program when I can; I always learn from his engaged, wholly present interview style.
9:00 PM-2:00 AM: Mariel falls asleep. Francisco is editing video, trying to finish a short documentary for this year’s Havana Film Festival in New York. I’m working on the Mexico essay, which I finish; then, I do some reading. We stop once in a while to talk about our projects and ask each other for input, and go to bed around 2:30.
What’s your day like? Is any day “typical”? Share some snippets of your life in the comments.