Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's amazing how easy it is for a 28 year old woman to hide behind a 5 month old baby

So here it is, I've been a mother for 5 months now and I'm already using the baby as an excuse. Who am I kidding, I've been using this baby as an excuse even before he was born. Even before he was conceived. My son is the reason I'm always tired. Though of course my mother (who returns home next week) is at the moment his primary care giver with me filling in the evening entertainment slot. My son is the reason I feel irritable and happy at the same time. He's the reason why I reach for that second hobnob. And the third. And the fourth. And then finish the entire pack. He's the reason, I tell myself I haven't written anything in the last six months (and let's be honest, posts on the state of post breastfeeding nipples and my own version of rock-a-bye baby don't count).

I tell myself that I will write when the writing comes. As though the writing will arrive unannounced in a snazzy suit one evening carrying my favourite flowers with a smiley greeting of "So shall we begin?"

I tell myself that I've been through a lot I deserve this time to do nothing, watch Oprah and read new age novels about American women who spend a year discovering themselves through meditation and tagliatelle.

I tell myself a lot of other crazy things too - like I'll write again when I've lost my baby weight... let's be really, really honest, that could take a lot lot longer.

So why I am not writing? I'm afraid to... a possible interest in my half finished manuscript was later rejected by a publisher. Of course, rejection is to be expected and it would have been very presumptuous of me to presume that I would never have to face that. But it's hard to get over... and it's hard to want to get over it. It's easier to stay scared. It's easier to not write anything. It's easier to not have to think about writing.

I'm not writing because I tell myself I don't know where to start. All my characters seem distant. All my stories seem limp and insipid. My old writing seems stilted.

I'm not writing because it's easier to just load another round of laundry, do another round of dishes or take the garbage out.
I'm not writing because it's just easier to blame the baby.

18 comments:

Falstaff said...

"it would have been very presumptuous of me to presume that I would never have to face that"

Yes, but that doesn't stop one from presuming does it? If we didn't believe that every submission was going to be the one that would get accepted we would never dare send anything out.

Personally, I find that the best way to deal with the hurt of rejection is to busy yourself putting together another submission. That way you don't dwell on it so much, and after a while you manage to convince yourself that the folks who rejected you didn't know what they were talking about and that this next submission will be the one.

For what it's worth, I, for one, wish you would start writing again.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of rejection letters.

Broom said...

isn't there a lot of precedence of extremely successful authors being rejected at first?
take that as your sign of sure shot success.
now go write.

Space Bar said...

Wait it out. Live with it. Drink tea. Watch the Boot become too big for his name. And write, even thought it's crap, even though you know you can't send it out or even bear to look at it again for a few years. Do the crossword. Sleep.

(You will notice I did not say Eat Pray Love. Since we're all presuming things, can I take it that's what New Age is about these days?)

Terri said...

Shoefie, at least you have a good excuse. What excuse does a woman a lot older than you with two school-going children and domestic help have? It's so much easier to blog surf than to write these days, even though mumbaigirl's "Write and it will come," rings in my ears all the time.

??! said...

If you listen very carefully, you'll realise that the Boot isn't really wailing 'waaaaaaa', but instead going 'whaaaaaa' (the fuck, write already, woman!)'.

Now, are you not going to listen to your little boy? Write already, woman!

radhika said...

i agree with falstaff's comment. and, as a been-there-done-that mother of a now-23-month old (gosh, where did all that time go!), i agree with space bar as well. i remember my teacher's (an author herself) words when i went to her one day, totally stressed out because i wasn't able to write. "you cannot write fiction when you are under (any kind of) pressure, so don't even think about it." just let go, rest, relax. don't feel guilty about it. let your brain chew the story till then, and then pour it all out.

if you see my posts these days, i'm just rambling away without a care. just my way of forcing some words out. about anything. after such a long silence, i have to accept that this crap too will come.

as for the rejection, congrats! you've passed the first hurdle. now get back to the race, girl. you already have a lot of readers for your to-be-published book :-)

radhika said...

forgot to add this:
read. read a lot.

it really works.
good luck! :-)

Terri said...

radhika, just wanted to let you know that you also have a ready reader when your book comes out ;)

Shyam said...

And I, for two, wish you would write again.

mumbaigirl said...

Bechara Baccha Boot.

Have you seen this:
"Realistically, however much men help with children, children are the problem of women, at least when they're little. Children emotionally disrupt ambitious women. Having had four children and written all these books I think I can say that it is manageable -- but what it takes out of you! And the constant adjustments you have to make -- from minute to minute, let alone from day to day. You just get a brilliant sentence and your child falls over in the playground and comes in covered with blood and you have to clean him. If what you want to do as a woman is something that requires you to appear in court or be in a lab until an experiment has come to its end, it's much worse. Writing is one of the few things that women have been able to juggle with a sex life that led to children."
http://www.salon.com/weekly/interview2960617.html

Arunima said...

today, I two bloggers write about why they don't to write and how they are not inspired but both were very good posts. One is this and the other is Kishore's. (http://dayswork.wordpress.com/)

Anonymous said...

HOY!!

Time for the rescue angel act!
u write awesome! publisher will come, y worry??

now i can only say,
Rock on baby!

page175 said...

the writing will come. it will. one day, in a snap. and then you won't be able to stop. (that's what i tell myself :D ... it works most of the time :D)

Nino's Mum said...

been there. hiding-behind-baby-wise. And it still makes me shudder. And have no pep-up tricks that work to share. but will say that i will be back to read more of the life you paint so poetically.

Sanjay Sipahimalani said...

As one who's fashioned a career out of making excuses to not write, I'd suggest you start reading the Paris Review author interviews...not only are they fascinating, they're very often inspiring.

All the best with the writing: I'm sure you'll be back to it sooner rather than later. Easy to say, I know, but keep the faith. It's a comma, not a full stop.

clemde@gmail.com said...

when u have to write you will !

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