I’ve always wanted to write. From the early days of staying up all night reading Nancy Drew or Little House on the Prairie by flashlight under my sheets, to the first few months of college when I changed my major to English after just one political science class. I think deep down I’ve always known that words were in my future. I wrote for the college journal, interned at the small paper in my college town and tried to use my writing skills (and degree) for few years in the marketing world, before I threw in the towel and went to culinary school. I love to read, I love to write and I love to think about reading and writing. But I’ve never really considered myself a “writer,” though I’ve been blogging consistently since 2008, simply because I wasn’t being published.
And even though it’s probably a bit silly, and I’m not sure anyone really reads it anyway, for some reason, my monthly column in the local paper has finally made me feel comfortable with using that word to describe myself.
Last week, after finishing The Book of Joy, my latest bookclub book, I opened up our bookshelf in the living room to see what I could quickly read before the next book comes along. I grabbed Bird by Bird off my shelf; a book I’ve had for a long time and always intended to read again, but have never quite gotten to. I jumped right in, and with every chapter, felt my blood pressure beginning to rise.
This was it! The kick in the pants I needed! As I read her words, suddenly my head began to fill with my own. I could hardly get through a chapter without shooting off into a million directions, scrambling to write things down as quickly as they shot through my brain. My blood pumped through my chest twice as fast as normal, and I could feel the adrenaline burning in my veins. Characters jumped into my mind; characters with backgrounds, and voices and stories to tell. I was catapulted into these people’s lives and their stories began to intertwine until they almost made sense, almost made up something vaguely resembling a story.
I’d never really imagined myself writing fiction, but all of a sudden this whole world showed up in my mind, asking, more like begging to be explored. Made up of half real, half made up people and places and things, things I’d done or seen done or heard done. Every break I got from my real life, I dove into the recesses of my mind to continue exploring this world. It was so vivid all of a sudden, and I lived each character’s lives with them. Their heartaches, their victories, their weaknesses, strengths, quirks and triumphs.
Part of it was glorious. I mean, I’ve never been flooded with that sheer volume of content before. I’ve never run smack into a story like that in the past, always needing to be assigned something by someone else to really force myself to create. I was elated. Maybe this was it. The story I’d been waiting for all my life. Maybe it was my time. Part of it felt really, really good. But part of it also felt wrong.
It wasn’t until I had the weekend “off,” both of my boys around to take priority over my constant daydreaming, that I had a second to get some clarity. While I was thrilled about the ease with which my “story” came to me, I also began to realize that I wasn’t ready to commit to writing it. You see, in those couple of days that I’d been consumed with the idea of writing that story, I hadn’t had time for anything else. Every nap, bedtime and break was spent writing. Or thinking about writing. I felt exhausted, like I couldn’t even take a breath; everything felt out of whack and over reached. And I realized that while I really want to write someday, what I want to do the most right now, is be Emmett’s mama.
I want to pour all that creative energy into teaching him and learning alongside him. I want to be free to go out and explore with him. Go to the beach. Stop by the farm. I want to have the time to research Montessori teaching methods, put together projects and materials, go to the library. Hit the museum, go to the movies, take him on hikes. I want to give him my best every day and also have the space to take care of my own needs, to rest. I want the freedom to focus on taking care of my family, our home and enjoy the interests and hobbies that I already have in this season of life. Enjoy gardening, photography, reading and even writing my column and this blog. Life is long, this sweet season of young motherhood is short, and while I’m glad I found my story, that story can wait.
I’m going to write. Someday. I’m going to pour my heart and soul into a story, and maybe even get it published. But not right now. Right now I’m going to pour my heart and soul into this little boy, and wake up each and every morning so very thankful that I get to do so.