The challenge is to write a 33-to-333 word response to a prompt using the third definition of the prompt word. This week's prompt is "idle."
lacking worth or basis : vain
occupied or employed: as
a : having no employment : inactive
b : not turned to normal or appropriate use
c : not scheduled to compete
3: a : shiftless, lazy
b : having
no evident lawful means of support
Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop. That was Mam’s favorite, the one she kept right in the front of her over-stuffed mental filing cabinet of Life Lessons where it was handy when needed. I’ve fought Mam’s homilies all my life, and won the battle with most of them. I no longer worry if my underwear is clean enough – should I be hit by a bus, don’t you know – or feel like I’m at death’s door if I miss my daily apple. But idle hands thing? I just can’t seem to silence Mam’s ominous-sounding warning, and it scares the daylights out of me. I guess it must be the Devil’s personal vested interest in any pause my hands may take that makes it so terrifying. I picture him there, hovering, just waiting to swoop in and seize my tarnished soul the minute my hands stop doing, doing, doing. And, oh, the things I’ve done to keep him at bay. I raised children and kept house. I cooked and baked. I gardened. I painted and threw very lop-sided pots. I crocheted and macraméd. And as I grew older and my hands less dexterous, I knitted. And knitted.
I knitted Christmas
and birthday gifts and presented them to my family and friends. I knitted baby blankets and caps, and donated them to hospitals. I knitted scarves and hats, and took them to homeless shelters. And I knitted mittens, endless pairs of mittens. I knitted so many mittens that I can no longer find anyone who will take them. I have the grandest wardrobe of mittens any old lady could want. My hands are gnarled with age now, unable to wield the knitting needles anymore. I know the Devil is just there, a step behind me, preparing to claim his prize. At least my idle hands will be warm while I wait.
It occurs to me that perhaps I should tell you why you're not seeing me around much. No, I haven't fallen into a black hole. Nor have I run away from home, though I have been tempted from time to time.
For the first time, I am attempting NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It's a daunting prospect, but friends have done it, and they survived. I'm taking heart from that.
It's day five of this thirty-day challenge to write 50,000 words before the month is done. I'm already behind. According to the NaNoWriMo gizmo that one uses to keep track of progress, at my current rate, I'll finish on December 6. Not good. But I also know that of the 256,618 participants (worldwide) in 2011, 36,843 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the deadline. So I won't be alone if I don't make it.
Anyway, this is where I am, and why I'm not coming around to visit much. I'm sitting at my computer, plugging away on my great American novel, which is currently called "Untitled." Wish me luck!