The sky today beyond the curve of window today is such a lovely ceramic blue, completely cloudless, but there’s something stand-offish about its expanse all the same.
We are at the wintery heart of the year here, nothing like the wintery heart of the year out yonder where they really have winter, but all the same, it’s time for the thaw. Time for the furled squirrel-ear of the pecan tree buds, and for life to feel practically translucent, vulnerable sap barely congealed into substance.
I recently undertook some work that involved a great deal of reading, in fact for a couple of weeks there I was awash in a sea of words. I cannot tell a lie: all those words were actually slopping over the gunwales. Hold Fast, I tell myself in times like these, that being the towrope sailors once had tattooed across their knuckles to remind them to cling tight to the rigging. Hold Fast — that being the tattoo I idly imagine I’ll have, some day.
So many words. Here at the wintery heart of the year, I feel almost speechless in the face of them, in the face of all those bits and bytes that document what it means to be a parent at the beginning of the 21st century. Every bodily fluid, every sleepless night, every epiphany, has been essayed and storified and faceted and honed until it’s not unreasonable to wonder if there’s anything left to say.
On one level, this is simply an extended way for me to explain why so little blogging seems to get done around here these days; but on another, it might be a real, legitimate question.
These days, I primarily identify as a mother. Not as a writer, not as a Georgian, not as a… whatever. And I suppose that in the face of that, I fall prey to viewing writing and its attendant issues through the prism of motherhood. (To whit, toilet-training a child takes up more space in my brain that the complexities of starting a novel set in the mid-19th century). Does such an identification diminish or enlarge me? (And, to make that question more universal, you can replace writing with any of the creative arts, or with anything you considered jettisoning from the boat to keep it afloat during those early days with children).
Remember The Cult of True Womanhood read about in our college history texts? The Victorian ideal of the mother as the Angel in the House? I certainly wouldn’t float the idea that many of us mother-types have become the Angel at the Computer, the work we chose to engage in shaped by social, political and self-imposed constraints. (Especially since saintly behavior is not the name of the game here).
Or: Is there a creative glass ceiling that seldom gets talked about? And is the blogosphere, allowing us all to be captain of our own ships, a way around that?
(Huge apologies to friend and fellow blogger B for hijacking her ocean metaphor).