One. When my first novel was deferred, my agent said, write your next one, we’ll come back to your first. Next one? I thought. One was difficult enough. And yet- I forced myself to write. Some days it was downright depressing, but over time it got easier, and soon enjoyable as the characters showed me their spirit, the story guiding me along. For the past six months, every time Waleed napped, I wrote. Between diaper changes, feedings, and laundry, I wrote. And now its done. I’m still not used to this as I found myself today, instinctively opening my laptop upon nap-time, only to remember, its done. The process of writing fiction has been amazing and I’d go so far as to say that the first novel’s deferment is a mixed blessing as this second one is a stronger piece of work simply because I learned so much in the process and am better for it. Now, as I look at a third manuscript I drafted some time back, I feel not dread, but anticipation at creating new characters, and new worlds. The fear of ‘can I do this again’ is gone because yes, I can. Will any of my work see the light of publication? I hope with all my heart, insh’Allah, they will but while I wait, I will write. This was a week off from writing [hence four blog posts in a week, yowzers], but next week? back to work, writing when he naps, when he sleeps, and all the spare snatches of time in between.
Two. Though Hurricane Andrew is many years behind me, strong gusts of wind blowing just so through the trees rapping against a window can take me back to August 1992 as if I’m huddled in a hallway with my family, our world literally crashing around us. These past few weeks we’ve had severe thunderstorms. Tornado terrifying thunderstorms. They come in the dead of the night cracking thunder like a thousand splintering trees, and lightening that illuminates the peaceful dead-of-night world into anything but. As long as we have each other, that’s all that matters, my parents said as we surveyed what was once our home. As much as I dislike the dramatic fanfare of Nancy Grace, she recently spoke of her brush with cancer, once I found out I didn’t have cancer- I haven’t had a bad day since. ‘Having each other’ is something I sometimes take for granted as I look at things to do, things undone, but today as I look out at the dark foreboding clouds, and anticipate the gusts that will once again steal my sleep, I am trying to focus not on the fear of that August 1992 morning, but instead my parent’s words, this too shall pass, as long as we have each other it will be okay.
Three. A while back I heard someone say, it must be nice to be a stay-at-home mom. I wish I could just read books, and exercise all day! Huh? Sometimes I feel on the go from the moment I get up until I put him down to bed. There’s always something I should be doing and guilt if I’m not doing it. Due to the storms of the night before, I’ve been exhausted today in a way I haven’t for months. I thought of all the things to do and suddenly, I just couldn’t. I pushed away the guilt, and self-recriminations and lay down, right on the family room rug, surrendering to my exhaustion; the television off, the phone ringing unanswered in the distance, [sorry if it was you calling]. I let the fan run over me and feel my body sink into the rug while my son as though tethered to me by an invisible rope, crawled over me, sat on my head, spotted my belly button and poked a finger, laughing hysterically. And I realized I don’t do this enough. This sitting for an unhurried amount of time absorbing the lightness of his being. Not since he was a newborn and ‘they’ [whoever ‘they’ are] said it was okay to let the house go to hell, have I just allowed myself an unhurried amount of time to simply be with him without guilt like a noisy parrot on my shoulder reminding me of the things left undone. I want more time like today with him, large swathes of unhurried time, not bathing him, not feeding him, just being with him, taking in his joy, letting it settle into my soul. There should be no guilt in this time together, simply more of it.
So in Sum: Manuscripts done and undone, keeping focus despite ominous clouds, and the unhurried enjoyment of my son. A beautiful Thursday indeed. Hope you had a great day too.