For a long time I felt like blogging was at least keeping me connected to writing; if even just for those few hours a week, those few thousand words I was keeping my creative spirit alive through weekly blogging. But I’ve come to realize that it’s more of a writing placebo.
I feel like I’m getting the good writing energy (or at least I should be) when I sit down at start tapping on the keys. When I carve out that small amount of time in between changing diapers, pumping breast milk, trying to teach my daughter to clean up after herself without gritting my teeth, paying bills, putting people to sleep and down for naps, when I find that small nook of time, always sacrificing something else for it like sleep, time with friends or a tidy house, I feel like I am in fact writing. But am I?
What I’m really doing is writing about writing; writing about the process of writing, of trying to publish, writing (like tonight) about how much I want to be writing. Blogging has become for me like a Christmas card; like a weekly update of what I’m doing, what my life has been these past days since last we talked—maybe all blogging is like that. And like a Christmas card, I often wonder: does anyone really want to read this?
Christmas cards are informative and sometimes clever and artfully crafted but their purpose is by and large utilitarian. And writing, real writing is not meant to be utilitarian. It’s meant to be a journey; a journey the reader takes; a journey the author takes. If writing is done properly, the author doesn’t know where a newly conceived story will take her any more than the characters do.
When I started writing my novel some six to nine months ago (sixty-nine months?! No, six to nine months—parents will get this, non-parents should go out and rent Madagascar and Madagascar II post haste because the penguins and Sacha Baron Cohen as the lemur king will bring you ridiculous amounts of joy) I was exhilarated to work on it. Now, 150 pages and almost a year later, I am still totally exhilarated when I sit down and read the words I have written, enjoy the framework of the journey which still hangs in the balance. I want to find out what’s going to happen next in a way I have only experienced upon buying the new installment of Harry Potter. I want to spend time with this novel, with these characters. I want to get to know them and find out what they’re going to do. But I am kept from writing.
It’s okay, really, because life is so full right now and overall, it’s full of truly wonderful, wonderfulness. Even now as I sit in the evening, typing these words, my two-week-old is strapped to my chest in a stretchy sling and her soft head presses gently against my chin, sweet fleshy smell filling my nose, making little grunty infant sleep noises that they stop doing...I can’t remember when but Twila doesn’t do them anymore and I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to miss this, this wonderful infant time. And I don’t want to miss Twila’s sometimes wonderful young girl time either. I’ve chosen to be a mother now and I don’t want to miss any of it.
But I do want to write. Like an older child pushed out of the way by the new twins, I miss my writing.
I know there will come a day much sooner than I can believe that my daughters will be too busy for me. I will want to spend time with them like they now want me to spend time with me but they will say that they have plans and are busy with school. So I won’t be too busy for them now, even if it means that I allow life, motherhood, to keep me from writing.
Life is long and I am young and there is time for all of this. Who knows the things we will look back on and regret. I could wish I spent more time writing, I could wish I spent more time with my daughters. In the end I guess I would rather regret missing an opportunity in writing than realize I missed any part of my daughter’s youth—these joys and struggle are fleeting and cannot be retrieved. I won’t give up on writing—I can’t. I need it. I need my umbilical cord to life-giving enthusiasm. So I will continue to seek balance between my daughters’ needs and my own.