I have reached the stage of my blogging career where I am prostituting everything I write on virtual street corners. I say prostituting, except that I am getting paid in comments and page views instead of cash.
I wrote a letter to give my son Rowan, in honor of his adolescent coming of age ceremony Sunday, and he will not allow me to publish it to my blog. That I wanted to publish it–and that he said no–are not, in and of themselves, terribly problematic. What troubles me is that the evil desire to do it anyway is like a crumb in my bed sheets. I itch to publish every single artfully strung together collection of words that I produce. It happened again today, when I emailed a blogger friend, continuing a delightful back and forth which I look forward to the way other people anticipate American Idol. Afterward I thought, when I had sent the email, that there were some good lines in there. And yet I sent them in an email and can't post them on my blog.
Here begins my spiral into serious mental illness. Have you conversed with me in the staff room? If I tossed off a clever line, be sure to look for it later on Faith in Ambiguity. Heart to heart conversations with my kids? Captured on audio to be later transcribed into pieces for Blog Her. Pillow talk? Recorded for posterity. Look for my shopping lists to appear on Twitter. Nothing I write is unworthy of your public consideration.
I have clearly lost all sense of perspective and purpose.
Maybe I'm dreaming of whoring out my day-to-day written communications because I can't seem to write anything else today. I sat down this morning and spent forty-five minutes on a single paragraph. The topic metamorphosed from spiritual transformation to writing advice to reflections on working with teenagers. I deleted more text than I committed. After carefully sculpting one single sentence with the same effort that Pygmalion beget Galatea, I looked at what I had written and realized that it was self-involved twaddle so boring I didn't even want to read it. And so, whooshing down the drain went the carefully safeguarded writing time for which I sacrifice sleep, exercise and worldly accomplishment.
I am, however, making this lost time up now through a means which is the tried and true stand-by of parents whose muse strikes at the wrong time: Parental neglect.
This is O.K. Many parents have pursuits which are important to them, and to their other family members, I tell myself, and these can sometimes cause disruption to the evening routine. Par for the course. One practice many parents seem to have abandoned is the preparation of dinner. This, at least, is the only conclusion I can draw from the following typical description of an afternoon's activities as related to me by mothers made of much stronger stuff:
"In five minutes Little Bobby and Betsy will be home. I have to take Betsy to violin lessons and Bobby to hockey. After that, my husband Jim is going to be home briefly before he heads out with Betsy to soccer practice. Then I promised to bake cookies and bring them to a PTA meeting. So I should go now."
I guess I can't do as much as other people. My feeling is I can hold down a job or I can clean the kitchen. I can either have three children or go to the Post Office. But not both. That is much to much for me. However, I can damn well cook.
Clearly, these people are doing it wrong. They are serving their kids crap. Or sandwiches. Which are pretty much the same thing. What I do, on the other hand, is carefully plan and prepare nutritionally balanced meals with two or three varieties of vegetables apiece. I put these in front of my kids every night and afterwards, we compost them. It's part of the cycle on Nature.
So at least my neglected children, whose right to privacy has been undermined at every turn, will have had the opportunity to look at produce every night. And I can rest easy, knowing I have this parenting gig well in hand.