Harnessing Monkey Mind


It’s 6:00 pm as I write this, and I’m falling into an over-satiated coma from leftover Chinese food. The veggie chow fun and orange chicken have commingled in my stomach to create a kind of greasy, garlicky mass. After a day of scheduling and meetings at the school where I’m a language arts specialist, my mind is in the midst of a tornado, a deep throbbing at my temples.

But I’m determined that this will be my year to take my writing as seriously as my teaching. So, Chinese food coma or not, here I sit at my desk ready to write. The monkey statue my mom gave me guides my attention tonight. He’s so happily meditative on what appears to be a book of wisdom, reminding me to turn the distraction of what Natalie Goldberg calls “monkey mind” back around to focus on my work.

Calling to me at the moment are two projects. First, I need to finish editing a novel I wrote about a reading comprehension teacher who has just discovered that life isn’t nearly as comprehensible as he’d hoped. But, at the same time, another project begs for my attention like a puppy, panting and wiggling around with all its playful charm. This novel, tentatively titled Spoiler Alert, tells the tale of a man who begins to hallucinate diabolical visions after watching the sneak preview of a movie, only to find out a year later that the film is being released nationwide and he’ll have to warn people about its mind-altering effects.

Just the prospect of a new project, after nearly nine months of deep focus on the first book, has me excited. But that new pet will just have to wait a bit longer.


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