"What's happening with you this week?" she asked casually.
I smiled. We both knew it was a big week.
"Archie's second day at preschool." I announced proudly as her eyes widened with pleasure.
"Wow, that's awesome."
I rifled through my bag eager to show her the pics on my phone of Arch painting, bike riding, playing in the sand pit and doing all the things a preschool boy should do.
"So what are you going to do now?"
Wendy's question brought me back to reality with a jolt. She has a habit of doing this to me.
"Oh well I've put my name down in two shops. You know just in case they need me." I started, trying to sound hopeful. And enthusiastic. And strategic.
"But you need to write, right?" She chided as I gazed at her bright, focused eyes. "You have to write - now's your chance!" Her enthusiasm was infectious and I laughed with her.
"Yes." I said, knowing that agreeing is easy. "It's my first kid-free time in over ten years. I do need to write."
I grabbed my coffee from her outstretched hand and made my way back to the car. "But write what about? That is the eternal question." I muttered as I started the engine. What is my BIG IDEA?
Years ago I had a boss who was a writer with a published biography to his name.
I was undertaking a Masters of Creative Writing at the time, part-time and excruciatingly slowly. I was also working full-time and supporting my new husband who was a student.
"You can't call yourself a writer, if you don't write." My boss used to helpfully chant to me, as I buried myself in the endless editorial administrative tasks that filled up my every working day in his office.
"I'm not calling myself a writer!"I used to mutter back, feeling irritated and stressed and frustrated. "How can I when I'm here, doing this?"
So now, many years on, I find myself in the enviable position that once I could only dream of:: Two days a week to devote to clear-headed, fast-flowing, imaginative and creative writing.
For the first time in over ten years I have two child-free days to hopefully clear a space. To actually concentrate on doing what I have already been doing or trying to do, my whole life. Cramming words in and around the small spaces eked out of the gaps in the every day. But this opportunity churns my gut and is waking me up in the night as my mind spins crazily in out-of-control circles. I feel nervous and unsure but I can feel determination too. I know that I have to pick up my pen and begin. And occasionally, I feel a small flicker of light. A tiny zap of excitement, of happiness, even, at what lays before me. A chance. To write.
I may not have my BIG IDEA - but I have a few small ones, to get me started.
I know if I don't give it a shot, I'll be angry with myself. Probably forever.
Who knows how it will go?
I'll keep you posted.