Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lola, and Writers as Parents

Lola Moon (left in picture) is six years old and one of the funniest people I have ever known. She is a true original. Her age assures that her comments and her person are unfiltered and pure.

At home playing dolls:

' Dear, we are having a baby clown. Yes, I know this is a surprise, but you'll get used to it. '

She is a wisecracker from time ago. She plays ' tricks '.
On April Fools Day she waited for me to get dressed.
I put on my shoes and felt a sharp jab. On inspection I saw that she had put a rock in each of my shoe. ' April Fools
Mommy! '

She calls farts ' flabbergasting '. Her idea, not ours.

She is a great mimic, like most kids this age. She makes songs on the piano:
' i know love will keep us clear / i know it's hard to hear ' in honor of Hannah Montana.

She shares with her brothers under strict rule: ' If I give you a bite of this, you have to share nicely with me next time, and I'm not asking twice. '

She asked me: ' Is my skin always going to be white or do you take turns being black or something? ' Now THERE is an idea for the ages.

I just adore her every aspect. I think often on being a writer and a mother because so many of the stories I read pursue the writing as the thing, really the ONLY thing, the Great Motivator.
However I have a great talent if I will only keep learning and sharpening it, and this seems to conflict with great parenting when it comes to writers, or at least our perception of them. I love my writing, and I have been writing since I was six and wrote my play ' The Sun and the Moon '. (Already making use of these timeless muses :) ) However writing will not calm my heart when I am terrified to the core. Writing does not keep my soul still when it is sorrowful. Writing is a release and a joy and a burden and a great working and a love. But my children are the essence of the meaning of life as I understand it: love in action. It is the first great essential for poetry. Who can imagine a poet without passions? I am conducting a great experiment- can I be a devoted and wonderful mother and a devoted and wonderful writer?

I am not a mother without interest outside my children. ( This should be obvious by now ;)
and I do not place my entire existence around that great label of Mother. However, I know that
loving my children in heart and action, and to paraphrase C.S. Lewis ( I am not religious ) ' sharpening my soul against the great blade ', makes me a finer person and a person more deeply satisfied with my life.

I suffered through a difficult childhood. It was made clear to me from the beginning of life what the essentials were, and although as I said, I have always needed and loved to write, I knew it was not enough, or first.

Do I believe that having children is the only way to do this? Of course not. It is the way I found the opening, the tear in the fabric that had been around me, and birthed myself messy into the world. For others it is caring for grandparents, or an ill friend, or their work in UNICEF- but I do believe that the life that so many writers are famous for living is essentially hollow. It does not keep them safe. None of us are ' safe '. We all come in and go out. The thing is- how fat and healthy can we make our souls as to survive the great and small deaths life brings, and how do we go about doing so? When an artist slavishly devotes to their art, it is of great benefit for the rest of us, but it feels cannibalistic. A person cannot keep shaving off parts of themselves without revival, or they do hollow themselves out to a point of great suffering. Love must come and go like the tides refreshing the shore. We dry out easily. In the end to die with handfuls of your papers stuffed in your hands and a look of terror on your face is hardly satisfying and it's not enough. ( Can you tell I just read Savage Beauty?) The art itself is not enough. Love has to come first.

check out this blog about Little Warrior. the blog is run by the mother of a cutie patootie three year old going her second bout with cancer, and encourages acts of kindness in her daughter's name.
Emily A. Benton said...

flabbergasting. that's hilarious!

I don't know if I will have kids one day, but I do agree that to shut ourselves off from others for the sake of art is not necessarily the life that will make good art.

Chandini Santosh said...

Parenting. WOW!

I parent my husband, that's about all.

Talia Reed said...

Great post. I never wanted children, (and I don't plan on having any more) but when Hadley came along, a whole new dimension of myself was formed and everything else seemed so pitifully unimportant.

Persiljas Hus said...

I have four children. And now when I have them, they are the meening of my life. Totally. My priority list is the children, the children, the children, the children, the dog, and then everything else. BUT I think I have difficulties to be a "STAR" of something else during the active motherhood. To little time, so much sacrifying. I´m simply too tired. But then again, I´ve never been so inspired, so creative. And that´s because of my love for them. They make me grow up to the sky. But they are eating my time up. So it´s definitily a twisted experience. Sorry of my english! (I´ts more Swenglish I guess...;D)

You can see my other blog with a lot more pictures (but swedish text) on

Liz said...

Lola looks and sounds gorgeous : )

Nice post, Maggie, I'm not a mum
but don't feel any the less fulfilled because of not having kids...(and I love kids in a big way...)at the end of the day it's all about getting the most out of the moment, life, oneself and others around us.


P.Viktor said...

Writing is a dangerous trade, and you have to keep that in ego and desire to live fully and authentically in check. I mean, those are good things for a writer, but we still need to be pragmatic when washing the dishes or taking out the rubbish. It would be good solid advice to anyone who lets the depression and misery that provides them with such good material for overcoming them and consuming them in a way that Plath did. It is a balance - not an easy one, but a necessary one!

Anonymous said...

Your page is really beautiful. Thanks for visiting mine.

Anonymous said...

Something happened to my comment--it disappeared. You have a beautiful site. The little girls are adorable. I haven't gotten to writing a sonnet yet--not since college. I think my old sonnets might make people run away:) Good luck and have fun!

light,Danielle said...

i love Millay... it is a great book.

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