sometimes i just need to vomit on the page, you know? no editing. No Cleverness. Just pure "brain dump," as a friend calls it. I felt so creatively constipated with this blog that I decided to to try for quantity rather than quality. I'm not saying everything i've written in the last two weeks has been utter crap, but I feel like my writing has helmet hair now. Every little post scheduled in a particular place. Very organized and timely - like too-perfect hair with too much hair spray.
Sometimes you just gotta muss up the hair a little. Walk out the door with bedhead and said "Yeah, I'm an imperfect bbithch, so? Speak with confidence and spinach in my teeth. Sometimes I just want to rip my heart from my chest and lay it on the table, severed aorta, pulsing ventricles oozing shiny blues and reds . . . and just say "see? there are some good things in here! Yeah, there are a few inexplicable black spots, but for the most part it's good!"
I don't know if I come across this way but my blog fee ls like this. li ke entire ch unks are missing from my story.
And so they are. I can't possibly write about those chunks without alienating the people I love, and besides I'm not really interested in hanging my entire load of dirty laundry for everyone to see. maybe a sock or two . . . but why write a blog that only promises to expose and embarrass, but fails to provide the catharsis I thought it might? The only release I can hope for will come from confronting the very issues in my life that I'd be writing about. This blog is my side project. Life is where the stories happen.
I read an essay by Richard Bausch called "How to Write in 700 Easy Lessons." He talks about how writing manuals aren't all they're cracked up to be, and can actually hinder your writing if you haven't read enough literature from which to draw language, context, rules and voice. Made me want to go pick up Moby Dick and Les Miserable and get to work. I'll add it to Storm of Swords, How to Potty Train Your Child in One Day (a masterfully deceptive title), and Now Write!: Nonfiction, all of which I'm currently reading. Yes, Now Write! is a writer's manual, and yes I'm aware of the irony. I've never bought a "writing book" for anything other than school. this one had lots of fun prompts I thought I would try for some inspiration. Little did I know how very raw and personal those essays would turn out to be, and I'm nervous to share them in a public forum, with people I know. MAN I need a nom de plume. Still, they're good exercise, and in the meantime I'll read Wuthering Heights, Crime and Punishment and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in between sessions of sketching circles, photographing potato chips and morningly recording my dreams as quickly as I can before my bladder bursts.
Why do I feel the need to do all of this? Put myself through this 'self-taught college' to keep my brain working? Why the frantic scramble to become a better writer, better reader, better artist? What am I compensating for? And what kind of mother am I being while I'm so caught up in my brainiac pursuits? One who always has a book in her hand or a computer in her lap. One whose daughter has to scream and physically grab my face to get me to make eye contact with her and see that she's been sitting in a poopy diaper for the last 15 minutes. One who can't "just" be a mom. I can't "just" take her on a walk and pick dandelions on the side of the road and sing "Mr. Sun" on repeat. Have to listen to new music on the iPod so I'm cultured and caught up in the music world. Can't "just" pull out the kiddy pool and stick my feet in, she my little blue-lipped water lover with my undivided attention. Have to be reading. Can't "just" turn on the Wee Sing and Raffi and dance with her. Have to check email while she giggles and spins. Can't "just" take a nap with her so I'm rested enough to face an afternoon in the sunshine. Have to write write write, and drink as much coffee as it takes so I'm exhausted by the time she wakes up.
I feel like I'm not cut out for the life I'm seeking. Why can't I just put down the pen and live? When did I become such a self-proclaimed scholar and multi-tasker? When did motherhood take the back step in my life? When did I become so horribly self-centered?
Don't answer that.
balance. it's all about the balance, isn't it? aaaaaalways comes back to moderation and temperance. perseverance and patience. you'll get your time, Suzie. don't cut into Hannah's out of fear that you won't. her time is now. yours is when the sun goes down, and she is far off in dreamland with the choo choos and the bock bocks and the cows and the pigs... that's when you're allowed to feel as distracted and distant as your mind needs to be in order to heal. withdraw and lick your wounds when she's asleep. escape to your worlds in the dark of the night, and leave the sunshine for her. balance. because I'm not going to give up on this blog. I'm not going to give up writing. I like it too much, and my world needs more things that I like. don't listen to the people who tell you it's a waste of time. Don't listen to the people who say you're self-indulgent, over-dramatic, immature, entitled. . . or do, but don't let their narrowly constructed opinions stop you in your tracks. they don't have to read your writing. they don't have to try to understand you if they don't want to. and if they do, they'll see that you bleed. they'll see that your heart beats, and forgive the black spots. They'll feel you breathe and know that whatever else you may be - obnoxious, bratty, spoiled, pretentious . . . that you are real, and that you aren't necessarily trying to make your mark on the world, but to allow the world to make its mark on you. And if they can't see that, screw them.