I recently sat in an audience behind women of advanced ages and hair as white as my bathroom linoleum after a fresh bath of bleach. They nodded and fell asleep off and on as the famous author on stage spoke clearly and sharply about writing and dreaming and why she writes what she does.
I was immediately taken back to a college English course. Somewhere I haven't visited in a long, long time. Soaking, absorbing, engaged I sat. This women has written more words on more pages than anyone can even dream. I read once that she writes all of her manuscripts in longhand before transferring them to any kind of digital or typed form. In longhand.
I'm exhausted just plucking those words on my keyboard.
Think of the calluses.
She spoke about first person point of view. I was like a child outside the doors of Toys-R-Us on a day when everything would be free. She said that writing in the first person or memoir format is so much more seductive than other forms. Seductive.
The woman on the stage wore plain black pull-on pants that reminded me of my grandmother. She had similar shoes. She wore a pink turtleneck and a simple pendant necklace. Her hair was wild. Her voice was velvet. She slogged her purse onstage with her. I wondered why.
Writing about anything you care deeply about is in so many ways, indulgent. It's even more indulgent to think that anyone else would want to read it.
I've always been told, "write about what you know."
I know motherhood. I know the joy. I know the pain. I know the unsettled feeling in the middle of the night when I mimic my Australian Shepherd and have to go room to room, checking on my flock. I know the tears. I know the happiness. I know the way my daughter's hands fit exactly so in mine and the way my son's head rests upon my shoulder - but only if he slouches. I know the way my belly aches when I don't know where they are and the way my heart soars when they get a base hit. I know motherhood.
This space. This space is an extension of that.
I don't think it's narcissistic to write. I don't think it's narcissistic to share. I think motherhood is seductive. And I hope I want to write about it even when I'm old and frumpy and wearing black pull-on pants and a pink turtleneck.