Not drinking enough, apparently

Today is the penultimate day of National Blog Posting Month, and it has been much more of an experience than I expected. An experience in the way that the week-long wilderness survival trip I went on as a senior in high school and the first few months after bringing a newborn home from the hospital and the fourth time I quit Mountain Dew were all experiences.

Posting every day for a month is demanding and specific enough that you start to hold your breath at the end, hoping you’ll make it to the edge of the pool before your arms give out. You think of all the other things you need to be checking off your To-Do list, and realize (half-guilty, half-relieved) that you can’t possibly deal with them until this thing is over.

Two quotes have been chasing each other like hamsters in my brain all month (yep, there’s a lot of space in there for hamster wheels and puppy dog tails). The first is so intoxicating, exhilarating, liberating, inspiring, and I have no idea what it really means (or, if, in fact, Ray Bradbury ever really said this):

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Why is this so appealing? Why does it make me want to run BARBARIC YAWPING to an Edenic spring, tearing off all my clothes as I go and cannon-balling into the water with a splash that ripples all the way to the shore?

The second quote, I am all too sure that I know exactly what it means, and what it means is that I will never be a genius (i.e. “one who creates”) so long as I am mired in the motherhood. (Handy, right, to blame all my un-genius-ness on the myriad mundane moorings of my morassifisic life?):

A genius is the man in whom you are least likely to find the power of attending to anything insipid or distasteful in itself. He breaks his engagements, leaves his letters unanswered, neglects his family duties incorrigibly, because he is powerless to turn his attention down and back from those more interesting trains of imagery with which his genius constantly occupies his mind.

Perhaps William James just wanted an excuse to give his wife for why he was always late for dinner.

And I am the wife. Feeling (not-guilty-but-defensive) if dinner is not on the table.


11 thoughts on “Not drinking enough, apparently

  1. Oooh, great quote. I’ll be using it in self-defence, too. Funny thing is that I posted nearly every day this month and I didn’t join NoMoBloVoBo or whatever it’s called. And the only reason I didn’t join is because I hate the awful made up abbreviation name. Totally judgmental on that name; it’s just hideous. I imagined trying to say it out loud to my husband or someone: “I’m participating in NoMoBlo… nevermind.” I think I missed three days non-consecutive. I could have posted everyday this week but with American Thanksgiving I figured no one would read it anyway.

    Natashas last blog post..Natasha has never…

  2. Natasha — One of the funniest things I saw was a blogger who started GoBloMeMoFo last year as a reaction to NaBloPoMo. At first I thought this was a bit crass, and then I did NaBloPoMo this year, and I totally get it.

    Also, there were months when I first started blogging that I posted 40-50 times in a month. During the blogging honeymoon phase. Now that the honeymoon is over, it is much harder (for me) to post every day.

  3. So.

    I worked with Jeffrey most of yesterday afternoon on a book report he needs to present to his class, on the book Sign of the Beaver. I tried to help lead him in the right directions on how to do a book report, including info. about the author. I think you will love what wikipedia has to say about Elizabeth Speare (who got her masters and taught English at private high schools for years before she met and married Alden Speare & had her two kiddos), two-time winner of Newberry awards, winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, Scott O’Dell award, etc, and of course, author of one of my favorite children’s books, Witch of Blackbird Pond:

    “Although Speare always intended to write, the challenges and responsibilities of being a mother and wife drained her of any free time. Speare began to focus seriously on literature when her children were in junior high school.”

    Dude, validation from wikipedia! I may even go make this comment a whole post on my own blog, now that I think of it….

  4. Oops, I never made my point, though I’m sure you inferred it:

    Don’t feel too bad about being mired in motherhood. Your genius just has to sit on the back burner and simmer a little, spilling over into your blog posts. If Speare, this great historical novel children’s author churned out 4 great classics (ok, I don’t think Captive Calico is a classic, But Bronze Bow, Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Sign of the Beaver are all classics) and many articles that made it into Good Housekeeping etc, then your time can still come. : )

  5. Love both quotes. Bradbury is right – the naysayers can hush up and let us writers live in dreamland a bit.

    The second? Oh my. I’ve always thought that one reason why so many “great” writers are men (beyond that whole women as chattel thing for most of human history) is because men can just go off and write, whether it’s off to a hermit colony or off to a small closet that serves as an office at home. Meanwhile, we wives/moms tend to all that requires care (home, kids, finances, etc).

    Soooo, guess we’ll be doing our big book tours in what? Ten more years?

    Here’s to 2018!


  6. I think your genius is ripening during these years of motherhood. And there will come a time when it can be on the front burner, instead of the back burner. You will get your own room (in the Woolf sense) and be able to do that which you love. (I know you love your family, but we’re focussing on Jane the writer here).

    Kirstys last blog post..And the waters came

  7. James is smoking cra-ack! Or maybe reading a bit too much Tom Sawyer, thinking a genius is one who can get out of all other responsibilities to attend to his love.

    I think true genius is one that can still function as a normal human being while mastering his or her art. Those “geniuses” who ditch other people for their labs or their tablets because their fickle muse strikes them momentarily are at the mercy of capricious bouts of insight.

    True genius has the ability to wait, to suffer through not only all three hours of church(!) but then THE ENTIRE REST OF THE SABBATH (can you tell Sundays are slow for me?), and then feed the fam in the morning—true genius is one that is mastered to the point that it is the person and not thought ruling.

    There’s my quote of the day. I found NaBloPoMo to be quite an experience, too, even if I did miss three days—I feel like I’ve gotten my bloggy groove back. I really loved your posts this month, Jane!

    Jordan (MamaBlogga)s last blog post..Got toes?

  8. I realized as I checked the soup and fed my son I had more to say.

    James seems to be buying into the “genius is the ability to write pure, unmitigated, beautiful truths to power as they flow ceaselessly from my pen—while the muse lasts” school of thought.

    For probably 99% of people, however, genius is the stroke of artistry that manifests itself while you’re trudging along—whether that trudging is through the other 70000 words of your manuscript or through 70000 diapers. “Genius” and talent, even taken together, rarely go anywhere without hard work, discipline and dedication.

    The bottom line: you are a genius, Jane! You’ve demonstrated discipline, hard work, dedication and talent (at the very least) this month.

    Jordan (MamaBlogga)s last blog post..Creating fulfillment

  9. Pingback: And I wouldn’t care what anyone else thought of it | What About Mom

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