Gone So Long

January 4, 2007

This blog is, obviously, a sort of personal diary. But it’s a considered sort of personal diary, contrived in the sense of being planned, structured, deliberated upon. It’s not a spontaneous, stream-of-conciousness account of my feelings – it’s a structured personal record of my thoughts and ideas and anecdotes and snapshots of life as a mother. It’s the story of my family’s life, of my life, and its telling is approached as craft. And it’s told to, written for, an audience. An audience of friends and peers, of fellow parents, fellow writers, fellows - but an audience nonetheless. An audience whose opinion I respect and crave and, sometimes, just a little bit, fear. An audience whose approval matters.

I embrace this, I love this, this strange and lovely and sometimes disconcerting relationship with readers-cum-critics-cum-friends. It makes demands upon me, wonderful demands; it makes me want to be, strive to be, a better writer, a better reader, a better friend. But it also, sometimes, constrains me. That I know my audience, that I in some respects love my audience, makes me, sometimes, cautious about what or how much I share. Not because I wish to conceal myself, but because I wish – perhaps neurotically – to control the self-portrait that I share with you. I want it to be honest, as honest as it can be, but I also want it to be attractive. I want to show my best sides, because I want you to like me.

So it is that I have found it difficult to write over the past two weeks (the absence of a reliable wireless connection exascerbated this problem, but that’s another story). If you follow this blog at all, you know that I, and my family, have had something of a tough time of it of late. You also know that I’ve had an embarrassment – a wonderful, extraordinary embarrassment - of support and love from this amazing community. You saw me hurting and struggling – you saw my brush faltering on this oh-so artful portrait – and you responded with love, and so I felt vindicated in my decision to share the hurt and the struggle. But I have – we have – continued to struggle a bit in recent days, and I’ve felt, well, that it had all gotten to be too much to share. I have felt as though I was turning into that friend, that acquaintance, that person that we all know who is always suffering some misfortune, always responding to cheerful how-are-yous? with gloomy proclamations of misery and doom. Yes, well, after all the coping with sickness and death and disaster we were met with pestilence and family upset and have I mentioned about my back pain?

I don’t want to be that person, not to you. Not to anybody. I’m not that person. Hence my silence in recent days. I couldn’t write about my frustrations, my worries, but neither could I not write about them: I couldn’t write cheery posts about WonderBaby’s first encounters with snow while my head and heart were lurching about in darker corners; I couldn’t recount the joys of our recent visit with family while wringing my hands over worries about family. So I just didn’t write at all.

But I can’t not write anymore, so I am writing this, this elliptical reflection (not the first) on not-writing, this allusive confession, this no-doubt confusing testament to my confusion.

And I am writing to say that I will continue writing, and that I will revel in the happy and the illuminating and the thought-provoking and I will let those bright and varied colours do the work of balancing the shadows in my portrait.

I’m back. You will see me.

We don’t know how to quit you.

Pestilence Update: WonderBaby is well on the road to recovery. The pox are receding, and we are all greatly relieved. Thanks for all your good thoughts.

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    { 48 comments }

    MrsFortune January 4, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    That was a much better ending to that post than I had hoped for! It is an amazing community. I’m glad the pestilence is fleeing the household.

    dorothy January 4, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    You forget that your hand-wringing makes the other hand-wringers feel like there is someone sitting in the next room silently sharing in their pain. Your hand-wringing may actually help your readers.

    Jenn January 4, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    welcome back. :D

    IzzyMom January 4, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Please don’t concern yourself with how we perceive you. You have to trust that it’s all fine and do what feels right to you.

    Glad WB is doing better :)

    Christy January 4, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    Your blog is relatively new to me. At the beginning of your post, I thought you might be writing to say you’re leaving. Thankfully, and hilariously, you ended with a “we don’t know how to quit you.” Glad to read the pox are nearly gone.

    Plain Jane Mom January 5, 2007 at 12:12 am

    Good days, bad days, I read and savor both. Please write what you feel like reading and your “audience” will follow. …good thoughts your way…

    toyfoto January 5, 2007 at 12:19 am

    I know I will speak for many when I say you are wonderful, brilliant and strong. Whatever you tell, whatever you keep is yours to do wth as you please. You make us feel like honored guests, it wouldn’t be right to repay the kindness with unruly demands.

