Doing It.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Today's writing exercise is inspired by the chapter titled "Writing as Practice" in Writing Down the Bones.    To do this exercise yourself, set a time limit-- 10 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever. And just write. Just write down the first thing that comes to mind and go with it. Don't think too hard. Like Anne Lamott says, you have to have a shitty first draft to get anything good. Don't be afraid.
Natalie Goldberg says to just write. Anne LaMott says the same thing. But "just write?" About what? What do I write about? Do I write about the long, unsettling gaps in my memory? Do I write about all the mistakes in my past that haunt me? Mistakes innocuous and not so, I am haunted either way, with equal anxiety? {I set a timer here, for ten minutes, because I forgot to do it at the beginning. Natalie Goldberg says that timed writings are a part of a writer's practice.} Do I share my deepest, darkest thoughts that I can never bring myself to say out loud? Why can't I say them out loud? I know why. Because I feel that no one will understand that I am not trying to undo what's been done; it's just a lament. It doesn't mean that I'm unhappy. It just means that I wonder how things would be different if I made different choices back then. Not necessarily better or worse choices, just different. There is no value judgement being made. I think it is probably human nature to wonder how things could have been or would have been or should have been, isn't it?
If I admit that sometimes I wonder, "what if I had never gotten married?" or "what if we had waited to have our first child," does that make me a bad wife or a bad mother? I wonder, would I still be teaching? Would I have advanced in my career?
Another thing I wonder often is "why did I buy this apartment?" In a moment of frustration, I will say "why did I buy this STUPID apartment, this EFFIN apartment?" Because here I am, married with two young children, living in a 700 square foot studio that's been impossible to sell in this down market, even at a bargain basement price.
I guess it just goes to show that you never know how your life will turn out. When I bought this apartment, I was 26. My husband and I had just started dating. I was living by myself for the first time. I had no inkling that we'd be married a year later, and that ten months after that, we'd have a baby. I was prepared to be alone for a long time. In fact, I looked forward to my solitude, to not sharing my space. Because I never had that. I like to be alone.
I can admit that now. I am the type of person that likes to be alone. It doesn't make me lonely. It just means that sometimes the world is overstimulating and being alone is a nice refuge. I enjoy my alone time even more now, when I can get it, because all day long, someone is touching me and asking me for something and needs and wants and needs and wants. Sooooo needy. Little kids are needy. I feel like I'm stating the obvious. What wasn't obvious to me in the beginning is how draining it can be, to be needed all the time. And I happen to think that my kids are pretty independent. I give them plenty of space. But it doesn't matter. All kids want their mother, like it's a need.
And that reminds me of how much I loved it when my mother would run her hands over my hair when I wasn't feeling well, my head in her lap. Even now, at almost 33, I can remember so acutely the feeling of needing my mother then, of wanting her, of reveling in her comfort. 


Post a Comment

« »

The Real Nani All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger