|Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons by Claire S.|
I like sunrises, don't you?
Morning is grand because yesterday is over. Now things can start again. The persistence of things from yesterday into the brand new day is surprising. Possibility seems to abound and then there is your life from before, like cold leftovers, coming at you again. Tomorrow, I will return all my comments. Tomorrow, I will write a new post. Tomorrow, I will finish...Yesterday is following me like a bit a toilet paper stuck to my shoe, or like Ariadne's thread, making sure I'll get back to where I was. O, yes there it is!—my context.
Don't worry. That last paragraph doesn't make sense even to me.
I have something I am writing for submission. I have done that only once before. Then, it was a contest. I had to pay twenty-five bucks. If the editors liked my piece, they'd send me comments. If they liked it best, I would get to be princess of Tunisia. No reply was sent. I was reminded of my sons, standing giddy as helium balloons before a mechanical claw.
"If I put in a quarter, I'll get a toy! Mama, pleeeasse?"
"Me too, Mama! Pleeeease?""
I let them do it several times. Some things you have to learn yourself. Some lessons are worth carrying two children out of a mall in tantrum for. This is one: You don't get a toy in a machine for free.
Here is another one: my writing isn't as clever as I think it is. It's not as good. Accolades are not free.
Real writers: they work.
I am trying to do this, but I don't seem to have all that much free time. That's not precisely true. I have, in spades, the kind of time you could use to write one good sentence and then tell your kids gruffly to go away if you wanted to do any more. I'm not complaining. This is my chosen life. I homeschool one child and a half. I do this, in the way I do all things, which is to say: I go overboard. I have lesson plans. I have objectives. I do research. I pile books upon the table and we work. Grammar, literature, mathematics, world history, spelling, typing, vocabulary from Greek and Latin roots. We are deep and thick in all of it. After the "work," there are library books to read, documentaries to watch, debates to undertake.
All this is to say that I have made my life more about mothering than writing. I am fine with that.
In the spaces in between other people's needs, I tend to look at Facebook. It is easily broken off from, but gives me something to do. My writing, on the hand, sucks me in. When I write, I get up at 4:45 am. I sit in silence. If my husband wakes up and starts talking, I've been known to cover my ears, without thinking, before noticing how rude this is. It takes me twenty minutes to produce the first paragraph. That's the hardest one. Then, hopefully, it goes faster. Sometimes, it doesn't. The process is less like bleeding out lyrical inspiration and more like hacking through stone. Hack, smash, cut. I keep dusting up so that I can see what I have done. The longer I write, the longer it takes for me to write. The longer I do this: The more I revise. The more I think. The less likely I am to hit publish. I have studied grammar, learned to diagram sentences, sent copious emails to my writer friend. I have become much more insecure.
The longer I do this, the longer the chances look of catching that animal in my claw. I think it's called perspective. Or depression. Take your pick.
This writing has made me a lousy blogger. I haven't returned enough of your comments. I read every single one. I haven't visited enough of your blogs. Often, I visit and then leave before I can think of anything to say. I'm a lurker. I've used up all my words. I just wake up, write, school my kids, clean up the books, serve lunch, tutor, clean up again, start dinner and collapse on my couch in a pile of frizzy hair and clothes. Some child comes and cuddles me. When a fifteen year-old head perches on my shoulder, I remain still, like there's a butterfly on my hand.
The sun is up. Today I am going to see a circus. I have a migraine. It's beautiful outside. There's other writing to do. It's time to start thinking about buying seeds. Context. My context just keeps chasing me through my days. I am surrounded by all the parts of me that I have already won and only have to keep. There is no suspense as the claw hovers, no disappointment as it pulls back.
Here, I am already a prize that somebody gets to hold.