    Be well, take care and we’ll be reading and thinking lots of good toughts for the best of all possible outcomes.

    Lena January 5, 2007 at 12:32 am

    Everyone DESERVES that little break. May this new year bring you the strength to endure your trials and joy in spite of.

    Much love to you and Wonder Babeeee!

    Lady M January 5, 2007 at 12:50 am

    It reassures this reader that even you, such a talented and generous hearted writer, wish sometimes just to show your best side to the blogosphere.

    The snow picture looks wonderful! Q got to play with his first snowman last week too.

    something blue January 5, 2007 at 1:34 am

    It’s not the topic but rather the way you handle it that keeps everyone needing more. Your way with words is mesmerizing.

    I’m so glad we will see you. In fact, Colin swears he saw you and Urban Mommy today. He was driving by and immediately called me on his cell. It reminded me of the time he exultantly noticed Kevin Spacey walking down the street.

    Catherine January 5, 2007 at 1:45 am

    As a member of the aforementioned audience, allow me to say how much I appreciate your concern for us. But you write beautifully, HBM, whether it’s about pestilence or percocet. So don’t hold back! Just sayin’. :)

    Lots and lots of well wishes to you and yours.

    Annie, The Evil Queen January 5, 2007 at 1:58 am

    As Henry Rollins once said, “Do you really want to know someone who’s happy all the time?” We all have rough spots and you should share or not share as you see fit. I hope your break has restored you.

    And that last photo and caption? Priceless. She looks so extra tiny in all those clothes and the big hat. Can’t wait to hear about her first time in the snow.

    wordigirl January 5, 2007 at 2:22 am

    I’m breathing a sigh of relief that you’re not leaving. These most recent days have been filled with news that other bloggers are not so inclined to stick around and I can’t stand to lose another friend in the blog universe. Glad that Wonderbaby is better. Post when you can. We’ll be here.

    Lara January 5, 2007 at 4:04 am

    i know exactly what you mean. there has been much that i’ve posted that caused me ceaseless anxiety – what would people think of me? how would i look to my readers? but sometimes, we just need to get it out. other times, maybe it’s best to let it rest within ourselves, in the privacy of our own hearts and minds. only you can know what’s best for you. what is important is to remember that while you may in some respects love your readers, your readers all unconditionally and unreservedly love you. whatever you post, whenever you post – the love is always here when you need it.

    AdventeurDad January 5, 2007 at 5:12 am

    I love the photo! We all have periods when we feel less cheerful and when it seems like everything sucks. It’s human and normal. I would feel very weird reading a blog where the person always was cheerful. On the other hand I don’t want to hear whining 365 days year.

    Since everyone goes through these periods it can be interesting hear how that person copes with the challenges and it’s also a way to get to know someone better.

    Hope things feel more positive soon, just don’t stop writing.

    Nice weekend

    AD

    Joker The Lurcher January 5, 2007 at 6:00 am

    so glad to see you. and as one of your other readers said, the fact that life is not always perfect makes the rest of us feel more normal, as our lives are pretty rocky too a lot of the time.

    it has been a theme of various conversations i have had with people lately that we all present the rosy picture to the world and so each person is left wondering why they aren’t as rosy as everyone else, when really life is messy and complicated and full of highs and just as many lows for most of us.

    i so love reading your blog, and the sad posts have provoked just as much of a response in me as the happy ones, and have caused me to re-visit things i have put in a box, often with positive results.

    so please, just be your lovely self! (and sorry for always writing such long comments…)

    Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" January 5, 2007 at 8:31 am

    Don’t stop writing what you feel because you think it is ‘boring’ or ‘too real’ for people who read you. You do this to make you feel better. Write what you feel. Always.

    I understand how you feel about being ‘that friend’ and it is obvious (in just the little time I know you) that that is not the case.

    I also understand the feeling about writing your personal accounts for all to see…It’s scary but this is your journal (whether stream of consciousness or premeditated). One that you will have forever and it should reflect all the things you go through good and bad.

