Where's the village?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I used to pride myself on my eloquence and writing style. I used to think, "Anyone can write well. People think it's so great that I write well. It's just because I read a lot, and I absorb the styles of the people I read. And I just write the way I think." I was humbly smug, and smugly humble.

I used to write poetry, keep a journal. I wrote a freaking 90-page thesis for my senior project in college. (To be fair, so did just about everyone else there.) My boyfriend (the future dajadaddy) kept telling me I should write novels. I even entertained the notion.

What happened? Now when I read something provoking -- whether online, like I Blame the Patriarchy or Body Impolitic, or offline, like The Ghost in the House or Perfect Madness -- all I have is this roiling mess of emotions and random snippets of phrases floating around in my head. I can't seem to grok it, to really express what I'm thinking or feeling. It took me three months to write a book review for a local newsletter.

Have I dumbed down? Am I not reading enough? Am I too exhausted from being a 24/7, total-immersion mother? Do I not have enough intellectual outlets? Am I so actively repressing frustration or anxiety or disappointment that I can't even put a coherent paragraph together without losing it? Am I too used to talking to a toddler? Am I just out of practice? Is this a symptom of my depression?

No answers are forthcoming. And the questions are drowning out the thought-provoking thoughts I'm trying to be thinking.


At 12:28 AM, Blogger Devra said...

You may be suffering from what I call "paralysis by analysis". It happens from time to time and is a normal part of parenting. More so now that the Internet allows us to google on our deepest worries and concerns.

But if you have questions about the depression stuff, you might want to visit Tracy Thompson's blog "Maternally Challenged". I bet she'd love to see you!

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Joyce said...

I vote for depression. It seems to suck all the stuff out of a person that you can be really confident about. It will come back. You are still you, underneath the current cloud.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger dajamama said...

Thanks to both of you. It's probably a combination of all of the above, plus a little extra. Why blame one thing for your problems when you can blame 12? ;)

It's nice to know there's support out there.

At 12:46 AM, Blogger laurie toby edison said...

First of all, thanks for the compliment to Body Impolitic. Deb and I really appreciated it.

I don't know if this helps but when I get overwhelmed my mantra is "life is a long time". All your talent is still there but there are times when it's harder for it to emerge and it sounds like you have lots of good reasons for that, but you do have time.

Good luck with your work.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger dajamama said...

And thank you for the response, Laurie. I'm still new to this blog thing and I do a little happy wiggle whenever I get a comment. :)

I really like your mantra and will shamelessly borrow it in the future.

At 3:47 PM, Anonymous nathan said...

God, I know what you mean. I consider myself a writer (smiles) but since the baby came along (he's 5 now) in college, my writing has seriously taken a turn for the ... um, well.... void of non-existance.

I've always wanted to write a novel, but found that I couldn't keep focused long enough, or have enough solid chunks of time, to actually do it.

So I've been writing 1 chapter at a time and posting them on my blog - I'd heard that Dickens did that with Great Expectations (with a newspaper rather than a blog, mind you) and it's been working really well for me.

But screeming toddlers and the often overwhelming feelings of losing your identity to parenting can definitely be drag on this sort of thing.

Good job at least just keeping the blog going. I don't know how old your child is, but I found that it gets easier and easier every year as they get to be a little more self-sufficient. Though, I've heard there's a curve and somewhere around 13 they start to become more and more of a pain. :)

At 10:30 PM, Blogger dajamama said...

Thanks, Nathan. I'm re-discovering, after the cameraderie of NBPM dies away, that I need to do this just because it's good for me.

BTW, the dajamou is 4. A very very very needy 4.



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