The loneliness of a writer

For the past six days, my wife Catherine and our two kids, Casey and Emmett, have been in South Carolina on a vacation with her side of the family. I, meanwhile, stayed home to work on the nightmarish project that is my upcoming Roger Clemens biography.

To be honest, there was a large part of me that was excited for this week. The opportunity for nonstop work; to be able to really dig into the project without dirty diapers or baths or screaming or bedtime stories—well, I thought I needed it. I mean, let’s be honest. I know very few parents who, from time to time, don’t think, “Boy, it’d be nice to be alone again. No schedule. No obligations. No headaches. No heartache. Just me, the TV and a few nights out on the town.”

But now, as I sit here alone for yet another day of Clemens research, I am extremely lonely.

I miss my wife. I miss my kids. I miss aimless banter and funny moments. I miss having my kids splash each other in the bathtub, and Casey, who’s 5, giving Emmett, 2, a mild elbow shiver in an effort to move him aside. I miss my daughter saying, “Hmm … should I have a story or a song? What’s the better option?” I miss my son spotting our dog Norma and bellowing, “Nor-mah! Nor-mah!” It’s easy to find the repetitiveness of fatherhood irksome from time to time, and yet, I’ve discovered, that repetitiveness may well be my lifeblood. I’ve even walked into my kids’ empty rooms a couple of times, sort of hoping they might be there. Alas, they never are.

I’ve only got until Saturday, but it’s been a long, dry week. It’s also the greatest Catch 22 in the history of humanity: We—I—desperately want time to slow down; to not pass quite so fast. Yet it only seems to slow down when you’re fuckin’ miserable. My wife tells me this all the time, and she’s right. I’d rather have fun and fly.

One more thing. For anyone who might think writing a book is exciting, well, much of it is. But it’s also an arduous grind; the literary equivalent of carrying 500 bricks atop your back. Roger Clemens, for example, pitched in the majors from 1984 through 2007. That’s 24 years to chronicle, day by day by day by day. It’s hard and long and lonely. And while, compared to many, I have no right to complain—well, this is my blog. So I’ll complain.

I’m worn out.