Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fairy Houses

Trying to write with kids in the room is like trying to french braid hair in the middle of a hurricane. You need these precise words and images to do what you want them to do. You almost lay your hands on them and fit them into a sentence. The image or line of dialogue you want is just within reach. You are about to pluck it out of thin air, when you hear "Mooooommmmyyyyyy?????" Everything you had in your hands is blown away and scattered, not to be retrieved until after bedtime, if you're lucky.

Don't you love a good french braiding simile?

I feel like I'm in a daze half of the time these days. That's nothing new, you're thinking. You're always writing about feeling that way. You may have a point, but I think I accidentally called the director of Charlie's preschool my main character's first name the other day by mistake. I feel foggy and removed from real life a lot. These are either by-products of the writing life or it's the prescription adult acne medication I'm taking.

I'm so tired.

The times I have to write are the times when normal people would be watching TV or taking showers. I feel like I'm trying to fit this thing into my life that just won't fit. It's frustrating, like trying to stuff Charlie's extra-wide feet into a pair of Chuck Taylors. Brandon knows what I'm talking about.

There's this new fad going on in the hipster mom world. Have you heard of it? No, it's not bento boxes, but those seem like lots of fun too. It's fairy houses. All the cool moms are encouraging their kids to get outside and make little houses for fairies out of sticks, leaves, rocks, pine cones, etc. You can get as elaborate as you want to. You can turn your fairy houses into some kind of Ikea showroom floor for fairies by making furniture, wall decor, little acorn sconces, peacock feather throws...the sky's the limit.

I love the idea of these fairy houses. I will have to get out there and start making some with the kids now that the weather is nice. I like the conceit of creating this miniature world for people that presumably don't really exist. (Sorry, I may be a weirdo in other ways, but I'm not a believer in fairies.) Unlike playing transformers or slogging through a game of Chutes and Ladders, this is the kind of play I can get into.

On good days, writing feels like how I imagine building fairy houses feels. It's just that instead of bark and feathers, I'm using words to build homes for my fairies to live in and get messy.

I used to feel like a fraud when I told people I was a writer. Similarly, I would've felt like a fraud if I went around telling people I was an ice skater. I would write the way I'd ice skate: shakily and infrequently, but with moments of glee. Now, I don't feel like a fraud telling people that I write. I do write. I fit it in even though it is almost impossible with three small children. I do it almost daily. A lot of times I do it badly, but I still do it.

I'm looking forward to the time when I can write without the distraction of children. Does that sound terrible to say? I'm not wishing their childhood away or anything. Teddy does this thing right now where he walks backwards when he gets really excited. He looks like a tiny Michael Jackson in Robeez. I don't want to lose all of that. But maybe a nice long writing retreat...a whole weekend to write without someone hurtling grapes at me or asking me to make them a sandwich. That sounds pretty great.

Sorry to those of you who thought this post was going to be a how-to on fairy houses or that it was going to have something to do with bento boxes. Maybe next time.

1 comment:

Christiana said...

I just stole away some time to go to a Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. We had these circles twice during the conference and I got to meet with other Writer Moms. I'm thinking of you here because the consensus was, how do we make time/have time to write with children/family? It was so good to hear that other women were having the same struggle...sometimes I feel so alone in my quest to write and mother a child. I feel inadequate when I can't squeeze anything else in except feeding and clothing my family. But one of the mom's suggested lowering your expectations so low that you can always accomplish them and sometimes more. My goal? To write for ten minutes a day. I can do anything for that long, right? Anyway, I feel your struggle (even though I only have one child...and another on the way!). I'm impressed that you write everyday! And I'm sorry my comment is so long. I wish we could sit down and talk sometime.
PS I like the idea of fairy houses too.