Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm Still Still Here

I'm having a sort of existential blog crisis, though. I got out of the habit of blogging while all the bad stuff with my pregnancy and baby T. was going on (he's doing very well now, by the way). Now I've been caught up in Facebook and I begin to wonder: was I blogging just because I wanted people to pay attention to me? Because so far the lure of putting all my best stuff up for the whole world to see and getting 12 readers a day, 11 of whom were searching for "Charlie Brown argh" or "my memory has just been sold," pales in comparison to posting about my television habits and getting five sparkling responses from people I know.

What's more, I've been inspired by Umami Girl, who has a blog with a more focused subject and is committed to a year of...well, read about it here, because I think I know what she means but I can't describe it. Some of my friends experienced the birth of a baby as an attack on their identity as an individual. I never felt that way--at least, not to the point of resenting it--but Umami Girl and I both have new babies, and there's nothing like a baby to make you think "Who am I, besides Mommy?" Or maybe, on a more practical note, a baby makes you think, "In my five spare seconds a day, what can I do that makes me feel like myself?"

So what's my thing? Remember when Dylan chose Kelly over Brenda on 90210 and he said, "It's you. It's always been you."? No? Well, anyway, it's writing; it's always been writing. So here's what I'm going to do:
  • I'm going to commit to revising my book for a certain period of time each day. I wish I could pick a particular time of day, but there's a young gentleman here who, as Anne Lamott so memorably said, is like a clock radio set to go off at random times playing heavy metal.
  • I'll return to posting a Thursday poetry podcast, and that's about all the blogging I'm going to do right now.
  • I will write one poem a week, so when New Criterion and TLS have their contests later this year, I have something to enter that isn't 18 years old.
One more thing: I don't believe in blaming one's parents for one's life. But today I was telling my mother what I had learned about one of my high school classmates (via Facebook, natch), who seems to lead an idyllic existence doing what she has always wanted to do. I observed that it must be nice to be artistic in the absence of academic pretensions, so you can hit the ground running instead of spending eight-plus years worrying about your grades in absolutely everything. She countered that the hypothetical person in question must also be single-minded in pursuit of her art. But, but...who did everything they could to deflect me from any single-mindedness I might possibly have had, and tried to steer me toward something safe? And can I now pursue single-mindedness when my life as a mother and a housewife is so...generalized?

What do you think, those readers who did not come here in search of J. Geils Band lyrics? Discuss.


umami girl said...

Hey, MomVee - thanks for the link!

I think about single-mindedness a lot, and not just in these newborn times of single-handedness. A thousand years ago, in high school, I could sit down at the piano and not get up until I'd learned to play "We Didn't Start the Fire" by ear. (Try not to be jealous of the awesomeness. Or, now that I think of it, the terrific irony of that choice of song for this story.) Since then, though, that kind of focus really does not come naturally. I can't figure out whether having it was the side-effect of all the adolescent hormonal nonsense, or whether the lack of it is a side-effect of the liberal arts and multi-tasking training that followed. Either way, I'm not sure humanity has suffered much from my failure to cover Maroon 5 in the basement during law school; but it's hard not to pine for the simplicity sometimes.

I really do hope you continue blogging on a broad spectrum, though, because sometimes you are super-creepy-astute, in the best possible way. Umami Girl is the direct result of a craving for a little pocket of focus. The craving is a result of a decade of taking liberal arts to the extreme - always choosing the self-improvement path on the decision tree over the one that came more naturally, and ending up in a totally unrecognizable place, both professionally and, sometimes, in that pesky internal monologue. Through it all, there's been one constant clue about the subject I should focus on (and I am not fictionalizing in the least): every time I brainstorm anything, ever, the first thought I have is "pizza." Not so much that I want some, just that there it is. Pizza.

We'll see what comes of all this, though it's worth noting that I took a break in the middle of writing this to nurse the baby, make a pot of oatmeal, and check out the preschooler's pretend seat belt slash hazardously short pretend jump rope....

Peter said...

Wait, there's no centerfold here?

Fresca said...

I actually found your blog because, in true modern fashion, I am avoiding work by browsing through bloggers who list some of the same Favorite Movies on their profiles as I do---in this case, "Metropolitan."

I felt moved to respond to this with something inspiring from Martha Beck, writer (of personal coaching type stuff, with a spiritual and humorous slant) and mother. Beck was struggling to finish her PhD dissertation after the birth of her third child, I think it was, and decided she would write just one hour a day. Nothing happened. So she cut it to half an hour. Still nothing. So she cut it to 15 minutes a day, and that she could and did do!

Though I have no kids, I am a champion procrastinator (a skill nicely honed by the blogosphere) and I can entirely relate.

Good luck with everything!