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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Language or the Kiss

There’s a song by the Indigo Girls I loved when I was a teen, with a line, “Unforgiving, the choice still is, the language or the kiss.” I interpreted the words to mean that in life, we have to sacrifice one thing to have something else. Hm.

Here I find myself, a new mother. True to the cliché, I live a sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, frazzled existence. I’m lucky if I get myself and Daniel dressed and fed each day. So how—oh how—can I find time to write? Yes, I’m writing blog posts. And no, I don’t discount that. But what about the fiction? What about my first novel, sitting in my computer, waiting to be sold? What about my second novel, haunting my dreams, begging to be engendered? It feels like I’ve abandoned my first two children, for the third, human one.

Did someone say wave?
Okay, the desertion is temporary, but I miss them. I long for that work, and the time with which to do it. And yet, in the past few months, any time I try to reengage with the novels, life starts to feel unmanageable. With the teeny amount of time I have for writing, diving into a fictional world, or trying to sell my book just seem impossible.

My dad suggested that perhaps I’m trying to do too much. Moi? But of course he’s right. Why is it so hard to accept that my current reality involves very little sleep and a consuming little creature? Can’t I try to trust that the novels will still be there when I can get back to them? And that I’ll be okay if I have to stay away a little longer?

Perhaps if I analogize acceptance to surfing it will sink in: I can battle the ocean or I can ride the wave. For now, mothering Daniel takes most of my energy. If I can enjoy that ride, then maybe I can paddle back out calmly, in-between sets, and catch the fiction wave when it arrives.


  1. love the surfing analogy. I've come to beleive there are many phases to writing and they don't all involve putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard)
    Maybe the "writing" you're doing right now is storing up stories

  2. Carol is right... this is your time for gathering material. Your post reminded me of my own guilt about not spending more time writing seriously, not exercising as much as I should, not making progress on dozens of other things I want to do. I can relate to the fatigue excuse.

    Raising a baby in his first years of life is so tiring, but these joyous moments with Daniel as an infant will end quickly. When you find the fiction wave, I know you will find a way to capture those feelings in your writing.

  3. "To everything turn, turn, turn...there is a season turn, turn, turn...and a time for every purpose under heaven..." Byrds and Indigo Girls. Same message through the generations. I also offer Wallace Stevens:
    "I wake to sleep and take my waking slow...I learn by going where I need to go..."

    I have learned that a little anxiety is a good thing, as a reminder that there are important things I still need to do. But every moment with your son is precious, and one day you may bemoan the fact that you don't see enough of him. So, enjoy!

  4. Thank you all for the encouragement. It brought tears to my eyes. I try my best to appreciate what I have at the moment - which is precious time with Daniel - but it's good to be reminded that writing is more than just putting thoughts on paper, and that there is a season for everything.