Posted by GIRL'S GONE CHILD | Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I'm going to have to take things down a notch. Brace yourselves. I'm going to get serious and angsty and probably cry and scream and kick and remove my glasses to clean them five times and drink a beer and pour the beer in the sink in exchange for wine. I will likely smoke a cigarette or four and tear at my face and writhe. Sometimes I writhe.
The problem is that it's very hard to blog when there is little to say, when one's heart is full of bubbles and brain is full of burps. It's difficult to find the words when every day they seem farther away. When hope leads to waiting and waiting to more waiting and finally news. Bad news. Good news. More waiting. Waiting and trying not to wait.
If I were to describe myself to a stranger I would use this image: Three computers going at once and a baby in my lap. Three computers going at once and a teething, "I want to go outside, mama" baby in my lap.
How can I do it all? What if there are days I can't go outside. Days when I have a deadline and the children need me and the house is a mess and the dogs have fleas and there are friends in need and the phone keeps ringing and there are blogs to post so my readers don't disappear, so I don't become obsolete again, sucked into motherhood and responsibility and writing for a paycheck instead of a dream.
I started a new novel as soon as I finished my last. "How's it going?" Very slowly. When there is time and there is never time except of course 3am when I am sleeping and the world isn't quiet and my dreams return to remind me to keep going. Never give up. Even after three rejection letters there is hope. There has to be.
Advice to friends. Advice to fellow mothers in the same boat. "How do you do it all?" Crack a joke. Make it seem easy. Make everything seem easy. Make life seem easy and parenthood and marriage and freelancing for pennies, writing a novel and smiling after a rejection, keeping the faith after two, reminding oneself that four years of work counted for a lot, counted for everything. Make the bed. Make it nice. Make the people laugh when you sit down to write and if you can't make them laugh make them cry. Make them want to hug you or hold you or punch you in the face. Make them want to kill you or fuck you or be your friend. Make them change. Make them happy. Make the baby smile. Make him laugh. Make him dinner. Make him proud.
Hold the phone, someone is on the other line. She says its important. People are dying. Children. Friends. Press mute because there is nothing you can say. Press off because you're running out of minutes. Running out of time. Soon he'll be grown up and you'll regret the time you spent pushing him away for one more paragraph in the manuscript no one will ever read. Put down the book, the computer, the ideas. Remember who you are now. Wait. Remember who you were. Wait. Remember what's important. Make a list. Ten things, no twenty. Twenty thousand things you want to do before you die but what if tomorrow never comes? No one will remember. No one will know. No one will laugh or cry or make the bed. No one will have a clue which songs to sing to the baby. No one will be there for the children. No one will finish the first draft of the novel. No one will publish the one that's been finished for months. No one will remember the thought you had last night, that great idea you forgot to write down.
Who am I to feel overwhelmed when Atlas is out there, floating in space with the weight of the world on his shoulders? His legs crooked and veiny like branches, his feet sinking deeper into nothing. What am I doing with pencils in my ears and ideas in my head and pacifiers in my shoes? There is throw-up in my hair and perfume. How can I be everything? How is it possible? Does anyone know? You? Do you?
I'm making lists. One by one I'm checking stuff off, but on no list is there a reminder to slow down. Calm down. Put the computer away and the red pen and the broom and the dog leashes and the phone and get thee to a Nunnery or at the very least outside.
Thus far the mighty mystery of motherhood is this: How is it that doing it all feels like nothing is ever getting done.
I'm hoping the answers will come with time, or at least a little scotch. Or air. Or something.