Saturday, June 26, 2010

Quiet Time

I thought I’d have a quiet day today—a writing day. With one teenage son out of town on a school trip, the other one enjoying the beginning of his summer break (which means sleeping), and my husband at the office, I’d set aside the day to work on my novel.

Two hours into my writing, Matt’s band “HOF” began to arrive. “We have to practice for our gig tomorrow night,” he said. “Oh, I thought you’d practiced enough on Tuesday when my bridge group was here.” I have to admire their diligence.

My peaceful day was soon infiltrated by the pounding reverberations felt and heard through the basement ceiling. Drums, saxophones, trumpets, bass guitars, and aggressive vocals combined to entertain with their lovely Indie punk rock melodies.

Working at the computer in the kitchen, I was soon visited by band members requiring snacks and drinks and offering congenial conversation. The 15 to 17-year-old boy (and one girl) band take their music seriously. They play, they break to eat, drink, and chat for a few minutes, and then they play some more. Three hours of live Indie rock music in the background while trying to write fiction makes for an interesting writing challenge, my characters likely saying and doing things they wouldn’t normally have said or done.

But how can I complain? Was it not me who convinced Matt to have the band practice here instead of at his friend’s, so we wouldn’t have to continually schlep his drum kit back and forth? I’ve always enjoyed having our kids’ friends at the house and this musical entourage is particularly interesting. An eclectic group who dance to their own beat and have their own style, they come with Mohawk haircuts, long rocker tresses, blond curly locks, and preppy coifs. Polite, good-humoured, talented and smart, I must say, these kids are a pleasure to have around despite the interruption to my Chapter Sixteen.

After attempting to write amidst the background (or should I say, underground) entertainment, I decided to try my luck in the backyard, where I anticipated the sounds of birds chirping, the feel of the breeze blowing, and the sight of our dog and rabbit happily—and quietly—romping around the grass. Most of all, I looked forward to stealing away for a few hours of peace and quiet on a perfect summer day.

None of this was to be. Here I sit, on my comfortable deck, reclined in the chair, listening to our next-door neighbour’s incessant barking dog, our back-door neighbour’s screaming children, and the piercing drilling and sawing noises from another’s home renovation. I’d be a hypocrite to complain without acknowledging my own past offenses. I once had screaming children (who now don’t scream, but play loud musical instruments) and a barking dog (who barked so much that the neighbour yelled across the fence, “Give your dog a valium, will ya?), not to mention a noisy construction project or two.

The G20 Summit is here in Toronto and I just got off the phone with my husband who is working downtown. “It’s a ghost town here,” he said. “Only about 30% of our office came in, probably more than most—driving was a breeze and parking was half price.”

Maybe I should have left the suburbs and trekked downtown for my peaceful day of writing; I might have had better luck finishing Chapter Sixteen.


  1. Great post! At least Paul got some work done.

  2. Frustrating though it can be having our families around when trying to write, we're still lucky. I suspect that I'll miss all the interruptions that I complain about now when the kids are grown and gone! You did a lovely job of capturing family life. This put a smile on my face!