Saturday, October 21, 2006

motherhood and creative immersion

For 20 years (gulp) I’ve juggled the mommy-writer thing. Since my youngest child is seven, this will be going on for a while longer. Like right now, as I’m thinking about this essay, tapping it into my laptop, my son is crayoning beside me, scribbling his way through a music lesson, whereby he needs to identify notes and color spaces accordingly. The worksheet is an Ali Baba sort of thing. A happy boy atop a camel.

He asked me, just a minute ago, “Is there a such thing as a half person-half horse?”

Teachable moments abound, yes? “Well, there’s the Centaur,” I tell him. Then realize that we need a book of myths in this house. Why don’t we have a book of myths? And why don’t I remember the myth of the Centaur? Crap.

During this twenty-year odyssey, I've attended my share of soccer games and Disney movies and PTA meetings. But it’s not as though my creative immersion is necessarily interrupted by one after another prosaic barb; what competes with sinking into the ethereal world of story is often an equally compelling and creative invitation. The distraction of a child’s burgeoning fabulism is so enticing.

What can, for instance, abandoning my own work in favor of chasing the Centaur teach me? Where will it lead? Certainly, this invitation will inform the day’s events and, by extension, my own work.

Kids are the Zeitgeist of the universe fantastic. Realist that I am, had I not had children, my days would be devoid of these circuitous forays into wonder, and my work, I know, would have suffered. But I must go now, for there is a soccer game to attend.

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