Tag Archives: Fear

Motherwriter

Writing

I finished my chapter (for now) on breastfeeding three weeks ago and, let’s be honest, have written no new work since. I’ve read, I’ve copied down quotes, I’ve printed things out and looked at them and tried to rearrange them for a seminar and an article I need to have finished soon, I’ve thought about writing, but I haven’t actually written. This is a habitual and painful process that goes like this: write, complete something I actually like, then cease to write out of fear I’ll never be able to write well again. So I write this, as a herald to the end of fear and frozen-ness. I write this to say be gone. I write this to prove that I write.

In the last three weeks I added guilt to the fear, just so I could be really tortured. The dream of being away from my children five days a week has hovered just out of my line of sight for some time. I adore them and want them off me at exactly the same time. They are not fun, and nor am I right now. We rail at each other in the early morning, having already breakfasted, dressed, and done playdoh, tv, trampoline, and a walk before 7.30am. The second cup of tea does not touch the sides. Sparrow grabs at my legs and makes sure I cannot move. Monkey thinks this is funny and does the same thing. I stand, with my cup of tea, and take furious sips, and dream of my desk in that tall grey building crammed in with four other desks in a room with a window, and my books, and an absence of small bodies.

I am still unsure about my ability to do this thing, to write and to have children at exactly the same time. But I also know this: I can’t not write, and I can’t not have my children. So it will be done, because there is no other way.

Enrollment day

Student Union V

Image by Laurabot_ via Flickr

Yesterday was cold. Melbourne cold. The kind that makes your cheeks flare red, that on a good day makes you feel more alive, as if the crisp air is clearer and lighter so that somehow you can see further in it. Yesterday was not a good day. It wasn’t a bad day either, but it wasn’t good. On a good day I have certain absences: loneliness, discontent, anxiety, that old companion melancholy, none of them are there to push their way past my breastbone, to stain all my comings and goings with uncertainty.

Yesterday the cold air ate its way through my bright purple jumper. My scarf and gloves did little to hold off the feeling of being coated in a fine ice. Sparrow was royally warm in his four layers and hat, tucked under a blanket, a rain and wind cover turning his pram into a capsule of warmth. I pushed him past the lake and tried to be pleased at the sight of ducks. I found the building where Research Services lives quickly and easily. There was a lift, and a toilet, and warm air. See? It’s all running smoothly. There was no one else there to enroll. This was not the cattle call of undergrad land. An easy form to sign while Sparrow beamed and dribbled. Anxiety plucking at my chest. Another easy walk to Student Services. Again no other students. No money to change hands. Photo taken, card printed. Done. Enrolled. Is there a student graduate association? Blank looks. There used to be, don’t know if there still is, umm… Oesophagus clenching, worry wriggling in my stomach. I am far better at all of this than joy or hope. I had come from a uni with a whole building for grad students, with an extremely active student association, with, with, with. With all the facilities a girl could want, but not the supervisors I need. I sat in a hard black chair and looked out at the empty lawn. Breastfed Sparrow and read the student diary. Tried not to feel as bleak as the day.

Writing to write

I’ve been wanting to do a PhD in Creative Writing since I was 15. Last week I got an email saying I’ve been accepted into a PhD at Latrobe. 21 years later and it’s actually happened. First, elation. Second, fear.

I have a five and a half month old baby and a two and half year old, and I’m starting in five or so weeks. I’m thinking that I may look back at the next four or so years of my life with sympathy and disbelief.

But I’m doing it anyway. And I’m going to write to write. I have a feeling that blogging about writing will actually create more (not less) space to write.

So this is it. Here we are. Come with me.