“You’re always grumpy in the morning, Mom”

What to do, what to do?

What do you do when you’re feeling less than inspired?

This morning was my “sleeping-in” morning; naturally Kevin decided he’d get up early and spend about five minutes rustling around in the dark looking for his clothes. I stayed in bed until 7:15 but shouldn’t have bothered. It’s not like it made me happier. Downstairs, AppleApple greeted me with beautifully brushed hair and a packed schoolbag: “You’re always grumpy in the morning, Mom, so I decided to try to have everything ready to go, so you wouldn’t be so grumpy.”

Gee, thanks, kid. A hint: don’t tell your mother she’s grumpy if you’re trying to lift her from her grumpiness.

Truth is, it’s probably more anxiety than grumpiness. Is it the lack of light? General Novemberishness? The sudden onset of Christmas? Whatever it is, this is not my best time of year; never is. As the light recedes, I’m dark with indecision.

**What thoughtful and possibly homemade gifts can I devise to spread cheer and joy this season? Can I find stress-free ways to fulfill our family’s seasonal rituals and traditions and meet everyone’s expectations?
**Should I skip supper and try out that running club tonight? How can I fit a club’s schedule into my own? Maybe that’s why there are no women my age at running club — maybe we’re all at home eating supper with our families and trying to keep a finger on the pulse of each kid’s well-being.
**What the heck book am I writing right now? I keep finding characters and abandoning them: sorry, don’t want to spend the next six years with you.

I’m thinking in massive chunks rather than manageable morsels. I’m thinking an entire book rather than a page or two.

Know what I mean?

As if every tiny individual choice has to fit into a larger whole, has to be a stone in this solid structure I’m building, this thing called Life. And if I go off piling stones in the wrong place, the whole thing is going to be ruined. Hm. Office as metaphor: Remember how the windows were the wrong size? How upset I felt? And how unexpectedly easy they were to change? It took some work, for sure, but it wasn’t impossible or disastrous, and ultimately only cost a day’s labour.

So what to do?

Today, I’ve set myself a small task. I am writing a song for a character in The Juliet Stories. She’d probably write a much better song herself, but that’s okay. My brother Karl has a new recording studio and when the song is ready, I can go and record it, which is pretty cool. It doesn’t add up to anything particular. It doesn’t fit anywhere else. It doesn’t answer a single question. It’s just something I want to do.

It’s just a little pile of stones I’m making in the middle of a field I happen to be passing through.

Just like a rockstar cowboy
The minutiae and me


  1. Deanna McFadden

    Not only can you record it, but then you should talk to your publisher about putting the song in the ebook. Because fancy technology things ALWAYS make me less grumpy.

  2. Susan Fish

    Carrie – You’re the third person I know (including me) who is in a late November funk. For what that’s worth. And the song idea is lovely.

  3. Tricia Orchard

    I often feel down in November. I think it is party to do with dreary and colder weather and also the birthdays of my deceased mom and uncle. I have been weepy a lot this month and not sure why. Then the first birthday creeps up and I remember why.

    There are 2 other birthdays this month of living people (thank goodness)! Those ones lift me out of the sadness.

    Why don’t you try the running club tonight, just to see what it is like. Maybe it will give you the lift you need! Plus, I want to hear about you kicking some butt running! 🙂

  4. m

    Oh yes. YES. (In answer to your question, “Know what I mean?”)

    No answers here. Just November doldrums/panic. Overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time.

  5. Carrie Snyder

    “Overwhelmed and underwhelmed: … eeee-zactly!

  6. Heidi

    Oh, yes. The little pile of stones. Today I am not even managing a pile; it’s like one stone dropped all by itself and then another one a few feet away and I can’t even manage to get them one on top of the other.

    Thank you. It’s so lovely and inspiring to read your words.

  7. Carrie Snyder

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I wonder how your todays are going. It’s sunnier where I am. That’s something.


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