The Writable Life

August 25, 2011

I haven’t been writing here much lately. I mean, I have, sort of, inasmuch as I continue to post here – photos, guest posts, links to stuff that I’ve written elsewhere – but I haven’t really, you know, written here. About things that are going on in my life, beyond the canoe trips and the vague allusions to some exciting things going on that I can’t quite summon the energy to talk about right now, okay you guys?!?, the sorts of things that I would have written the shit out of a year ago. Maybe even just six months ago. I don’t know. I don’t know when I start feeling all, you know, private.

It’s not just to do with the Really Big Changes going in my life (here’s a tidbit: we’re moving to New York. Like next week, or thereabouts. It involves immigration. It’s no small thing), because it kind of started before then. I didn’t write all that much about our trip with Tanner to DisneyWorld, nor have I written all that much – at all – about the fulfillment of his biggest wish, his wish to live out his life at home, which required a kind of Extreme Home Makeover, which is going on right now, and which is kind of an extraordinary story. And I’ll share that story – I owe you that story – but right now it feels, I don’t know, kind of sacred, something that I need to hold close and live with, before I write about it. Same goes for the story developing around my mom, the story where she’s pretty sick, and I’m scared of her dying, and things just turned a little scarier, and so I’m flying out there in morning, and, yeah, I’m scared. Once upon a time I’d have written a whole post about that, about being scared. Maybe two posts. Hell, I devoted months of posts to working through my grief over the death of my dad. I wrote to survive, emotionally. Why don’t I do that now?

Part of the answer is, I suppose, that my life has expanded so far beyond this writing space – for a long time, this was my only space. It’s not, anymore. I have other things to do. Things that are really, really exciting, and distracting. I’m not leaving this space – damn, y’all, I just renovated – no way. This will always be my sanctuary. But it feels like it’s changing. Like maybe parts of this space are my really personal space, my sacred space, and other parts are just fun spaces and other parts are whatever they are, and I just need to figure out how all those parts fit together, and how they fit with all the new parts of my life, digital and otherwise.

And I suppose that part of that ‘fitting together’ means asking myself what I’m writing for, and why I’m writing it. Some of the stories about my children feel so much more, I don’t know, private now. Jasper’s having behavioral struggles – do I write about that? Emilia has been developing what can only be called Freudian theories of gender that problematize – in every sense of the word – the penis. Do I write about that? (Actually: hell, yeah, I’m going to write about that. I just need to figure out how.) I’ve always written about everything. Now I no longer have the bandwidth or the will to write about everything. So.

All I know is, I’ll continue writing. Writing is like breathing for me: I’d end up flopping on the floor, clutching at my throat, gasping like a hooked fish if I tried to stop writing. So I’m not stopping, no way. But I am… editing, beforehand. Curating my own impulses. Moderating my own words.

And I think it will be good. I know it will.

First, though, I have to go see my mom.

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    { 17 comments }

    Angela August 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Have a safe trip to see your momma and enjoy her as much as possible. We’ll wait for you.

    a August 25, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Haven’t you heard? Moderation in all things is good…

    Alexis August 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    You don’t owe us anything. Write what you want, when you want. Hold close that which is sacred.

    And I hope for the best possible outcome for your mom. Safe travels.

    blue milk August 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    This has to be one of the saddest and yet most inevitable outcomes in blogging: the bit where the best writers get so big they no longer find it comfortable nor ethical to keep writing in the same way about their lives.There are some amazing parent blogs we’ve all but lost in recent years as they’ve hit extraordinary levels of exposure and have had to restrain their writing to frustratingly ‘bitty’ pieces of nothingness. I admire your capacity to continue to at least consider writing about the more challenging elements of your motherhood experience here.

