Friday, November 23, 2007

Writing, Raising Children: Heart of this Blog

"My upstairs neighbor, mother of three, lives in a chronic extremity of demand that I witness from below as a kind of human storm. I do not think she would want to read poems that posit the singular solitary investigations of the privileged 'I' of lyric poetry."
Ann Lauterbach, The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of Experience

I, poet and mother of three children under the age of seven, read this passage and laughed, recognizing that I am in fact both women Lauterbach describes, inhabiting one body. I have been living in the center of the human storm, biding my time until I could gradually return to my former passion of writing. To pass the time while my middle child raged in his room enthralled in tantrum throwing boots and shoes at the door I held closed with one hand, I began a habit of calming myself by grabbing random books down off my bookshelf and turning to the author bios: High Tide in Tucson, by Barbara Kingsolver: she has one child, published writer. Tombs of Atuan, Ursula Le Guin: three children. Mary Karr: Liar's Club: one child.

The process of writing, then, and the raising of my children, braided together, is the intended terrain of this blog. I belong to my children by day but the nights are mine (or will be mine once my youngest sleeps through the night). With one child in first grade, the second balking at preschool, and the third about to turn two, I resurfaced from motherhood long enough to find a fellow Mom-writer (Elizabeth) who gave me The Night Sky to read. We met at the park, sharing our grad school writing histories (MFA from Iowa Writers' Workshop ten plus years back; she: MFA from Bard roughly same time frame), while our boys kicked a soccer ball and my girl climbed trees, long enough to ascertain we'd pick out one night a week to leave the kids with the husbands so we could look at one another's work. How does one write, descending into the feral depths of the psyche, write well, and raise one's little people (with their equally feral demands), and raise them well, without one process compromising or eclipsing the other?