jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Monday, November 12, 2007

NaBloPoMo, Day 12--Some Reflection

I was going to bag posting tonight. It's been a busy few days with my parents visiting and I am out of the poem-ing habit. I was thinking this evening, while taking my son on a bike ride--well, he was riding, I was strolling through the leaves on my own two feet--that a poet really needs solitude.

I was thinking of some great lines as I followed my son. We saw literally hundreds of birds, starlings or grackles, with a few crows thrown in for good measure. They just kept coming and coming. It was as close to solitude as i've gotten in the past few days. Walking alone while my son zoomed around an empty school parking lot. He was happy. I was happy. My daughter was happy playing back at the house with my mother. Bliss for all.

But I didn't have a pen. I am out of the writing habit. And so soon. For me, I have to sort of give up the writer life when we have company. i can't go off and write, or go off and just think when my family is around. I have the writer me and the daughter me. Thus, I wonder, how do the other poets go about it? For surely Naomi Shihab Nye and Julia Alvarez have family. Mary Oliver must entertain. Do these women, daughters all, mothers most, continue their daily writing practice when family is around?

I write when I am visiting my parents. Granted, it is much easier to be inspired whn I am at the lake in the Adirondacks. Still, one of my goals as a poet is to write down the stories of my life, as well as to capture the universal of family and parent and child. And here I am in the thick of it, and no writing. Hopefully it will stick with me.

It is also possible that my quiet nights spent on thelaptop in my room are hindered because my son is sleeping on the floor in here. Tonight I braved turning on a little light and a little quiet key-tapping.

How do the rest of you do it, fellow writers with extended family? Even nuclear, day-to-day family. It is not easy to be a writer among the people. Even though among the people is exactly where you need to be to be a good writer. No great writer, poet or otherwise, can write in pure solitude.



Blogger polka dot witch said...

it's great to hear your voice. and i'm glad you had some time with your family, writing or not.

i am lucky that i don't need solitude to write. somehow i have become so practiced at tuning out the world.

that's the good news and the bad. i do feel guilty when i'm on the computer and the kids are around. but for me, since i don't leave the house for a job, i can use the excuse that i have to do "work" at home. i tell myself, they don't hang on daddy's legs when he's at his office. it's still hard.

but b/c of the tuning out thing (probably a defense mechanism of some sort -- hello, therapist? it's me, carolee) i am able to work in utter chaos.

when i have guests at my house, though, i don't leave them to write. i suppose some people would get up before company gets up but kids usually get up before everyone. my family goes to bed pretty early. everyone but me. so that's time i can use even when i have company.

more than any of this, i believe you're being to hard on yourself. in all of those famous poets' lives, i'm sure there were days when they didn't write. i just think that over the course of their lives, there have been "enough" days that they have been able to write.

goldilocks, look for your own personal "just right" amount of writing time.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Mariacristina said...

I write my roughdrafts in a journal I carry around with me. Kind of like Harriet the Spy.

But when my children were younger, I had given up even the hope of writing for myself, and only kept a journal where I recorded our everyday lives. At least I did that, although it wasn't nearly enough.

When my mother-in-law stays, I still write. I excuse myself, and go to my room. She doesn't mind. She reads and watches old movies. I think it's okay for you do do what you need to do, even when guests arrive.

I admire all that you do - teacher, mother, artist, writer. Maybe when visitors come you simply need a break from everything else.

Maybe guest time could be American Sentence time. A place to record fleeting thoughts and images.

6:57 PM  

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