Saturday, August 21, 2010
Part 2: The Birth of a Writer
I began writing and drawing at a young age. I bore my own children young, birthing my first at 20. There was a period of 10 years where my writing and my children shared scant space. My writing starved, but my children thrived and my creativity found outlet in changing knitting patterns and sewing quilts, adding my own mark to everything I made. This happened for many reasons, not because I was sacrificing myself for my children, but rather I couldn't figure out how writing fit into the mold of who I was supposed to be, what I thought was excepted. I didn't know how to be both and would later find I didn't in fact know myself.
I don't regret this time, it simply was. When I think of the path my life might have followed if I'd kept writing when I was first married and had children I know my writing would not me the same as it is now - it would lack the depth and knowledge of my experiences within the drawer. Just as people who bear children when they are older parent differently than those who bore theirs earlier in life, my writing would have developed differently.
No two writers write the same, every artist's work is distinctive to it's creator in some way and yet takes on a life of it's own; two pieces only being alike in the same way all children are children. Each of my children is uniquely individual with their own characteristics, likes, dislikes and temperament. This can also be said for each of my stories. Most develop in the womb of my mind in a similar fashion, but they all differ in essence, design and their needs during their up bringing. Some are easy and others I have a more difficult time with, those ones fight me all the way with temper tantrums and arguments, but they're often worth it; they're the ones that teach me something and help take my writing to the next level.
Some writers wait until their children are grown to take up the pen; for me, waiting almost killed me - I cannot do that again. Instead, I'm among those who manage to find a way to birth and raise stories along with children synchronously. There are many challenges to overcome and many hurdles to vault to accomplish goals and achieve some kind of balance between it all. I don't believe it's easy for any of us. I do it because both make up a large part of who I am and what's important to me; knowing in the end both my stories and my children will step into the world and if I've done a good job they will stand on their own.
Carrying, birthing and raising a story is as much as part of me as carrying my children was when I was expecting. There are sacrifices, decisions and priorities. It's physically and emotionally draining and one learns to live with being tired some days. Insomnia often strikes as the story begins mid-night calisthenics with ideas flowing forward as it stretches and kicks me into getting up and madly writing in my notebook. I know from experience if I don't do this and just enjoy the feeling of all these great thoughts I'll spent the next 3 weeks trying to recall them and they will never be as vivid or as perfect as this moment of clarity, no two moments, sentences or thoughts being alike. And so I write them down and later tweak them, rewriting them and adding to them until they are complete whole beings.
I loved being pregnant. I love my children; to create is to breath and to write is akin to being with child - It's simply part of who I am.
Note: The black and white photo's ones I took of my youngest son playing at the park (summer 2009). The colour photo of me at the bottom was taken by my friend Jerome.