Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Good things and bad things

  • I’m not sure how it happened, but I’ve fallen behind. I missed Week 1 of Finding Water; I missed Sunday Scribblings. I’m barely online. It’s not a good thing. I have been doing my pages and I even went on a mini artists date last week—a long stroller walk with Madam, a half hour browsing in a bookstore, and Mexican lunch out. I don’t exactly know if it filled my well, but it was wonderful to be out with her. See haiku below (inspired by that day, so maybe it DID refill my well).
  • I’m strangely consumed by some thing that is sapping my strength. Not illness, exactly, just…I can’t sleep at night. My mind races and I toss and turn (well, carefully, so as not to wake the lightly sleeping Madam).
  • One VERY good thing is that I am finally, FINALLY working on my novel again. Not just taking notes, not just ceremoniously circling my laptop, but actually daring to throw words on the screen. It’s taught me something, which I’m sharing here so I don’t forget it:
  • Even when the writing is BAD, it makes everything else feel better—like the weak limbed satisfaction of a good swim. It makes long days of laundry, dishes, diapers, tantrums, overworked TEG, not sleeping…it makes it ALL better.
  • I’m trying very very hard not attach anything else to the writing but the writing. I’m trying very very hard to silence that carping voice in my head, the Woman I Should Be—the one who is not only writing, but also embarking on a spiritual quest, spending time with a thriving community of artists and writers, wearing black velvet and elaborate hairdos, and traveling to India for chai and inspiration. She sees me working on ONE of the things on the list, writing, and immediately begins to punish me for not allowing her to breathe in the real world, for not allowing her to exist outside of my head.
  • I know I need to make friends with her, but for now, I’m just writing. Everything else can wait.
  • You should see us at parties.
  • Have I mentioned that my novel involves a great deal of Greek mythology? Which gives me an excuse to research and re-read them, always fun. Here is a poetry snippet that came to me while I was deeply dreaming about Persephone and Demeter.

Red seed of earth
Touches tongue, flares
An ember
Hot then dark
Burning with the inevitable
Between mother and her.

All is not as it was.
The dread clings to the daughter’s hair like smoke
Her face, the same, and not.
Demeter watches
Grief falls on her face in tired lines
Old words impotent
Fall to the floor like eggs
Persephone wants to crawl back into her mother’s eyes,
To speak again with the Mother’s mouth

But the blood red seed has taken root
In the maiden mouth
And sows the Unsayable on her tongue

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Blogger Frida World said...

Good and bad things indeed.

I'm thrilled to read about you writing, and I love how you write about writing. I am sure you'll make friends with that woman inside you - with all her wonderful and outrageous ideas, but for now you seem to be the woman in charge. Yay.

But on the matter of not sleeping all my alarms start ringing. I don't want to project my issues on to you but it has become a clear pattern in my life that if I lose my sleep for an extended number of days then I become extremely vulnerable to the black dog or even more mild forms of the blues.

I have all these tricks for recovering my sleep habit (restorative yoga at night, the little worry dolls that Alex sent me, establishing routines preceeding bed etc) but I can never predict which, if any, will work.

I don't know if this is a "warning flag" for you or not, but if it is then let me know if you'd like more detail on the sleep tips I've accumulated over the years.

And BTW that poem has piqued my curiosity - I am looking forward to more sips from the wellspring feeding your novel.


2:15 AM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Cate said...

I loved every part of this post, esp. the description of your "family" and the phrase "ceremoniously circling my laptop" (I seem to do a lot of that).

You are a wonderfully, gifted writer with so many things interesting things to say. I'm thrilled to read about your journey! xo

P.S. It's a fabulous thing when our children get old enough to go on "dates" with us--bookstores and Mexican food--you can't beat that!

6:47 AM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Ally Bean said...

Life is such an ebb and flow, isn't it? I'm glad to know that you're back to writing and that you're back to blogging. Your writer's date sounds refreshing to me. And your literary family is just great.

