Have decided to start writing again.

I thought the first sentence of the first thing I’ve written in months would be complete trash and I’d have to fight the urge to erase and agonize about the right opening sentence. But behold. I’ve decided to not quit, to completely not quit, and begin again. I’m getting a frisson of something, reading that line. I’ll leave it then.

This past year has been so monumental that whatever I was doing before it, I now see I must start over, and figure out how to do it in a different way. I have a fraction of the time I used to have, a fraction of the energy, a fraction of the confidence, and ten to the thirty-first power of the subject matter—most of which scares the shit out of me. Which for an artist is a completely great thing, I don’t mind telling you. But it’s one thing, doing excavation into one’s own past / psyche and keeping the results to oneself; it’s a different thing entirely, knowing that what you bring out has to go onto the public record.

And that’s what this year is going to be about: beginning to frame the memoir I’m going to write when I’m forty-five. I don’t know whether you can write a memoir before forty-five. I guess what I’m hoping to do is write essays about my first year of motherhood, really, and maybe some of them will make it into my memoirs. Or, maybe I’ll put together a dreadful, other-side-of-the-looking-glass companion to [insert dreamy nostalgic motherhood memoir title here]. I’m looking at you, Beth Ann Fennelly!

I had given up blogging, I think, because I’ve been shockingly lonely, and at the same time horribly afraid I would be found out. I could say that about several periods of my life, but this one has been the most difficult yet. Honestly I’ve been unhinged. I could write a long time about it. And I’m going to. But how do you start writing about the most confusing and difficult year of your life? Several of you could tell me. Or, rather, you could tell me how you did it, since no one can shape anyone else’s story for her/him. I feel like that Dutch kid with his finger in the dike. How do you ease that finger out.

I’m frequently paralyzed by fear that the world can’t sustain one more writer, especially a weepy young mother with shit for brains. But since I cry my eyes out and tear my soul (and my husband’s nerves) to shreds whenever I talk about quitting writing, I guess I have to keep writing, even if it’s tiny notes that I cubbyhole in manner of Emily Dickinson. And since I think I’m leaving facebook for a while, and am a complete hermit with shit for manners, I feel like I need at least the hint of social interaction that blogging confers. So, basically nevermind about cubbyholed notes in manner of Dickinson. But on the other hand, I have so few readers that I can make myself believe it’s a similar sort of thing. Which is good, see “at the same time horribly afraid” sentence above.

I heard Terry Gross interview a writer on Fresh Air a few weeks ago who said that, at a critical juncture of his writing life, he’d had to write like everyone he knew was dead. I pointed like a spaniel. That is what I have to do. That, I felt, was the secret to easing my finger out of the dike. And, that’s as far as I’ve gotten. But my anxiety about how the world reads me and my work, personal more than professional, is just deadening to my creative impulse … imma work on that.

N.B.: I’m going back to work at the farm next week, after fourteen months of stay-at-home-momming it. Also we close on our new house April 5th. The house is on an acre. We will have a fireplace, and an office with desks. I have a 20’x30′ garden sketched out. Also I’ve begun a new quilt, a “starflower” one, with the new sewing machine. I’ve only messed up the tension once. I’m so eager to go back to work that I had a complete meltdown today when Mary had a complete meltdown. I tried to make her nap for an hour, and when she still wouldn’t, we both were in tears. When I think of it now, I’m filled with sadness, and know no mercy. This is what I hope for 2016: that I will come to know a mercy large enough to cover me and my failures. I have hopes.

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