My Morning Reading: Writing Around/With/Despite of/Because of Children

This week, Bernadette Geyer and Molly Spencer both blogged about being a parent who writes . . . or being a writer who raises children . . . I'm sure we could get into a semantic argument about which designation is more appropriate, or should be more appropriate, but I don't have time . . . I have to write before the kids get up! (Har, har, har . . . crash of symbols/cricket chirps.)

I've been wanting to post something here for a while, but life/children/school and yes, my writing got in the way, and that's something Spencer speaks to in her blog post, which is kind of an answer or addendum to what Geyer posted over at She Writes. I was really, really sick last week -- not deathly so (as my tired joke about the plague would have you think), but enough to make everything other than the most basic tasks seem terribly unimportant.

Even still, because I'm neurotic whether or not I'm infected with some savage virus, I woke up early every morning to write and did actually make some progress toward finishing the fairy tale. I'm about two pages into the second section of the last chapter, and even though I'm very close to being done I'm lingering somewhat over these last stanzas. Could be nostalgia, could be sadness, could be an actual effort on my part to make sure the end of the twenty-plus page monster is readable, could be a mixture of all those things -- but whatever it is, I'm being diligent but not panicky, and I'm not subconsciously sabotaging myself with some kind of crippling writers block. This, for me, shows progress. My writing habits, which really amount more to non-writing habits, are changing, and changing for the better.

Which leads me to this hyper, profanity-ridden piece of writing advice by Chuck Wendig. It's good for a laugh -- I like his sense of humor -- and while there are some good reminders here about what constitutes good writing habits, none of it is rocket science or anything that hasn't been said before in The Writer's Chronicle or Poets & Writers. The difference is that he drops f-bombs a lot and has a knack for weirdly inventive and often funny figurative language and imagery:
Audiences can smell your inauthentic contrivances like a dead hamster in the heating duct.

You know what happens to people who tread water? They grow inevitably weary and then they drown and hermit crabs use their body as a sex playground. That’s a fact. I read it in the New York Times. If anybody knows facts, it’s them.

We’re all a little bit unhinged. Hell, I’m one broken screen door away from drinking a fifth of antifreeze and driving off a highway overpass on a child’s tricycle.

We only get one go-around on the Great Hot Wheels Track that is life, so why not manage some slick jumps and loopty-loops before your car flings off into the oblivion beneath the couch?

And so on.

Anyway, while writing this blog post I've been interrupted, already, countless times by the three-year old and, now, the six year old and her accomplice, the dog. (He sleeps in her room, and when they come down in the morning it's like a blonde invasion. Hair flying everywhere, absolute hysteria, and then things calm down for a brief moment. I'm using today's brief moment to wrap things up.) Writing a blog post is far different than writing a poem, but by now, I find both necessary. This habit of recording my writing life may be clogging up the interwebs with yet another blog about mommyhood and being a writer -- popular topics, I'm finding -- but I'm selfishly persisting . . . not because I think this particular blog has value for the greater public, but because I can see it helping me. I'd like to think, of course, that it has some value beyond myself, but there's no real way of measuring that.

Why don't I just write by hand in a journal, you ask? Good question. I used to. I do that with my poetry. (Or a legal pad, really, but same difference, right?) But I like writing the blog because it seems more focused. My diary/journal entries used to be laundry lists and gratuitous record-keeping of my mania. Those things find their way in here, as is made obvious by this post alone, but I'm attempting to keep this blog centered on three things: discussion of writing, discussion of parenting while writing, and discussion of writing while teaching (which hasn't been present much these past six months, but will probably be more prominent as the semester gets into full-swing). Also, the blog gives me the illusion of being read -- whether or not I actually have an audience -- and that forces me to focus on my prose writing in a way that I wouldn't if I was just vomiting my thoughts and feelings into my kitten-embossed bound journal.

I know, I know, you're laughing. She's actually TRYING to write well in this thing? you say. Yes, dear reader, all ONE of you, it's true. I'm trying.

Perhaps THAT should be the subtitle for this blog! I'm still trying to come up with a good one, you know.


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