6:59 AM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Leah said...

beautiful words!! i know what you mean about the sleep. perhaps you just have a lot of things percolating within you that are keeping you up.

it sounds like your doing wonderfully in so many ways, poems and writing on your novel, this is fantastic! keep telling that nagging voice to take a hike and follow your creative heart where it's leading you. ((hugs))

11:04 AM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger earnest and game said...

Oh that artist's date out sounds so lovely-glad to know that the weather is permitting excursions. Always glad to hear of your adventures. Xoxoxo

2:00 PM, February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Literary Bohemian said...

Just remember- The Journey is the Destination. Something from my Yoga CD that I want to share with you. She says, "At the same time that you'll never be perfect, you already are."

Writing is a journey. Just showing up at the page takes so much courage. You already are that woman inside, now your journey is to manifest her.

You're doing fabulous!

3:39 PM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Sophie said...

I can hear your creative gust of
life pulsing away in this post and
it is wonderful!

I also would choose Fitzgerald as my ...grandfather actually.
And Collette as his wife.


4:18 PM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Amber said...

Keep writing, keep writing.
Push those feelings that you "should" be more right away as soon as they happen.


12:10 AM, March 01, 2007  
Blogger Rach said...

Glad you are writing again. I love your new family, that would be one fantastic party indeed. Hope that your sleeping settles down, I had the same thing recently and it just went all on it's own.

5:11 AM, March 01, 2007  
Anonymous tammy vitale said...

Loved the literary family thing, esp Ann Rice as dodgy old aunt. How appropriate.
I've done a lot of work with Persephone and Demeter - well, with Demeter. I love that story. Much of my work, in fact, is based in Greek mythology including much of my poetry. Loved the poem

3:38 PM, March 01, 2007  
Blogger wendy said...

I love the poem.Love LOve LOVE the poem.

9:53 PM, March 01, 2007  
Blogger Jessie said...

if i ever get published and become famous can i please, please, please become one of your long lost cousins?? oh, that would be so much fun! in the meantime, we need to get together sometime soon. i just finished reading Week 3 of Finding Water and it talks all about the importance of friendships and so of course i was thinking about you all day long! i'm recovering from the flu right now (can you believe that i got sick AGAIN!)...but soon, very soon...let's get together. i miss you!

9:27 PM, March 02, 2007  
Blogger Alexandra S said...

This is really, really wonderful news Monica for your talents are vast and magnificent. (BTW, I owe you an email- its coming soon!) And I love the idea of a literary family. Off the top of my head I am inviting Susan Wooldridge, YOU!, SARK, Natalie Goldberg, Robert Bly, Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor, Philip Pullman, & Roger Housden. I want to check out that book- it sounds good! I'm feeling like I want to read some new writing books lately too. I just saw one that looked good too in case you are interested-its aimed for kids but I think I'll like it too-its called Writing Magic by Levine.

10:22 AM, March 04, 2007  
Blogger liz elayne said...

well, i am so coming over for a play date because william stafford is my..well...i think guru, teacher, wisdom guider...

i hope the writing has continued to blossom...and i hope that the woman i should be voice is quieter (silenced even?). you are enough. this is what i will look you in the eyes and tell you when i come over for a play date.

you are enough.

12:12 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger paris parfait said...

I'm so pleased you're working on your novel and silencing that inner critic! As for lack of sleep, that's been happening to me all this year - I think it's because my head is full of ideas and can't get them all out fast enough - then I have bizarre dreams. Fascinating poem, which goes along with the Rome DVDs my husband and I have been watching.

12:28 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

A BIG 'Well Done' for all of the things you are achieving, doing an artist's date, writing so eloquently, expanding creatively and being a mother. A tough one, having a newborn... I'm amazed you get so much done!

I love your litery family! Makes me want to think up my own...

As for not sleeping, I didn't get much sleep for about 2 years after my son was born (not that this will necessarily be the case for you though...) but it taught me to rest when I could and not to push myself too hard (which I usually do).

How fab, having your little one with you for the AD - precious times, enjoy! E

2:09 PM, March 06, 2007  
Blogger kate said...

I love this: "like the weak limbed satisfaction of a good swim." That's gorgeous, lady, and so, so true.

6:21 PM, March 06, 2007  

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