Thursday, March 23, 2006

Why I Didn't Write Today

I was moved today by a poem by Nancy Tupper Ling published on the Literary Mama Magazine site a while back (see the link). In it, she explores countless reasons why she didn't write a poem...cream of tomato soup burning, washing hair, one last water call, bills to pay, phoning friends. Another day lost. This, I can relate to myself. I haven't been working like I should. This week, my days rollercoaster right out of control until, by the time I sit down to write it all out, the moon is my only companion and I am bleary-eyed with exhaustion. I haven't been sleeping, even when the children are--plagued by nightmares of loss and my own inadequacy. I think this is what it is to be a mother and to have your reach be just a touch too vast. My hand is so open, everything slips through it like water.

Today, I didn't write because I took two of my children to the library. This time, Rosie was an angel for no reason other than she wanted to be. She and the boy-o assembled puzzle after puzzle on the threadbare carpet while I perched on the bench, reading poetry. I didn't write because I was working on my publishing contacts, getting future magazine reviews organized, researching possibilities. (If you have a book and it wants reviewing, let me know...) I cooked eggs for lunch with the baby, letting her crack them and pluck the shells out on her own. I let her barrel slightly ahead of me, let her be the one to open the door and pour the juice. She's been so happy...I'm wondering why I usually resist this so much. We walked around the chilly neighborhood and she put her feet down. I unbuckled her and let her walk, pushing the empty stroller with her determined fists. This, too, made her laugh and smile up at me like I am some stranger she has been missing.

I didn't write today because I have been reading, watching the light rise and fall, staring outside at the trees. The buds on my magnolia have gone from small brown buttons, to extensions of green, to unopened pink and white lady's slippers. I didn't notice this yesterday...I will probably be too busy and productive again tomorrow to pay attention. I've been sorting old family pictures, watching myself evolve on little scraps of paper entirely devoid of writing. See? It isn't all about the odd, looping tilt of my scrawling across the page. M. is making homemade chicken noodle soup...he's running late and asked me to put the broth on and add the vegetables (already neatly chopped and waiting in a Tupperware bowl in the fridge). I let the kids do it, observing them from the sidelines, wondering if the carrots are always so vibrant and the green beans so rich. Does it always smell this way, warm and Winter all at once? For an observant "writer", I sure have been missing a lot lately.

I didn't write today because I've been busy just being here. Some days, boundaries need to be fixed in place, lines drawn in the sand. Nancy Tupper Ling wants "to dream a poem". I just want to fall into bed and a sound, empty sleep...without even the stars to wake me.


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