    Glad you will keep going.

    CPA Mom January 5, 2007 at 8:57 am

    We are ALL “that kind of friend” at some point. That is part of being a friend. Please, write about it all. Sharing the bad with the good makes a life. And makes the very best kind of friend – someone who is just like we are.

    Beck January 5, 2007 at 10:54 am

    I think there’s a huge difference between someone who is ALWAYS a downer, who ALWAYS has something to complain about (that would be me, by the way) and someone who is going through a hard time and is sad.

    Elizabeth January 5, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    It’s all good. Glad to hear WB is feeling better and that you feel like writing again. More photos of cowboy hats, please!

    xoxo

    K January 5, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    You can quit us but we’d never be able to quit you.

    And that’s saying something.

    Glad to hear WB is on the mend. And that you are too :)

    Diana January 5, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    I’m glad to hear the pox are retreating and you’re back to blogging!

    MetroDad January 5, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Thank God! For a second there, i thought you were going to tell us that you were quitting blogging. Glad to hear you’re back and better than ever, HBM. May the coming year bring you more happiness than sorrow!

    Matt January 5, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    I’m sorry you’ve been hurting. But I’m not sorry you want to keep telling us about it (or that portion you choose). You have a beautiful and distinctive voice.

    Your technical proficiency in compiling your writing is impressive – but not nearly as impressive as the underlying humanity that constantly appears in the text. Your willingness and ability to deal with sensitive and possibly controversial subjects are gifts. I hope you continue to want to share them with the community of which you are a leading member.

    m January 5, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    I, too, am glad that you aren’t shutting HBM down. It’s a strange thing, choosing that line between what one will write about and what one doesn’t in a public/private place. You’re doing a fine job, though, and that’s why we keep coming back.

    As a side note, I can’t tell if these photos were taken outside of Merritt, Kamloops, or some other Thompson area place. It looks so familiar!

    Roz January 5, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Don’t feel that you have to give us glossy sunshine if that’s not what you’re feeling. Sure, some of us go through bad days and are back on again soon after. But if this is a lousy period in your life, you don’t have to pretend it’s not because you happen to have an audience. There may be some who read for entertainment, but those of us who read regularly read because there is so clearly a real person writing and not a performer. This is YOUR blog and know that you can write what you want and feel comfortable with, and we will still be there. Hope you find comfort in knowing that you can just be you.

    Grim Reality Girl January 5, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    You are NEVER that friend. (Boy can I relate to that feeling and worry!!!)

    Sometimes things are not rosy. Sometimes things suck. Sometimes writing about it helps. Sometimes it is hilarious. Sometimes we cry together other times we laugh. I can’t quit you either!! Even after that haunting picture of THE HOFF!!

    LOVE the photo in this post, love your blog, and like the others I’m so GLAD this didn’t turn into a goodbye post!!!!

    Thanks!!!!

    Kyla January 5, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    I must agree that you are NEVER that friend. I think sometimes I might be that friend, though. *lol* I remind myself that I started the blog for me, for KayTar, to have somewhere to put all THAT energy that was building up inside me. We all need that space in which we put those sorts of things.

    One thing I’ve learned out here in BlogLand is to never underestimate the kindness of strangers, because these wonderful blogging strangers so quickly seem to grow into family.

    We are always and forever here, HBM Even if the picture you paint with your words isn’t so rosy, we will still be here listening.

    ali January 5, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    HBM….i always find you hilarious…but that picture of little miss wonderbaby and the cowboy hat…not knowing how to quit us…had me snorting my diet coke. i’ve missed you. i’m glad you’re back!

    Christina January 5, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Everyone is allowed to be “that friend” sometimes, and if this is your time, use it to the extent that you need. That’s what friends are for, right?

    I’m sorry things are continuing to go poorly for you. If you need a smaller audience, feel free to contact me for a shoulder to lean on, OK?

    (And you scared me there for a minute. With the high number of bloggers who have called it quits lately, I feared you might be joining them.)

    Mrs. Chicky January 5, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    I’m just glad to have you back, misery, pox and all. No pressure. That’s what friends are for.

