I Gotta Go

When it gets to be after midnight like tonight, and my wife complains that I’m working too late again, I tell her, “Baby, I was born into this – you signed on for the ride, knowing what you were getting yourself into. If my habits haven’t changed over the last fifteen years, they’re not going to now.”

Technically, I am busier than ever these days – admittedly working later every night of the week – but it doesn’t seem any different to me, where I’ve always worked on something late into the night, starting in college, then keeping it going with writing over the years. I guess I forever see myself as the kid in the mail room, who reckons that working harder and later inevitably pays off.

And, it has. Presently, my career has three aspects – my role in the corporate world as a wheelchair product manager; my role in customer service via my consumer-based web site, WheelchairJunkie.com; and, my role as a writer. The fortunate aspect is that all three roles overlap, with all aspects inspiring each other, a balance of sorts that keeps everything fresh and energized. But, the downside is time, where at least a 9-hour day in my literal office is a given, followed by hours at home addressing customer service that never ends, with emails and message board posts that truly never stop, all needing infinite time. Then, there’s the writing, which is creatively easy to come by, but takes time – several hours per night to do it right.

So, with so much going on – not to mention, my daughter, house, and all of the duties that go with everyday living – it’s tough to pack it all into an 18-hour day. But, I do – that is, with an extremely regimented schedule.

Between 7:00am and 10:00pm, it’s go, go, go – as non-stop as possible, a whirlwind of wheelchairs, emails, phone calls, meetings, and more emails, with dinner and family time tucked in during the evening. But, once it hits around 10:00pm, rather than winding down, I’m usually winding up – it’s time to start writing.

By 11:00pm, I’m in my groove, the midst of my “writer’s grift,” as I call it. By midnight, I’m all wound up, on a writer’s roll, with music blaring, words like these flowing onto the page with relative ease. And, this is when my wife shows up on queue. “I don’t have a problem with you staying up so late writing,” my wife says, wearing a Victoria’s Secret nightgown, hair in her face from just getting up from bed. “But, do you have to blare bad music?”

“That’s not bad music – that’s Black Flag,” I say, turning up the volume, banging my head in the air with the 80s’ punk rock version of “Louie Louie.”

She leans down, pulls a plug out of the wall, silencing the music in an instant. “Take up something quiet to do while you’re writing late at night – like chain smoking,” she says, walking back to bed.

“But, it’s ‘Louie Louie’…,” I say, struggling to pick up the plug off of the floor, eager to get back on my writer’s grift.


Author: Mark E. Smith

The literary side of the WheelchairJunkie

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