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.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your honesty. I can relate to your post. Anne Lamott says that when children are born, they take away 1/4 of our brain, and I think she's right. I have two myself, and writing can be a challenge! Keep it up!