How to Write a Book Review with a Baby

By Axie Barclay

  1. AaronGet up early, well before the kiddo gets up, so you have plenty of time to make coffee, eat a banana, stretch. Feel your fingers tingle to hit that keyboard.
  2. Sit down at your desk with your coffee and open a Word document. Check Facebook (you have to wake up slow before you can write, right?) then your email, then NPR (its educational so that’s ok), then all your Google alerts in case there’s something you need to blog about, then set up the right playlist on Spotify, get Coffiivity going in the background for that coffee shop inspirational feel, go get more coffee and some breakfast. Play Candy Crush while eating (you can’t write and eat, that’s madness). Realize you can’t find the book you’re supposed to be reviewing so go in search of it. In between digging through the mounds of unfolded but clean laundry that have taken up permanent residence on the couch, you figure you might as well make a grocery list, clean the toilet, unload the dishwasher, and throw in a load of laundry. Finally locate review book squashed between the recycling and the Ball jars of canned food you put up last week, right next to the dog food bin. Ask yourself when you started keeping the dog food next to the Ball jars. Return to desk, sit back, book in hand and just as you prepare to write the first words of the first sentence of the first paragraph of the most brilliant, sparkling review ever, the baby wakes up.
  3. Curse roundly.
  4. Change, feed, and burp baby and set him up in front of his favorite show. He likes his time alone in the morning after all, so use that to help justify what feels like bad parenting. (And don’t forget, the squirrels found the acorn, they found it over here, after looking everywhere. Ignore the fact that they find it every day.)
  5. We’ll pretend this is a weekend and you don’t have to get ready for work, but instead can either return to your desk or go feed the dog so he doesn’t wither from hunger. Feed the cats, chickens and turn the compost barrels while you’re at it.
  6. If you can tune out the overly happy theme music to whatever show the baby is laughing his ass off at, or screaming at if he decides he disagrees with their count of cars/ sheep/ cows/ widgets, return to desk and try to remember that snappy first sentence of the first paragraph of the most brilliant book review you’ve ever written. Hell, this might be the best book review any one has ever written. This might be the best book review in the world. You could be renowned for this. (Does one have to be “nowned” first? Buffy posed the question and you’re still waiting on the answer, even if it does date your television-watching age.) This could be the review that finally makes you’re writing career. You type three words, stare at them, delete them.
  7. Baby cries that he’s bored and the rising angst indicates that he’s left a present for you in his diaper, and it rhymes with “goop.”
  8. TV time is over, so you ambitiously (and perhaps foolishly) move the laptop into living room so you can interact with the baby and try to write too. Spend the time until naptime (when he used to nap when he was little and cute but now instead recharges his batteries with his head on the floor, butt in the air in an awkward, neck-wrenching downward-facing dog yoga pose for fifteen minutes before returning to wreak havoc on anything bangable with a wooden block) alternatively typing and fending off little hands from clicking on X-Rated pop-ups. How this kid can work the internet already amazes you.
  9. First sentence complete.
  10. First sentence deleted by aforementioned little hands.
  11. A sound amazingly like a grizzly bear growl is coming from somewhere in the house. Oh wait, it’s you.
  12. Smart phone covered in baby spit.
  13. Remove phone from baby and wipe off.
  14. TV remote covered in baby spit.
  15. Remote removed from baby and wiped off.
  16. Baby covered in baby spit.
  17. Roll eyes and wonder how early Hemingway started drinking.
  18. Remember when you thought writing and motherhood went together, with vague ideas of the little one happily sitting next to you playing while you became the next Ken Follett/ Stephen King/ E.L. James/ J.K. Rowling.
  19. Baby crawling toward laptop and slips in own spit.
  20. Sentence vaguely recovered, but seems to lack that pop and shine you remember from before.
  21. Fend off little hands by curling around laptop in a fetal position.
  22. Review book mauled by baby.
  23. Wonder how long you can keep reviewing erotica before the kid is afflicted with long-term damage by the semi-but-tasteful-nudes on the covers.
  24. Time for 8:30 AM banana.
  25. It’s going to be a long day.

Axie_Barclay_100Axie Barclay is a Michigan writer with a cow-habit. Having discovered the joys and potential for growth inalternative agriculture, she quests ever longer and harder for ways to combine farming and writing into a business. When not milking cows, making disgruntled noises at the latest disgusting thing the heeler dogs dredge up, riding horses, or keeping the fence up around her small beef herd, she’s holed up reading an eclectic array of books or tapping out pages. When not working, she enjoys kicking back with her honey, family, and friends at a bonfire with some beers. Chat her up on Twitter and Facebook, /axieb, or where she delves into literature and agriculture with a relish… and occasionally ketchup. Soon to be homemade.