I haven’t been doing a ton of blogging lately. This should be obvious.
What have I been doing lately? I’ve been working. And I’ve been sleeping. And I’ve been doing a lot of lying around (on my side!) doing nothing.
Because I’m pregnant. Eight months pregnant, in fact.
But I don’t write about that online.
Why is that? It’s not because I don’t have anything to say. (Although, this whole thing has been pretty easy on me, relatively speaking, so I don’t have *a lot* to say, even in person.)
It’s just that when every once in a while I go to write a post about this or that or the other and it might involve pregnancy or my child in any way, I immediately lose interest. I immediately don’t want to do it. So I don’t.
After six months of this, I decided there must be something going on in my head beyond blogging lethargy. So I thought about it for a while. And here’s what I realized:
Because of my profession, my blog is a product. It is both an advertising platform and a place for me to present my more casual writing for public consumption. That’s what my product is, and no matter what other intentions I have, no matter how sincere I am or how candid the writing is, I cannot put anything online without it becoming part of my product and my brand.
And I do not feel okay about turning my child into my product. She is not even born yet. (Yes, she is a girl.) As my husband said when I explained this to him, “so many people are going to turn our daughter into an object over her lifetime. It doesn’t need to be you.”
It doesn’t need to be me.
And as soon as I realized that’s how I felt about it, I knew I couldn’t explain it without offending some people. Because the blogosphere is full of people who turn their children into their product. And I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with that in an abstract sense.
But today, right now, this year, it isn’t me. My inner Marxist can’t blog about my child (even fully from my own perspective and experience) without thinking about commercialization and alienation and feeling wrong about it. That’s the product of my education. It is what it is; I am what I am. Public availability of personal information is something that everyone with a website has to deal with, and this is my answer, at least for now. It’s not about security. For me, it’s about the way I think about my child.
So, hi! Now you know. You probably won’t know anything else on the subject. unless you’re a person I see in real life, or you have my phone number and call me about it. Because that’s all I have to say about that.
(I hope you’ll still read for other things, though. There are likely to be plenty of those, especially once I don’t have to hoard most of my typing-posture time for actual work any more.)
I just finished writing a major action sequence. Dragging myself through the thing was like pulling teeth–I was getting 4 or 5 hundred good words a day, tops.
Just looked at my outline and discovered, yay! now I get to write a couple chapters of dialogue!
I’m not sure what it is that makes me feel that way, besides that dialogue comes fairly naturally to me, and action doesn’t. I think some of it is the pressure to keep up the pace in action sequences–I need to get x amount of information across for the blocking to make sense, I need to plant y and z information as setups for future scenes, I need to describe the setting and the movement in the scene quickly but engagingly, I need the main character to think enough that the reader understands the motivations behind her choices…all while keeping the action hurtling forward at an exciting pace. It’s difficult, and I never get it right on the first try. I rarely have to fully rewrite dialogue scenes. Action…gets gone over many, many times before it all ticks just right.
Still, the scene is written, and while I know I’m going to have to go back and smooth it out, I think all the major pieces are there. This is progress. I can accept that.
Over the last few years, I’ve read a lot of rants about how the world is doomed. We’re in a recession, and people are scared. All around are voices screaming that our country is falling to pieces, that publishing is *over*, that our politicians are destroying us, that we’ll never recover.
Over a year ago when we moved into our house, I knew some things in my life needed to change. They’d been needing to change for a while, but I’d been ignoring the quiet voices inside me that told me so. But at that point, I’d wound myself into such a ball of stress over the last few years that my body couldn’t take it anymore. In truth, my spirit couldn’t take it either.
So last August I set about the process of letting go. Over a year, I backed out of a lot of my obligations. I stopped doing so much. I put the work I could control at the center of my world–work on the writing in front of me, on my marriage, on church things, on my home, on me. And I let the rest go.
This was hard. The scared little girl in me wants to be in control of everything. She believes that if she doesn’t have control over every aspect of her life, it’s all going to fall to pieces any minute now. I’d been spending way too much time listening to her. Because, in truth, I can’t control most of the aspects of my life. I have to be satisfied with the pieces I have in front of me, and trust that the rest will take care of themselves.
Over a year later, I feel centered in that trust. I still work hard, but I concentrate on the work I have to do today, and not on any other work. I don’t feel stressed or scared anymore. I don’t know how anything is going to turn out in my life, but I’ve discovered that knowing those things isn’t what I needed. What I needed was to let go of the obsession with knowing. I do what I can, and I have the faith that other things will work out.
But more than that, I have the faith that if they don’t, I can still be happy. Because whatever might come, the power to be happy is something that I do have in front of me–it’s a gift I can give to myself every day. It’s not about pasting on a smile and muscling through. It’s about letting go of my need for control over the future–over other people, over my industry, over my health–and focusing on what I have right now. What I have right now, as it turns out, is exactly the life that I wanted. I’ve learned that doing less and worrying less let me love that life, rather than being so obsessed with keeping it that it passes me by.