    And I can’t blame you/them for the trepidation, right now I’m feeling incredibly stifled by the fact that a mother friend at school innocently shared with me that the school’s ‘cupcake mafia’ has been inquiring about my blog. So if everyone in the school community catches on to the blog do I really want to write about my failings and fumblings in motherhood, about arguments and negotiations with my partner, about big feminist opinions, about sex? But in writing a feminist motherhood blog I also want desperately for the space to be honest,

    Love August 26, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Thanks for writing it like this. I just took off more than a year because of “stuff”. Stuff I couldn’t make funny. Stuff I just wasn’t feeling. And then i finally just started writing again this week and the machine is starting up again and it feels so. damn. good. So take it from somebody who has been there recently – take your time. Sit with it. Work through it. Rejuvenate. The words will come when they are meant to.

    Thinking of you.

    Heather August 26, 2011 at 12:19 am

    I’m sorry about your mom. You’re right to edit yourself to where you’re comfortable. But also remember your best writing has been on topics that are uncomfortable.

    And most importantly — NYC or part of the awesomeness that is upstate… Say western NY?

    Rebecca August 26, 2011 at 9:25 am

    I’m in NY too. Hope to meet you at some point!!

    Marian August 26, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Well wishes to your mother–many many well wishes.

    Issa August 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    First, I hope your mom will be okay. I’ll be sending her and you some good thoughts.

    Second? The thing about a personal blog, is that it’s personal. There are times when the words come flowing out and others where you just aren’t ready. This space is your home and when you are ready, it will still be here for you. Take your time. You’ll find your words again.

    Third? New York! That is freaking exciting. Congrats.

    Angella August 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Safe travels, Catherine. I’m only a couple of hours away if you need anything. HUGS.

    Hillary August 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Thoughts for you and your mom. Safe travels.

    And I can relate. I often write blog posts in my head and think about how I would have blogged about that in the past, but my voice has really changed over the past 2+ years, especially where I have other outlets.

    Love the new make-over (I think I’ve been reading you in my email) and I look forward to whatever you do share with us in the future.

    ~Hillary

    traceyclark August 27, 2011 at 2:12 am

    I cannot tell you how much I love and appreciate your words, your honesty, your images, your heart. Thinking of you and sending lots of love.

    Tanya H August 28, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Isn’t part of ‘growing up’ to be a great writer knowing when & what to edit? You’re discovering how much editing you want to do and I think it’s fantastic. Truth be told, I can’t WAIT to hear about your upcoming move and new job. Who am I kidding? I’m living vicariously through you on this one!

    Right now, though, I’m sending positive thoughts, prayers and pleas for inner strength on your behalf and that of your mother.

    Heather B. August 29, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I’m pretty excited that you are moving here. Also I owe you a very long thank you email but all of that aside – I am exactly where you are right now: I have stories to tell but no time to tell them or they require so much of me to tell them that I wonder if it’s worth it. But it will be good to get it all out.

    love to you.

    Kristen August 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    First, I wanted to extend my deepest love, in that “general-love-from-a-stranger-on-the-internet” sort of way, to you as you face whatever personal and private heartaches you are facing with both Tanner and your mother. I think each grief hits us differently. Sometimes we write through it as publicly and openly as possible to survive, and sometimes we must keep it private to survive.

    Second, I want you to know that I’d read just about anything you wrote. So write what you can, when you can, because it’s all brilliance to me.

    Leslie August 30, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Sorry, I asked on twitter if you were moving to New York and I missed this post where you announced it. Anyway, I’m upstate now but I moved to NYC from Canada almost 12 years ago. I love it here and sometimes can’t imagine living anywhere else. I see Canada differently now though, better, and I miss it. So sorry to hear about your Mom, I am going through that too, my Mom was just diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor. It sucks. I was able to write about it, but carefully, keeping to the facts and not delving too far into my personal emotions about it. She reads my blog, so. Anyway – I’m feeling you with this post. Hang in there, life sounds intense right now. Just focus on one day at a time and you will get through it. xo

    habanerogal August 31, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Wow so NYC that is pretty huge wishing you joy and success and Canada will always be here when you need to let your hair down

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