Homebody

When I worked at the Prospect, I spent a lot of time working from home. Four writers were crammed into one not-large room at our office; an arrangement our editor agreed was not conducive to writing. So when I was working on a first or second draft, it was usually ok for me to not show up. (Before that point, I was usually away somewhere, reporting.) But working on a first or second draft is a unique and often terrible experience, and you spend a lot of time writing words you will never use, and you keep your kitchen very clean because washing dishes becomes a soothing task compared to untangling a paragraph or structuring a section—or, as I was asked to do by an editor once, to my horror, "unneating a draft"—and you don't want anyone to see how crazy you can get anyway. 

I loved working from home, but not every day. When I did go to the office, I had a 35-minute walk on either side. It was a wonderful way to get around. Except in this time of year. In the winter you can bundle up, and the act of walking makes you warm. In the summer, there's no escaping the heat. It didn't matter how light my cotton dresses were, I had rivulets of sweat running down ever slope of my body, my hair matted and wet under my ponytail. As a proper Southerner, I know that the only appropriate place to be at the end of summer is inside. But I'd adore a walk to an office now. It's really nice to commute to a place where other people have gathered to do the same types of things you do. Commutes bookend your day, and offices segregate your time. It makes you, weirdly, both less and more productive. I am always trying to work now, but sometimes I am successful, and sometimes I am not. I wasn't always successful at working at work, but my procrastination—talking to my colleagues and helping them work out their own story issues—was more productive. At least it felt that way to me.

I've always been a homebody, but now I have little choice. I'm in a moment when I am owed money but it won't arrive immediately, so I have to be very conservative. That is, I'm told, the freelancer's life. (Lest you think my vacations unwise, know that most of my expenses were covered.) I can't go to a coffee shop, because I don't want to spend the money. I put my gym membership on hold this month, so that's out. In fact, I put a lot of memberships on hold and, I'm not at all ashamed to admit have also avoided paying some bills. I'm waiting for the moment when whichever service is turned off and I have to part with cash. (Until then I am enjoying the found poetry on my cable guide, which range from the anodyne—"Amazing special effects, a good cast and an intriguing script"—to the sinister—"Couple pursues elusive neighborhood where residents never leave.")