Those who can't write, edit and design

25 February 2011

Grateful to still be able to work for the Evangelical Alliance Ireland, even from over here.

To write about something...

09 February 2011

I spend a good portion of every day, looking at this rectangular little blogger post space, trying to fill it with words. There's a lot going on in my head right now, probably even more going on in my heart, and I'm having an extraordinarily difficult time trying to get it out, write it down, let it go. I try to think of a word to start with, or a thought to express... and thinking takes exceptionally long, with nothing appearing or no thought allowing expression. Then, just when I think I'm on the verge of something, just when the jumbled words start coming into focus and I think I almost might be able to form a phrase or a sentence - BOOM - a baby wakes up. Or a kettle is whistling. The phone rings, or a child needs to be fed. And the words turn fuzzy again, and disappear.

It's been awhile since my writing has been so plagued by chaos. Eight years ago now, after the boy was born. Overwhelmed was the feeling of the day/week/month, but there was a story brewing... a story that had a good chance of being published. Published not just online, but in print and with a paycheck to boot. I had had other stories published in print before then - college newspaper, internship at missions magazine - but nothing in a magazine of this caliber, nothing this relevant, (so to speak). The ideas were there, the layout, the outline... there was a purpose behind the article and I knew it and felt it and was so excited to get started. I thought my career might be about to take off, and then...

Nothing. Just nothing.

I sat down at the computer with one word: "He". Nothing came after. Only a pronoun. And that pronoun sat alone for hours, then days, then weeks, followed only by a blinking cursor taunting me. I emailed my editor and said, "I can't do it. Nothing is coming out. I'm sorry. I think it's the baby..." And that was it. The end of my short writing career. I never wrote anything else for that particular publication, online or otherwise.

The boy had invaded every part of me. Not in a terribly bad way, but in the way that babies do, and I literally had no room for anything else. My mind was invaded by ideas and words and fears and doubts, and there they stayed. I could not get them out, on paper or with voice. My mind was trapped by thoughts as much as my body was trapped by a growing, hungry baby who wanted - needed - only me.

This era of postpartum depression laster another nine months or so, till the fuzzy thoughts began to clear and my voice was able to articulate bits and pieces, till the joy of motherhood found me and I stood on two feet again. The writing, too, came back in a way, albeit as a minor player and no longer a viable career option. Slowly, patiently, the cursor began to move.

So I guess today, it's easier to write about the past, about what happened before, as opposed to what's happening now. I'm not sure I really know what's happening now. I think I've actually written about it before, here, but this is different. I'm not sure how, but it feels different this time. Or as the girl says, "super, super strange." Until the strangeness passes... I'm not sure when anything of value will appear.

The nature of Motherhood

05 February 2011

I've been thinking a lot about this, the nature of motherhood. I think it started with reading the article and researching "Practice Babies." This idea that an orphaned child - already without the sole protector of a devoted mother - could be raised, scientifically, in a lab called an apartment, by a gaggle of mother-student apprentices. The story stayed in my head for weeks and I struggled with the question of what really defines a mother, a parent, a guardian. And if one could practice, study, be graded on the art of mothering... well, there's a lot to ponder there. Is Motherhood a scientific process? Or is it an art? Is it intrinsic, or can it be learned? Can one be a good mother without mastering motherhood? Or can one master motherhood and fail at mothering? Can one be a good mother... without really knowing what she's doing?

Then the story this week of a mother who murdered her teenage children. A clearly deranged woman, raising her children while her husband is overseas, taking a gun and shooting them in the head. I read this story thinking, "How does this happen? How does a woman give birth, nurture them from babies to toddlers to school-aged to on the cusp of adulthood, and then destroy them?" What on earth happened to that woman? Did the insides of her soul break free from her heart? Is she possessed? What kind of evil burrowed itself into her psyche? I'm just without a single easy answer... the fact that this happens at all in the world, the idea that a mother could kill her own children which she bore out of herself, killing that very part of herself... it leaves me distraught.

When I had my first child, I thought motherhood to be the purest form of love. I think it still is. But I see that somewhere, somehow, it can become perverted by evil, just like anything else.

I think, at the end of these questions and fears, I can only ask, "What can I do, how can I love my children, and fight against this evil?" That's the only question with an answer, anyway.

To write about nothing

02 February 2011

Yep, I've got nothing. Hello writers' block, my old foe.