Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dry Spell

No, I didn't give up on this blog. Nor, I find, can I give up on writing. Sometimes I wish I could– life would be so much easier, my mind so much more peaceful, without that nibbling, nagging, quietly persistent and infuriating little ghost that haunts the dry spells whispering but what about writing? Yet I must be reluctantly grateful for those whispers, because they're honestly the only thing that give me some kind of surety, after these long silences, that I really am supposed to pursue this craft, however clumsily, however unfaithfully. Because that little ghost just never gives up– it is meant to be there, perhaps. I'm beginning to believe more fully that it was put there by the Hand that crafted me, and thus I shouldn't ignore it.

I've had lots of dry spells in my writing life. (Ha! what a phrase! What a mixture of pomposity and wishful thinking! I type the two words and I'm immediately confronted by the shades of those writers I most admire saying, "You, have a writing life? Don't claim that until you've earned it, young lady!") But I've never had a dry spell quite like these past few months– because I've never been pregnant before. And now I am– four months, actually, and still blinking over this belly which has expanded rapidly in the past few weeks. So, being pregnant and all, I'm armed with an absolutely perfect excuse for this particular dry spell– pregnancy sickness! (I refuse to call it "morning sickness" since it was in no way limited to mornings. If only!) What better reason for not writing than being sick for weeks and weeks– constantly nauseated, sweaty, unwashed, unable to get out of bed– unable, indeed, to do most of the things which we are accustomed to considering "normal." I didn't even read very much, and when I did it was the simplest of fare– children's books which I knew so well already that reading them was like sipping broth, nourishing but easy to digest. Anything more complex, any books that might have challenged me to look philosophically or spiritually at my unpleasant circumstances– well, my mind responded to those with the same revulsion as my stomach responded to certain foods. It wasn't philosophy or theology that solaced me– rather, the internet was my brain's best friend. The internet served me easy, entertaining information dispensed in highly digestible bytes, lowering my intellect, but distracting me from how miserable I was feeling.

Still. Now that I've been on the mend for about a month, and feeling nearly back to my old self for a couple of weeks, I start to question and regret. Was it really pardonable for me to fall silent? When will I learn to persist through difficulty? When will writing no longer be the first thing I jettison when the chaos of life inevitably disrupts the calm? I like to imagine that someday, not too many years from now, I will somehow arrive at that point when writing is a companion in distress, a solace in difficulty, instead of feeling like just another one of the difficulties. That writing, like prayer, it will be something I instinctively move towards rather than away from when the waves rock the boat.

And then I remember that sometime in October a little someone is going to arrive and turn upside down this life of the Pilot and mine, and then, I ask myself, how realistic is it to expect to keep at it? Can motherhood and writing really mix? I read some of Madeleine L'Engle's journals and according to her it can. But how do I know if I've got whatever Madeleine L'Engle had? Or is that the wrong question to be asking?

Well. I hope it's not a negative indication of the kind of mother I'm going to be that my first public blog post while pregnant is not about pregnancy but writing. And I have a feeling that I shall be wrestling with writing and motherhood for many years down the road. Perhaps that's as it should be. Perhaps there's never a point when you stop wrestling– or if you do, if you wrestle your way through to some sort of peace, you walk with a limp ever after.

P.S. If you are wondering why I write so much about writing, and why I've not written much about pregnancy: here's a picture just for you! :-) I promise there will be some pregnancy posts along the way!