Friday, September 25, 2009

Cake and Writing. Celebrate the Messiness of It All

acrylic on paper, 5x8"

2/100 1 hour 6 minutes. Page 5 of third draft of Mythos. All new writing.


I cheated a little. I didn't write anything at all yesterday. No I didn't.

After a day of running after kids and trying to get stuff done and dealing with other stuff and organizing stuff and wrangling stuff and feeling like I was doing it all rather badly, I had not much left in me once the kids went to bed.

I said, shoot, forget it. I'll make up the time tomorrow, although I was kind of planning to skip the whole hour and make it up whenever.

Then, before I went to bed I checked my email and my Facebook and there were all sorts of wonderful people rooting me on and joining in.

Damn you people.

Knowing as I know how easy it is to fall behind in those self made goals and poop out before you get very far at all, knowing how easy it is to forget that you really really wanted it in the face of how hard it is, and knowing that people were watching me, dammit, I woke up this morning and got back to work. Last time I started doing challenges I remember having this problem. I ended up counting my day as nap to nap, not midnight to midnight because it worked for me. So, I thought I'd go back to my old schedule. BUT... the boy no longer takes naps, and I have so much to do while the girl sleeps. So I had to find some time within my already busy day to get the writing done. So I did.

Yes. I wrote my three pages this morning. Not in the loveliness of silence and time to myself where the brain is functioning and and uninterrupted. No. I wrote in the chaos of post breakfast children running around the house pretending to be dinosaurs or cats or superheroes or whatever it was they were pretending to be.

I wrote with Sesame Street singing about lightning bugs in the background and little girls tugging on my skirt and boys yelling to be let back in the house from making mud pies in the garden, and having tantrums about how there was no way in the world that he could take off his own shirt by himself even though he did.

And I kept writing when the boy came up and asked what all the words on the page were.

Well, no. I stopped then. And I stopped to get the glass of water. And I stopped to let the boy in. And I stopped to change a diaper and put on shoes and clean up the spill and hand out goldfish, and do a time out or two and praise for accomplishments and hug for booboos.

But I kept going back to work.

I know this is not the ideal situation in which to write a book. I know that I should probably get up at 4am (!!!!) before the kids wake and just get at it, but my brain does not function that early and yipes.

I didn't know if it would work. I've never tried to write while the kids were running around the house, only during naps or on rare days off. But you know what?

I did it.

It worked.

I thought for sure that I couldn't write while the kids were howling around me. I am not speaking euphemistically. AWOOOO! And yet. The howling did not stop the writing.

I could indeed write.

I'm a little amazed. I wasn't expecting it.

And there is yet another "I can't" that has been tossed away. You mean, it's possible to write a novel while watching a toddler and a preschooler without any help at all? You mean it's possible to be an artist and a stay at home mom? You mean it's possible to get that mommy brain back, or keep something of my pre-kid dreams for myself, or be an artist and not be a totally selfish, crazy lunatic?

I guess when we break down the boxes and definitions of what it means to be an artist, or a mom, or an American, or a human being, well, perhaps a lot of the can'ts become possible. Oh, it may look like a holy mess, without out those neat categories and separations, but it is possible.

And yes. I also painted that cake this morning. in honor of the Wayne Thiebaud postcard of cakes my little one dug out of my desk this morning while I was still waking up and left in the bathroom for me to find. Also in honor of my mom's birthday a couple days ago, and the kid's desire to throw a party, any party.

So AWOO to you. Celebrate yourself for something you didn't think you could do, and once attempted, found out you could.


Heather Jerdee said...

I just watched the movie Who Does She Think She is the other night. So many things are possible, we don't have to choose between the great loves of our lives, our art or Motherhood and I think we can eat cake to that! Yeah but my house is usually a holy mess ;)

Julie said...

I just wanted to stop by and tell you I love your blog and your art, good luck with your challenge.

Lisa said...

This is an awesome post! Congrats to you for realizing it is possible. I have a toddler & kindergartener and SO related to the situations. THANK YOU for letting me know I'm not alone. :)

And how ironic: I also just watched Who Does She Think She Is (mentioned by the previous commenter, Heather) that I randomly picked up from the library. Inspiring.

Here's to the mess of stay at home motherhood, creative living, & everything mushed all together!!

mayaluna said...

I love you Rowena. I do!

Leah said...

A big wow and yay to you for keeping with your commitment in the midst of all the busyness of life. You're a rock star!

Rowena said...

Thanks all for your support. It really does mean a lot. I can't believe how much harder it is for me to write than it is to paint. Maybe it will seem easier once I have my habit back. I don't know. You need to concentrate more. Painting can be more intuitive.

Bailey Ana said...

It's so good to hear someone else's struggles with the 'can't's' of life and conquer them, one by one!

Good on you :)


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