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Saturday, October 15, 2011

More on periphery, Auburn football, and kids

Tonight was the Auburn-Florida game, which doesn't mean a lot to most people north of the Mason-Dixon. But in the South, SEC football is always the highlight of Saturdays. Sure, it's 60 minutes of boys throwing a pig-skin and hoping for 10 yards at a time. But it brings anticipation, excitement, and a few hours of re-focus from whatever ails you. Although the Auburn-Florida game isn't the same rivalry as the Auburn-Alabama game, there's just something about SEC football that makes each match-up mean something.

Tonight, I babysat my friend's two-year-old so she could enjoy some much needed respite and dinner with her mom. Lars and I sat on the floor and played with play-doh. Attempted to read books. Raced Matchbox cars. All while the Auburn-Florida game played in the background. I would glance up at big plays, rejoice at touchdowns, and half-hear commentators as I engaged a sleepy, grumpy two-year-old and tried to navigate world peace over putting on pajamas. All while the game played on. A game I'd been looking forward to watching in peace all week. A game that suddenly became just a game. Because what was more important was sitting on the floor with this two-year-old that I love and rolling balls out of play-doh.

Sometimes, the things that we look forward to, focus on, and hang our happiness on become periphery. We realize in hindsight that our priorities need shuffling. That having a morning dialog with our child is more important than reading the morning paper. Or doing a puzzle together is more important than cleaning the windows. Or calling a friend to chat is more important than making sure your e-mail inbox is empty. Sometimes, things that are in our crosshairs fall into our periphery for a reason. An involuntary re-index. Because what we assumed was important actually isn't. Yes, I love Auburn football. But I love my friend's son more.

In seeking to publish traditionally, I've focused on trying to get an agent. Wanting to walk into Barnes and Noble and see my book under "S" in Fiction. Hoping to see my book cover on the front page of the New York Times book review. Praying Oprah stumbles on my other books on Amazon.com and says, "I gotta have this woman on OWN."

But its all periphery. As authors, we write because we have to. It's a compulsion we hope someone finds worthy of indulging and spending a few moments to share with us. To allow our words into their minds and hearts and hopefully ignite thought, reconsideration, or a new idea. That somehow our work and what's inside of us that begs to be expressed will evoke a change in even one person.

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