Monday, July 13, 2009

in their head, in my head

My kids like to weave fantastic tales. Yesterday they spent an hour together writing stories. (Ooky is all about the words, Iggy wants to get it into book format, copy it on mom's copy machine, and sell it in a store.)They make me laugh.

They have the freedom to open their mouth and let their stories fall out. All day, if they want to. Weaving the story is just part of what they do. Like breathing.

Gee. I wonder where they get that from.

I came across an old notebook the other day. One of the pages held a list titled “books I will write when the kids are in school”. I smiled when I read that – how nice of my 27 year old self to create a list that my 30 year old self could pick up and take off with. All those ideas, right there. Many I’d forgotten about, and I salivated at the thought of previously fleshed out characters and renewed story lines.You know, the ones I had saved for when I had more time.

Then I smiled again, but a different smile. Kind of half cocked and devious. Kind of a who-woulda-thunk-it sort of grin. Because the last half of that list was, after all, “when the kids are in school.”

They aren’t in school. I don’t know if they ever will be in school. And I’m unbelievably happy about that, thank you very much.

But. What about that list? What about those billion tiny ideas? What about the new half fleshed out people screaming to get out of my head?

This peaceful parenting thing, I’d love to get there. But I fuck it up so badly. I need to be present with my kids. I need to be in the moment. But my head is so fogged up with stringy messes of words that need to be puked out, I can’t see straight.

Take the day for yourself, my husband says. Take your laptop. Spit everything out onto the screen. He’s known me ten years. He knows it works better if I can get it out.

I wish it worked that way. But seriously, the time the words come the fastest is when I. Can’t. Write. Them. Down. We’re in the middle of bocce ball. Hiking in the woods. An explanation of what implosion is.

The kids fall into bed, and I’m ready to spit it all out…but the strings unravel and fall apart and the more I try to reach for them, the breathier they get until they’re hardly a whisper and then they’re silent. And I’m angry. Angry because they are gone. Angry because I can pinpoint the exact moment they will return. When the first plop of soft feet hit the floor from the bunk bed upstairs.

And then….Words. Explosions of phrases.. A million ideas until my brain is fat and fogged up with beautiful messes. Beautiful and yet so very inconvenient.

I need to make peace with this. I am supposed to write. It’s as obvious to me as breathing. But so is being Mom. They don’t need to wage bloody battles against each other.

Do they?


Ruralmama said...

I've recently started editing and proofreading my mother-in law's dissertation and that's satisfying the same demon in my head. It's also worth money!

But I feel you, it's so hard to have that need and feel like it's impossible to accomplish while accomplishing homeschooling, parenting, housekeeping, and all the other myriad things that you have to do in a day.

I hear ya girlfriend!

s t a c y said...

I have the same conflict... finding ways to fulfill myself so I can be more there for my kids, but in reality I have very little time away from them.

I sometimes think that things will change as they get older... that they will be more independent during the day... that there will be times when we're all working on our own things (together alone)... but who knows what it will be like around in five years?

In the meantime, I try to fit whatever I can in to my days, and accept that my writing pace is glacial, at least for now.

Green Mamma said...

I'm just going to state the obvious. You are writing! Perhaps it is not the content you having tumbling off of your mind while hiking in the woods, but nonetheless, it is content, and damn good content too. You always make me laugh or make me realize new things when I stop over. Your voice, the cadence, the "characters," are all rich and interesting.

Why not put together something based on your entries here?

That said, I hear you. I love taking photographs and writing too and I joke with friends that as much as I'd want to pursue these "professionally" when would I find the time? When my kids are sleeping . . . Right now, my kid(s) are my priority and for a long time will be and I also realize that many of our friends are not in a position (that our family is) to not have to "work" and to "be there" for their children/families.

Still, I think you are getting at something and that something is what your husband is pointing out to you . . . you need "you" time to devote to the writing. So, why not try that and get over the writer's block? Just stare at the screen for a bit and see what happens. Good luck!

Love 2B Homeschoolers said...

Hang in there. In no time your unschoolers will actually be ignoring you much of the day and you will find yourself with time on your hands.

And then, if you're like me, you will trade mourning the loss of time to pursue your creative outlet, to mourning the loss of time that your children actually need your assistance with their own endeavors.

Stephanie said...


I've barely written two words in six months.

I'm not chasing it, however. Not today.

I figure when it's time to spiral into, down, and throughout, I will.

Until then,....