when i was in university i would wander through new and used bookstores. they filled me with awe, and hopelessness. i would trail my eyes across the spines of books lining shelves; books stacked on floors, books propped in windows. there were so fucking many. so fucking many. how could i add to that i wondered? should i even try?
before having children i spent lots of time reading novels. i liked to line my own shelves with them. i would make satisfying piles by my bed. they were both comforting and distressing. at university i studied english with a capital E. i read so much. and wrote about what i read. but what i really wanted was to write a novel myself.
so before having children i braved the beginning of a novel. i didn’t even know then that i would have children. i spent years writing and researching. i spent hours avoiding writing (maybe more like months!). hours reading my own words aloud. i spent days and days and days struggling and muscleing with words. and then i stopped. i got pregnant and stopped. i piled the pages in boxes with lids. i slid the boxes onto my shelf. for years my words rested beside the words of my favorite authors. somehow that was enough. i made it be.
i will be forty in may. most of the books i read these days are about horses; i read them aloud at night to my children. i am fueling their fire, i know, but i don’t mind. i am rather drawn to horses myself. sometimes, just sometimes, i read just for me. and when i do i am still equally overwhelmed and inspired.
i took the two small boxes filled with the beginnings of my manuscript and hid them under my desk. they have been there for over a year now. i don’t usually open them. and only a few people have peeked inside. i am not sure what will happen with this story. for now i am not ready to begin it again. maybe it is not ready for me. i am not sure.
but something fresh is beginning.
i have been holding this dream and this fear of story writing for over 20 years. i am choosing to breathe both into this dream and into the fear. i have opened a new word document; and i am beginning again.
i haven’t written a blog post since november. since my trip to the ocean. since the winter took me into hibernation. it is now nearing the end of march. things are just hinting at thaw. the feelings i often have in bookstores, the worry that there are too many stories and not enough room for me, explode when i go online. there are so fucking many blogs, and articles, and videos, and facebook posts. so much sharing. so many wonderful things. and so much nonsense. sometimes in the midst of all these words i want to hide away. sometimes i want everyone to simply shut the fuck up.
i suppose this is the balance i seek. times of quiet. and times of sharing. the stories i tell myself and the stories i tell you. maybe there are never enough stories? maybe there is room for them all?
and surely i need to spend more time with my new word document then on facebook!!!!
13 thoughts on “all these days without you”
Hey love- beautiful that you are writing. I recommend a program called Scrivener- you can download it online. Makes writing easy and fun and more manageable than word. Heck it out :-). And when should we Skype?? Love you!!
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thanks love. i’ll check it out. and skype sometime next week?
I know of what you speak. I wrote a novel in 2007 and have handed some copies around, shelved it – dragged it out, re-edited it. Its given me angst and joy – so I birthed another one. Put way to many expectations on it – wanted it to be a great piece of literature. The result was that it needed to be edited down by a hundred pages or so 😉
I know there is so much fucking stuff out there – so much is terrible, some mediocre, so little is really good. It took me time to realize I’m lost somewhere in the mediocre middle – and for the right reader (i.e. mother) – it might even be good – which is WAY better than being with the vast amount of terrible stuff.
Got better at knowing what part of writing I’m good at – the storytelling – not writing or editing – so I hired a good proofreader to at least clean things up. I’m glad I didn’t spend too much time making the first novel perfect, I would have not writing the second novel, its hard to really improve a story after its written, except by editing things out and cleaning up sentences – and that task seems endless to me.
I’m not going to be able to give up my day job – what day job? – I’m both caregiving and entrepreneuring. So the best I can do is keep some scheduled time each week for advancing my writing and poetry – maybe there’s a great novel that can find its voice through me, before the little myriad of connections give way to silence. At least the hope of it keeps my imagination alive.
Thanks for sharing your smithied (alternatives are smutty or smoothied) soul onto the page. There’s always room for a good story!
thank you for all your sharing. i definitely had to look up smithied!!!!! i like it.
i have been thinking about what you said here. and i wonder if maybe it is perfect to write perfectly imperfect. you know. like isn’t it just fine to write something good. or just good enough. good enough for our mothers to love. why not? why do we need to sell millions of copies? or write a masterpiece (mistresspiece?)? and what if it isn’t “good”? what if we still want to write it? feel so utterly compelled too. i think shaping our stories give us such great meaning. and maybe that is enough. what do you think?
Yay!! I am so excited you will be writing! And there is room for all those stories. Especially room for yours!! This writer has such encouraging words for writers and neat resources as well. http://www.sarahselecky.com/ My sister took a writing class with her and found the class amazing.
thank you for your support and encouragement. i might need to knock on your door for more of this in the years to come!!!!!
I used to journal daily. Sometimes 10 times a day. I got pregnant with my son in 2009 and he was born in 2010. I think I wrote in my journal 4 times during my pregnancy with him. I do not know if it was motherhood that sucked my written words out of me or if it was the blur of happiness. I keep promising myself I will start again. I have so many memories I want to write down before they fade. My girl was born in 2012. She has erased moments of my memory I think with each nursing. But also they both have created so many different moments. I look forward to reading more of your post.
I also sometimes want everyone to just shut the fuck up.
motherhood is a wild thing. i remember when i was pregnant with my first daughter i just wanted to be pregnant. i really didn’t want to do much but enjoy pregnancy. and then wow…life just offered me (and sometimes slammed me) with intensity. intense loving. intense sadness. and i have found it hard to carve out the time for writing. sometimes the food making and the tidying and all our day to day living fills up the time. but i am hopeful. and i believe that you will find some time to write in your journals again. and the memories that you wanted to capture will just flood back to you! good luck!
I also came across your blog because of documenting delight:)
I came across your blog because of documenting delight and I must say, as a writer, you gave me goosebumps. I want to be an author my whole life and I know your thoughts. And yes, there is place for all of us. We’re taught so early that we have to be the best to succeed, but actually, we just have to be good and go on. I wish you patience and had that crazy thought: why not write for your children and read it to them? They would be something like the super driving force… and it gives so much more to write for both, oneself and others. Motivate yourself, I believe in you! Greetings, Hannah Klara Chloe
oh hannah! thank you. when i saw that we could share our blogs on documenting delight i was so excited. but last night i fell asleep with my kids instead of coming back down to the computer. so i shared this morning! what wonderful words you share. and what a fabulous idea to write for them. thank you for taking the time to comment! much writing to you!
I was wondering what happened to your novel. Surely you’ll finish it? I can’t wait to read it.
for now i have a new project that is being terribly neglected. novel writing and solo child rearing is a difficult mix for me!