May 25, 2018

Measuring Mother Time

Many years ago, I set aside my writing dreams so that I could raise my child wholeheartedly. For me, writing isn't just the act of typing down words, but imagining scenes, viewing the world through the lens of characters, changing my speech patterns so I can get into natural rhythm with those of the story. I feared having all of this warp my mothering, and so I did not write. Instead I knitted, sewed, baked, made fleece fairies and gnomes, taught, drew, and expressed my creativity so fully in a myriad of ways that I never missed that one.

But I am a writer in my soul, and as soon as I felt it reasonable to return to that, I did. At first, it was difficult, because I had always been a closed-door writer ... which is to say, I wrote in a room alone, with the door shut and the world forgotten. I had to learn how to write at the heart of the house, with noise all around me and frequent interruptions. For I understand that mothers need alone time of course, and I took that time myself for respite and refreshment, but because motherhood never drew from me, it added to me and enriched me, I never had an impulse to separate myself from it. If I was to write, it would be as a mother; I would weave my writing into my mothering. So my door was always open.

As an open door writer, I did not have great swathes of time in which to write. Nor could I spend all day half-lost in my imagination, for beasts and wicked sorcerers roamed there, alongside resourceful maidens and fretful knights, and these things tend to be distracting. So I had to draw upon Mother-time.

Those of you who are parents surely know what I mean. Mother-time doesn't go by the patriarchal clock. Nor is it a stretching-out. Instead, it is a deepening of small moments.

It is the way parents have of being instantly ready to dive down into dreaming the second they get the chance. It is the full grasp of peace or wonderment. The intensity of doing (but with a gentle consciousness so you don't go mad.)

Now that I am in a quieter phase of life, I find myself at a bit of a loss when it comes to writing. I have hours of quiet and solitary calm - all the time I need. And it feels too quiet. I am having to learn all over again how to write alone.

art by lee s. hee