Confession: I need a shot of adrenaline in order to leave town. Other people routinely lower thermostats, lock doors, and depart on schedule, but in the fraternity house we call home, I can’t find the thermostat behind last night’s pizza boxes and we’re lucky if our doors are closed. Nobody organizes so much as a toothbrush without a packing list and the packing list can’t get created until the increasing pressure of a departure date triggers an adrenaline boost.
Warning: dependence on brain chemicals can have unintended consequences. For example, one’s desk must be cleared before leaving town and clearing one’s desk becomes so fun and easy on adrenaline-spiked blood that hours are squandered resolving dust-covered medical claims and writing past due thank you notes while the mail and the newspaper cry out to be stopped.
But: This summer, my energy boost took a detour. Instead of toughing it out in my household office: where work-in-progress goes to hibernate and creative writing takes a backseat to hauling vitamin water, my husband established a window corner of his office just for me: a table, an internet cable, and a chair with a lovely view of the world below. Cool blue walls and busy co-workers encouraged progress. No one there fusses about summer reading, whines for snacks, or obsesses over 4-player screen mayhem.
Behold: in the serene setting of my “corner office” the needs of my novel became clear. Ideas and words packed themselves into efficient paragraphs and problems cleared the revision list. The closer departure date loomed, the more I accomplished. I allowed the adrenaline boost go straight to my writing. How could I worry about thermostats when the motivation of my male antagonist was stark staring clear to me? The only packing list I could generate was the one my protagonist needed to get out of that lake house before it was too late.
Alas: at the very last possible moment I came to my senses and we left town like a moving target. It comes as no surprise that some teenagers packed only flip-flops, t-shirts, and cell phones.