Sunday, July 24, 2011

an orderly sort of woman

it appears, in order to write, i require a three ring circus camped out in my living room.  to put words to paper, i must have a zoo or a parade marching around the hallways of my house.  i have only just discovered this odd and unsettling fact, and i am not particularly pleased.  man and five children vacate our home,  leaving me alone for three (glorious) days to work at my craft and i craft nothing.  well, perhaps a little.  but not as much as i had planned, as i had hoped.  nowhere close. by the way,  the true story here is man and five children vacating home.  that, my friends,  is the real piece de resistance of the weekend.

apparently, i am in need of a 3 year old on my lap and the nonstop opening and shutting of office door by four other curious, questioning (possibly, bored?) children.  i am in need of an occasional, "mom!"  or an unfortunate, "help!"  hollered from a spot not far enough away.  i clearly require a ringing phone, a running dishwasher, and a burning breakfast to complete my paragraph with alacrity.  a sisterly squabble,  a brotherly duel, or a full out sibling war is essential to sharpening this writer's focus.

i have been sitting for three days in the midst of lovely-perfect-quiet.  alone with my sleek macbook and my sloppy thoughts.  alone with my stream of ideas and my head full of words.  but something was missing.  maybe i am in need of the great din of day, the big bellow of family and the terrific splash of life exploding all around me.  all over me. full at me.  i am in need of the incredible ooze of my children and their spilling sounds from underneath the door.  perhaps, my own yelling of the,  unavoidable, "i'm writing!" is necessary to fan the flame of creativity.  i am not sure.  but no interruptions and a strangely still home, though terrifically appreciated, didn't quite set me on fire. 

why is it when i do have words pouring forth, i am supposed to be somewhere or cook something or pick up someone?   just last week, i frantically dashed out of the house with car keys and laptop in arms.   i flung myself into the driver's seat and attempted to finish typing a final sentence with one hand while starting the car with the other.  no panic necessary, i checked both mirrors.  i realized en route, i had forgotten my shoes. sigh. when i picked up waiting child i carefully slid the laptop under my bag, not wanting to appear so desperate to one so young.  not wanting to seem quite so addicted.  but sometimes that's how i feel.  addicted and desperate and barefoot.  desperate to put ink to paper.  to put words to screen.  and the thing is, i have little control.  i cannot turn it on and off again. it doesn't work that way. my former english students will, no doubt, like that measly admission.

here i am, weekend wide open for writing, and i find my mind wandering and my thoughts running...everywhere(else).  i decide to paint.  to organize. to read.  to garden.  to throw away old pencil stubs.  to scrub the grout in our shower.  to color coordinate my closet.  to feed the fish (no one feeds the fish, ever). what is this?  i am forty-something years old and completely void of discipline.  i would tell you i have used it all up on five children.  that must be it - it is all their fault!  i have nothing, absolutely no discipline, left for myself.   i am no more than a dilettante.  a dabbler.  a dreamer.  at least a, late-in-life, undiagnosed case of ADD.

if i was an orderly sort of woman, i might have a schedule.  it would carve out regular blocks of writing time.  it would neatly organize the children into meaningful and (of course) educational activities.  it would remind me to have a meal slow cooking in a shiny crock pot and the table already set.  napkins folded in sharp triangles.  milk glasses matching.  if i was an orderly sort of woman the dog would be fed and the laundry folded and the refrigerator clean.  but, i have to admit, i am not.  i am a woman who throws herself and her computer into car, while forgetting her shoes.

later today, when the kids come rushing back from grandma's house, with suitcases and stories exploding, i'll probably feel a great rush of words.   i will get caught up in the their noise and somehow (then) words will unravel from the deep well of my solitary weekend.  they will slide out from behind my forehead and make their way down through my fingers.  i will itch to type.  but i won't.  a woman doesn't get three days alone and then disappear back behind the screen of her computer too soon.  no, i will go back to doing what i always do:  tapping out words in between the breakfast and babble and barking moments of life.  and it will, somehow, work.

though a weekend alone for a mother-of-many is a gift,  a treasure, a once-in-a-great-while luxury item,  it is not what inspires me.  i need the family shifting wildly at my feet.  untidy, but inspiring. i've gotten used to having them around.  my family, in all their ruckus and unruliness, unplug the slow channels of my heart.  for writing is heart.  without it, only words.  the incredible flinging of their life-noise is what stirs the pot of my stories and tellings.  my plain words become colored with love for them.  by love for them.  my love for them.  love. 

not that i mind a weekend alone every once in a while...

"fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."  ~william wordsworth


Simply LKJ said...

Oh Jody, I can so relate. While I am not the gifted writer that you are, I do find myself wandering the hallways of our home when left here alone. It is too quiet for this gal that grew up with three rowdy brothers, two parents that worked very different schedules and grandparents always around to lend a hand or an ear. It is funny how sometimes we so long for peace and quiet to only find that we had more comfort in the chaos!

Aus said...

Jody - you make me laugh!! But you also glean one of the true facts of life - art (and your writing here IS art - just in case you missed that!) stems from life, heart, love.

And you know where those things are...

And you've expressed them very, very, well!

hugs - aus and co.