    (shoot, now that song is stuck in my head. Damn.)

    metro mama January 5, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Catherine,
    As you know, we are not fair-weather friends. Please share as much or as little as you like – we’re listening. If you prefer more intimacy, please call anytime.

    I truly hope things start looking up soon.
    Julie

    Gabriella January 5, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    please don’t ever censor yourself, no matter what you write their your feelings! That’s what blogs are for!

    kittenpie January 6, 2007 at 1:13 am

    Honey, we will so totally be here for you, even if you need to write about more doom and gloom a bit before things get better. don’t worry about that. (Although I do understand – I always worry that two crummy posts in a row are too much, so I get that, but still, it’s okay. You’re HBM! And we love you!)And now we break into some cheesy song about what friends are for… eek. I’ll go before it gets sloppy.

    kim January 6, 2007 at 3:44 am

    Those are quite possibly the custest and sweetest pictures ive seen !!!poor little darling and all those poor spots! how adorable … I am sooo glad you guys are doing better ….we send love and hugs

    dont worry about stuff like that, of course you should share it …its all just part of life …you’re getting a big dose at once is all …hang in there!

    mamatulip January 6, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Catherine, life isn’t always attractive. There are times when the hits just keep coming. You’re not “that” friend. You writing about how you’re feeling won’t bring you to that status.

    Wishing you health, happiness and a full heart in ’07.

    FishyGirl January 6, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Sometimes, life sucks, and we go through a bad spell – sometimes, a BIG, long bad spell. And that’s okay. I second guess so much of what I put on my blog because I don’t want to whiney and all doom and gloom, but I don’t want to be Little Mary Sunshine all the time either – they are both part of life. Write what you want, what you need, when you want, and that’s good for us – we’ll be here.

    ewe are here January 6, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Life isn’t always easy and cheerful. Sometimes it is depressing and hard and gets us down. If talking/writing about it helps, then write about it. I’m positive that no one thinks you’re *that friend*; we have too much evidence to the contary!

    Glad you’re not going anywhere.

    As for the lovely Ms Wonderbaby – love the snowclothes and the hat! And am glad to hear the pox is retreating.

    Her Bad Mother January 6, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    And this is exactly why I just wouldn’t be able to quit y’all.

    (M – pegged it! Between Kamloops and Cache Creek. Juniper Beach, on the Thompson River.)

    Lisa b January 6, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Complain all you want. Its not really complaining if you call it a pestilence, then its funny. You aren’t “that girl”
    and like metro said we aren’t fair-weather friends.
    I have been blown away by the support I have seen given to you and others and that I have received personally.
    It is a gift to all of us as part of this community that we get to experience both.
    take care

    you da mom! January 6, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    I haven’t been following, but I will now!
    Thanks, and may your family have continued health and happiness!

    Ruth Dynamite January 7, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Yikes! The pox. Glad Wonderbaby is recovering.

    January is a nice fresh start for us all. Welcome back!

    gingajoy January 7, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Right there with you, HBM. Sometimes when I do not post for a while, it;s because I know all it will end up being is an outpouring of angst and negativity. And I want to rail, rail against real people in my life. And I don’t want to do that on my blog (not least, because of the people in my life who read it…) I have crafted many a post for your basement this last few weeks (s’ok now. I think). Wireless problems are *also* the blame for me, partially.

    Ugh.

    Anyhoo. I get it. And I loves ya. I cain’t quit youu neider…”
    Here’s to Spring:)

    m January 7, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    (Does this mean you are also orginally an Interior Gal? I love that area so much.)

    Pendullum January 7, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Welcome back… Happy 2007…
    Glad WonderBaby is on the mend…

    Be true to yourself…. And all else will fall into place…

    Her Bad Mother January 7, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    I’m originally from Vancouver, but my family lived for a time in the Interior. And my parents, always big campers, took us every summer to the Nicola Valley, their favourite spot in the world. So, yes, love it.

    MommyWithAttitude January 8, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Glad to hear WonderBaby is on the mend and caring about you aside, you tell a good story, even when it makes me cry… so never stop telling us your stories.

    Amanda January 9, 2007 at 8:12 am

    Welcome back!
    How is the chicken pox going?
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

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