A few months ago, I awoke to the usual sounds of my toddler calling mama! mommeee! and in my state of pre-dawn orientation, having jostled my limbs and flesh from the residuals of sleep, the following thought occurred to me:
Opal's blog will conclude on her 2nd birthday.
There it was.
This is not to say that I subscribe to each and every early-morning hunch that occurs to me before I hoist my rickety, pillow-creased body from the sheets. For example, I effectively bypassed the idea that I should dye my hair as purple as a gum drop the time I was abruptly stirred from a Willy Wonka dream last week. I also scrapped the inclination to buy a flock of chickens, which followed a particularly lucid morning-dream where I moved to the country to sew my American-Gothic oats.
But this notion was different; a simple headline to inform me that this poignant, incredibly beneficial chapter of life was coming to a close, just like any other.
The fact is, I have written copiously and feverishly for as long as I could hold a pencil. I have boxes of journals that date back to my elementary years to prove it. I won a creative writing contest in the 4th grade and my teacher reported me as having "an impressive grasp on the English language." (I would say the same about Opal now.) I wrote poetry in high-school to avoid burning cars and carving the initials of boys into my thighs.
My mother-in-law had my (astrological) chart read when Jesse and I were still early in our relationship. She came back with a lot of forgettable information that flitted around the following hulk of a statement: She has to write. She simply has no choice.
Until this beloved blog, my adult writing-life consisted of a stream of writing classes and workshops, cranking out story after story (easily hundreds and hundreds of pages) with no real purpose, most of which wound up as sedimentary layers in a desk drawer or box in a crawl-space. Fewer than a handful of people actual read what I had to say. This created a distinctly unsatisfying holding-pattern in the writing process. I never felt like I was finished telling a story.
Like with any art, the creating of it is only part of the puzzle. There is really so much more to the equation. Sharing what's been created, feeling heard and gotten in some sense, receiving feedback and subsequently growing and expanding while under the gaze of loving (and at times, not-so-loving) witnesses are indispensable factors in the process of self-expression. Arguably as important as the actual act of expressing oneself. This blog has provided a place where the inception of those additional pieces could finally occur, and with a rhythm and a predictability that was and is indescribably satiating. Hallelujah.
I'm convinced that the continuous efforts to discover and re-discover a curious and genuine voice for this blog worked to buoy the last few—often difficult, often confusing and overwhelming—years of being a new mother. Surely there were times when all I wanted to do was sleep, bitch and eat sweet potato chips dipped in Guinness while journaling about a boring stream of life's inadequacies. But—and I say this from a great amount of experience—that deflated state of mind is about as fulfilling to write about as it is to undergo. And if it ain't fun to write, it sure as hell ain't going to be fun to read.
So, without changing the truth of the matter, content-wise, it became a ceaseless practice to write about these days, these trail-blazing experiences, in a way that was quenching to me. The act of typing became a method to shed light on the humor of a situation or strip back bad curtains to reveal something deeply fascinating about a moment or, gasp, myself.
All of my blogs are and have been (aside from checking for spelling and grammar edits before posting) first-draft pieces, much rougher than an article would be, much more personal and exploratory. A little brave. So much fun.
But good things need a beginning, middle and an end and Opal's two year birthday seemed like a good place to transition to the next thing. And though the specifics of that next thing are uncertain, we can be more than sure it will involve my busy little fingers clicking out a stream of words and letters. Perhaps I shall focus on the print-publication of parenthood articles. Perhaps I shall hone my fiction chops. Perhaps I will stumble into the genre of comic-books or screenplays.
Without hesitation, I'd like to offer a sweeping thank you to everyone who has read one, two, or all 97 (!) of these blogs. Thank you for sharing these amazing first two years of mamahood with me. Thank you for your soup-bowl ears and supportive comments to remind me you were out there. If you'd like to keep tabs on my future writings and publications, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, go boldly.
Take the next obvious step and then read the tea leaves is what a teacher of mine once said.
So here we are, my friends. Pull up those argyles, lace up those boots and away we go.