Finding My Way Back

I’ve never been good at multi-tasking. For some people, this just means they are really good at being present and make the most of every moment. But for me, it often means I’m just a frenzy of distraction, feeling pulled between multiple sources and not focusing enough on what’s in front of me. Since completing my MFA in 2011, I haven’t found much time to write, and there have been a host of things to blame–full-time jobs that required most of my creative energy, a high-risk pregnancy that left me with room only for worry, freelance clients, and now a darling little one year old whose needs constantly change. These are all things that have an appropriate claim on my time, and I do believe that our creative energies can manifest in many ways and it doesn’t take from who we are as artists. As someone who practices multiple art forms, I find I don’t tend to do all of them at once, instead I might focus heavily on one for awhile, which in turn inspires me to switch to another; but I trust my mind to keep a fluid channel between them, and hope that one will enrich another over time. And I have found that parenting itself is a creative act (and pregnancy and birth of course) honed that energy into something so much bigger and taught me to pay attention in a very unique way.

I’m pretty good at giving myself permission to take time away from writing or art making, and I do think that permission is necessary at times. But lately it feels more like an excuse to not make what I need to be making. So, I’m trying to return to poetry. For the past few months when I really have not had enough time or mind space to write beyond a line or two here and there, I’ve used reading to create little stepping stones to get me closer. I’ve been drawn especially to other mother-writers, learning how mothering has informed their writing, and sometimes how writing has informed their mothering. (I’ve logged some quotes I return to on my Tumblr here.) My poems have always had a more lyric bent rather than following any clear narrative, but especially in the last couple months of my pregnancy, and when I’ve tried to write since having a baby, I find myself trying to give form to this new way of being, loving, relating. One poem has been trying to come out since the first night I brought Alma home, and the title and a few lines are certain, but the rest has not found its proper shape. It’s time to write more regularly despite my disappointments at what ends up on the page, to write past (or through) all of that and beyond all the immediate needs and demands of my everyday life. To turn excuses into reasons to write anyway, to discover new language, new sounds and forms. Different fractures and fragments, but still a suturing together, a collage to find new meaning.

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