Saturday, October 15, 2005

Down Time

I always look forward to this time of year. I'm not talking about the bold colors exploding off the trees, or the warm days following crisp nights...Jeez, I sound like a commercial. No, what I'm looking forward to is stick season, that time of year when wet snowflakes lacerate your face, and the traffic isn't backed up all the way to the church on Mountain Road. I used to think it had to do with being a writer. I know better now.
Writers are queer in this way: we look forward to large blocks of uninterrupted time, during which we can create out chefs d'oeuvre. We fantasize about retreating to our workspace with nothing but hot coffee and clean underwear, we're we'll cloister ourselves, pampering our muses, lavishing the world with our heady issuences. It doesn't work out that way. Especially if your the innkeeper's husband.
I kind of shot myself in the foot this year. I finished my writing for school ahead of schedule, so as soon as the leaves fell off the trees, I was at loose ends. Don't get me wrong; being a graduate student guarantees an endless supply of work...sort of like owning a 170 year old inn. But the high pressure stuff is in the can, requiring only revision and rewriting. I've got my final creative thesis to put together, but aside from that...
It can mean only one thing: work around the inn. There'll be no excuses now, and I've got a lot to do between now and Thanksgiving, when the snows will deepen, preventing me from doing anything except shooshing down the side of Mt. Mansfield until April. First on the list is windows. We're replacing most of the windows on the back of the inn. This is good news. Now I won't have to run around in the morning, sweeping up little piles of snow that leaked inside overnight. It also means that I won't have to hand out Aran Island sweaters to guests entering the breakfast room. Sure it was quaint, but progress beckons.
And I haven't even mentioned all the "buttoning up" that has to be done. Branches have to be pruned, hoses stowed, bikes exchanged for skis, and the snow blower needs some attention. Only half of it works: the entire right side is paralyzed. I suspect a sheer pin somewhere, but in order to confirm that, some serious cussin' will have to take place, and I'm sure I'll get reacquainted with the first aid kit.
And where will this leave the writer? Richer, no doubt, for with cussin' comes inspiration. All the thumb bashing and back wrenching lead to more fertile places. But I'd rather have an assignment. Like imagining a bunch of hard work around the inn, then writing about it. I'm good at that. Ah, well, there's one consolation: it always ends up 5 o'clock. Meaning cocktail hour.