April (Rambling) Fragments
Hey! It's April! I like April because after April comes May, and I love May. My birthday is in May, and after that come June and July, and we all know that after July comes August. I am going back home in August!!! Good times.
But the best of times in NOW, and now I am in a strange yet pleasant nesting mode, which basically means that (for once) I am buying furniture and home decor and pretty things instead of practical stuff for the kids. I think the idea is to run ALL THE ERRANDS and get everything I need to be done, done; so when the kids start school full time in the summer I could finally devote my time to writing. It's just too easy to spend my days off on mundane domestic chores (well, not really easy; it's physically hard and intellectually numbing but when the mess in RIGHT THERE I find it harder to step over it and ignore it rather than tidying up), and I get caught in a game of catch up way too often.
With small kids it seems that there's always something left unfinished, something or other - postponed, something forgotten, and I hate the feeling of being behind. And I don't mean motherhood; while I resent the menial and routine part of it I realize very well that it is necessary and I am actually very good at it. What I am not on top of at the moment are the things outside motherhood. My brain, for instance. You see, motherhood is demanding is so many ways. It's physically exhausting, emotionally challenging, it messes up with your self-image, it's taxing on your social life, it's devastating financially, and it puts a huge strain on your romantic relationship. I can deal with those things well but I still struggle with it intellectually.
Motherhood hijacks my thoughts - thoughts I used to devote to so many various topics before I had to devote to making grocery lists and scheduling doctors appointments. I don't just like to think; I need to. I am a cerebral being. Not necessarily in the bookish or erudite sense, but more intuitively so. My creative process stems from - and depends on - having feelings and desires and memories and goals and ideas and experiences which I am to describe with language, trace in chronology, connect in a narration, organize in composition, put together in a story, make sense of in perspective, test their value, analyze their meaning...
It takes everything to do that. It takes time, a certain special state of mind, concentration and persistence, integrity and most of all the motivation that it is all worth it somehow. That what I have to say is interesting and valuable, and that the energy I am spending to say it is well used. Is writing a 5 000 word story about my past life in Bulgaria a better way to use my time than doing a week-worth of laundry? In an ideal world this question would be moot. But in my world, right now, in April, with two small boys, it is a very valid question.
Photography doesn't require thinking, not in my case, as I am not a technical or even a conceptual photographer to begin with. I take photos because it is the one creative thing I can easily do without having to sit down in a quiet locked room alone and think myself to oblivion or to enlightenment, whichever comes first.
Day to day chores never seize. Sure there always be more laundry, sick kids, school events and soccer practices. But when I finally find myself alone in that quiet room come fall I want to know that Operation Family is running smoothly outside that door. I want to know that I have done my job and now I am free to pursue my passion. That nothing pressing or essential is left unfinished, postponed, forgotten.
My hope is to finish the tasks I had left from ever since I was first caught in the baby bubble: set up a desk and proper lighting, provide soccer gear and school supplies, clean up and restock the toy chest and the book nooks, sort out the closets, make the house comfortable and practical so that when I am in the writing bubble I would able to stay there for as long as I need to, guilt free, focused, devoted. I will need all the brain power I could muster...and what's worse than motherhood turning your brain into mush is turning it off altogether.
I am not sure if nesting and new furniture will magically jump-start my creative juices (I am not counting on it) but I am sure that it will be considerably easier to write about stuff like what the fall of the Berlin Wall did to my country in the 90's, or about spiraling into darkness under the strobe lights at a rave party in the 00's, or about my stint in the Police Force, or about so many other things - banal and cathartic - if I am not worried whether or not the makeshift shelf we had since six years ago will fall on my kids and put them in a hospital.
Anyway, I am rambling. That's the guilt of the "perfect parent" talking. One needs to justify every action that's not related to the well-being of one's kids. Massive nesting syndrome provoked by my plan to go away from my kids for thee weeks and to return to work afterwards - work that unlike photography won't pay for at least two-three years. I just care too much. About my kids and about my writing.
Guys, I don't event want a career, I just want to use my brain a lot and to tell good stories. And to be a good mom. That's all.