Monday, June 29, 2009

Mothering, writing, solitude

notes from my journal about busyness, writing and mothering:

'I am missing the solitude of my journal, reading a book of short stories (Bang Crunch) woke that up in me, the need for self-expression or a quiet self-reflective mode - I am not obligated to write for anyone or anything but to recover lost parts of me - the urge to flaunt convention, to leap up in the face of tyrannical duty-bound daily life and its obstinancies of order. Truly, I tell myself lately, you must let go of the house-tasks, let go of cooking (alternately I berate myself for being lazy and not experimenting with new recipes). There is a battle within between the housemother who organizes and the artist who rebells, as if I can't decide which one I am.

But that black or white either-or thinking, is false, fatalistic, not creative - I am both and neither. I am all sides of myself, mother, writer, creative spirit, and I do not need to neglect either one - just satisfy the call right now for less 'outer activity' and more writing.

It is a sincere desire to create, not to escape household duties. but the frame or grid I put myself in leaves no time for 'being lazy' or loafing creatively. Thyroid issues are all about time, according to my dictionnaire des malaises et maladies, and so I imagine that my body mind soul are struggling with the same issues - what I tell myself becomes a reality. so I tell myself that time is elastic and stretches into whatever container I need to buoy me through the day. Being rigid about time allows it to pick me up and grind me in the teeth of agendas, appointments (did I really need a manicure today?) and then spit me out in pieces.

Pieces I have struggled to keep together may fall apart. I am a hostess with a unique style, not hyper orgnaized in advance (nor was my caterer for the prom cocktail, l hour late!). Being better organized reduces stress, so yes, we will improve.

I am juggling - or I am letting go of juggling all these balls - caitie julien jacques molly oreo zoe - am impatient when their needs pile on me - when is it time for me? Another typroid message. Ok I get it. I must create boundaries, limits, practise saying no, and getting down to the work at hand. Just do it! says my zena mooon candle on the desk - better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly. (Robert Schuller)

Poet May Sarton in her Journal of a Solitude quotes a letter from a woman, who is complaining of something similar: "Can one be within the framework of a marriage do you think? I envy your solitude with all my heart and your courage to live as you must."

Then Sarton continues, "It is not irresponsible women who ask that question, but often women with children, caring women, who feel deeply frustrated and lost, who feel they are missing their 'real lives' all the time. Has this always been true and only now are we able to admit it? and what is the solution? It is partly no doubt, as women's lib has insisted, that it is time the warm nurturing powers, usually taken for granted in women, now be called out of men in equal measure. Roles should no longer be assigned on the basis of sex or of any preconceived idea of marriage, but should grow organically from the specific needs of two human beings and their capacities and partner in a love relationship (whether homo or heterosexual) shoud feel that he has to give up an essential part of himself to make it viable.

But the fact is that men still do rather consistently undervalue or devalue women's powers . ... and women, no doubt, equally devalue their own powers. But there is something wrong when solitude such as mine can be envied by a happily married woman with children. "

Happily married and still craving solitude, I have just had my first day totally alone, with only the dog and 2 cats, in a long time. Caitie has flown away to Italy, J & J are fishing till tomorrow, and the silent lake flows under a pewter sky.....


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