“There is never enough time for writing; it is a parallel universe where the days, inconveniently, are also 24 hours long. Every moment spent in one’s real life is a moment missed in one’s writing life, and vice versa.” –Gish Jen
I’ve been writing a blog since October 1, 2010 – a mere two and a half months. In that time, writing has bestowed a different lens through which I view my experience. The friend who inspired me to start this writing journey calls writing her blog, “walking the dog” because even though she loves it, she has to walk it, feed it, attend to it. I feel the challenge, too, but I also feel that the process of writing measures the worth of my days. Days that I might otherwise squander in the rush to check things off the “to do” list, feed the kids, empty the trash, teach about Animal Farm, give tests, attend meetings. The blur of days and the eagerness to get to the next stage whether it be vacation, weekend, or just Wednesday, seem to encourage us to bounce through the days like pinballs, running up the score without making real connections.
Last Sunday, I stopped the cling and clack of the pinball machine when I invited a long-time friend to visit for lunch and coffee. We’d been friends since third grade, I think, when we both were in Brownies together. We also suffered the same third grade math teacher who rapped us on the knuckles because we hadn’t sufficiently memorized our times tables. Those kinds of friendships run deep – and even in the ebb and flow of life, they send down roots that can withstand the storms of jobs, families, children, divorces, death, and even happiness.
We hadn’t seen each other since the memorial service for my son, who died six years ago, and we reconnected through the inescapable Facebook. She contacted me about our 30-year grammar school reunion (which neither of us attended – we commiserated, who needed to see people who only tormented us and made us the butt of jokes when we knew them 30 years ago?).
It is peculiar how these friendships can begin again, even after an interval of six years, and feel as though they were interrupted only momentarily. I suppose the only sign that we had been interrupted for so long was the amount of time we spent (and coffee we drank) while getting caught up again on mutual friends, family members, and kids.
Our lives are quite different on the face of it – I am a mom working outside of the home, while she has been a full-time mom for many years. I have two four year olds and she has a seventeen year old, fifteen year old, and eleven year old. She lives in the suburbs and I live in the city. She has been married once for eighteen years, and I have been married twice. Underneath, though, we are both searching for ways to make meaning in our lives. She admitted to me that in her time at home, once her kids were older, she started writing – and has finished a novel. I confessed my blogging experiment. Both of us confided in the other about the freedom we felt in writing – even when it was work. For her, writing fiction gives her an escape from the inward looking self-analysis she felt prone to while at home, and for me, writing provided the time and space to do just that – look inward and reflect.
I’ve been less regular lately about my blogging, and I feel the difference in my mood and outlook. I suppose the tendency to get through the days is part of the hectic pace of modern life, but I crave the time to pay more attention to my experience. And to live more in the moment – to enjoy it, savor it, and then later to consider how it makes my life meaningful. There will be nothing to write about if I can’t remember to immerse myself in the days. These past couple of weeks, with the exception of my visit, I have felt the tug of work, duties, and obligations. Today, I am grounded even for these moments by writing — and the wizard has been silenced.