Both my sons are out of the house, mostly, so now the “art” of practice isn’t about finding time to write between the particulars of parenting. Now the art of practice is making sense of the unfolding of the writer-self I carried beside, beneath, above and below my parenting-mothering-self. This is an interesting unfolding; to carry the metaphor perhaps too far, I thought the unfolding would look like a beautiful blanket of time and I would just wallow in its soft warmth and write.
Bwahahahaha says the goddess. How about I gift you with an inability to see your way through to fixing your marriage because you think he’s unreasonable, and then, once you’ve settled into a new rhythm of amicable separation and relatively happy singledomness, put a new person on your path, who reveals to you the extremely uncomfortable truth that you were fifty-percent the unreasonable reason the marriage wasn’t fixable? Howzabout you let someone’s offhand comment (“the reason marriages fail is people don’t know how to compromise”) tie you up in knots rather than forgiving yourself for your flaws and failures? Howzabout your Dad dies and executing his estate takes up most of your days for the better part of a year and your writing grinds to a halt? Howzabout the universe doesn’t have any paying work for you (the goddess is nearly peeing her pants with laughter here: you opted to stay home to raise kids so obviously you’re unqualified to answer the phones, or file papers)? Howzabout your younger son needs major surgery and then there’s a pandemic?
Howzabout everyone’s heart is broken and everyone is suffering and art has no point and you’re gonna die soon anyway and obviously if you were serious about being a writer you would have a body of work already published, so why bother? Bwahahahaha!
Bwahahahaha indeed. It’s the best and perhaps only option. This week I’m laughing at my attachment to my run streak … on my meditation app. I’m laughing at how the mice are coopting my fabulous blown-in insulation to build their nests in my shed, leaving their little turds EVERYWHERE. I’m laughing at how my attempt at going green by line-drying my clothes results in clothes smelling like mildew, resulting in my re-washing those clothes in bleach and hot water, thereby canceling out the energy saved by line drying. I’m laughing at how my existential despair about climate change is offset by my blatant joy at basking in the sun in November. I’m laughing at the words that came out of my mouth when a pal asked why I wasn’t blogging:
“I’m afraid I might offend someone,” I said.
She looked at me quizzically. “So?”
BwahahaHA!, says the goddess: you’ve forgotten the most basic rule for practicing any creative act at any time. Show up. Do it anyway.
May it be so.
Despite forgetting how to bwahahaha, my story “A Mother’s Modulated Reckoning” appeared in the terrific new online publication, Leon Literary Review earlier this year. Onward!