Yes, I’ve been mostly absent lately.
Could say: it’s been a spring of meetings.* Could say: it’s come up before, how quickly this time of year gathers speed and gallops past us — leaving me, at least, at the starting gate.
Could say: it takes up time — piano, dance, carpooling Brownies and class pet Shredder — not a he, shrieked one of the more effervescent of the 2nd-graders I ferry, she is not a he! —in her rickety Habittrail cage from school to troop meeting point every week.**
Could say all that and it would be true. In the end, though, it really just comes down to this: lately, words have failed me.
I don’t mean writer’s block, even though this morning, I finally gave up the ghost and gave an estimated time of death to the short story I’d been struggling with for four months.***
For some reason, the cat has had my tongue. Why? My silence has had something to do — I think — with what I only know to call the falsity of this form. I’d known all along that blogs are remarkable tools for self-merchandizing (creating your brand, so to speak) but suddenly I had no idea what to do with that information. I have my nefarious ways and it’s become clear to me that more than one journal googles a writer when they get a submission from them —why? And when that googling leads them to the writer’s blog, what good does that do?
So… if you don’t want to create a brand (and what would mine be anyway? schluppy mom? writer past her sell-by date?) what’s the point? If it’s to keep a journal, why not just keep a journal? If it’s to stay in touch with friends, why not just stay in touch with friends?
I’d love to be able to answer all those questions, but I can’t. There doesn’t seem to be any point. Really.
There’s just this frothing, seething sea of words we swim in.
So here I am — having concluded (once again, this being a circular, self-perpetuating philosophical impasse) that words are better than no words; in short, that it’s okay that some of them are mine.
*It’s never too early to be thinking about where your kid might go to high school, even if they’re only in second grade.
**It is, as the second graders among us would say, totally awesome that school hamsters and gerbils now boast such pimped-out cribs, complete with towers, tunnels and an occasional hidey-hole, but whatever happened to rectangular aquariums? Yesterday I was in danger of becoming not only the mom who shamed her daughter before millions (four other parents) by giving “24 hours” as the answer to the question “How long does it take the Earth to revolve around the Sun?”during “Are You Smarter than a Second Grader?” but the one who (almost) did away with Shredder (NOT A HE BUT A SHE) by (almost) dropping her elaborate container in the middle of the street in front of the school building.
***Well, maybe writer’s block does figure into this silence, after all.