10 December 2008

Pregnant Pause

Oh this poor, neglected blog. It's like stumbling upon a ghost town here, isn't it? And not like a Barkerville ghost town. There are signs that there once was life in these parts, but has become neglected and is simply lost potential.

I think there are two reasons why this has happened. This blog was originally created to talk about happenings with my book of poetry, and it being a book a poetry, there weren't a lot of happenings to write about. But the other reason, probably the truer reason (as there were book things I failed to write about), is I simply didn't have time. I am now a mother of two boys and any moment I get to myself, I try to use to write poetry. Right now, time is so precious I didn't want to use it on this blog.

But things are going to change in the new year.

I'm starting a new year-long project here on motherhood and writing, a subject I've been very interested in for a few years now. Not surprisingly, my interest coincided with my own first pregnancy, and it has built remarkably since the birth of my second child. I've had many, many conversations with my friends--some writers, some mothers, some neither--on this topic, but I'm never satisfied. I think I'm searching for reassurance, some proof, that it can be done; a woman can be both successful as a writer and a mother.

There are so few satisfying examples of this. For hundreds of years, women just were not invited to the table, so to speak. How could they? They were too busy raising children. The early examples of accomplished women writers were childless--Jane Austen, The Brontë sisters, Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Beatrix Potter, et cetera, et cetera.

It seems like a relatively new thing, balancing motherhood and writing. There are plenty of examples of women who did it 'wrong', women like Sylvia Plath who ended up with her head in the oven, or Margaret Laurence who turned to alcohol and neglect. Women like that leave interesting biographies, but don't instil much confidence or inspiration.

But it's more than wanting to be inspired. I don't need another SuperMom story to make me feel incompetent. I think what I'm craving is a dialogue with other writing-mothers, an honest dialogue where I hear how they do it, where they reveal the dark moments as well as the triumphs.

And that, dear readers, is what I hope this project will do. Every second week in 2009 I will post an interview will a writing-mother. She will have a new born. She will have teenagers. She will have kids in middle school. She will have one child. She will have four. She is a poet. A novelist. A screenwriter. A playwright. She writes for children. She writes for magazines. She writes. She has no time to write. She is at the beginning of her career. She is award-winning. She is unknown. She is celebrated. She writes and she mothers and she will tell you how she does it and how rewarding and difficult and frustrating and loving and struggling it is.

Every second week we will read their words. In the off-time, I hope to be a little more active here and post other stories on this topic. I'm mostly doing this project for myself, but I know that I'm not the only writing-mother out there who is interested in this. Perhaps this project will gain a readership, an active one who will leave comments and engage. I hope so.