As a child I was artistic. My interests moved from one expression to another. At one point I began a vast mural on my bedroom wall. Discovering, half way through, I’m not a very good painter. Still I tried things – like cross stitch and scrapbooking.
In the end I’ve pretty much landed on writing. My first great success came in grade 5. I wrote a thrilling mystery that caused my teacher to label me as an excellent writer. The tale was read at every sleepover I attended that year. My friends ate it up.
I lived in a time without computers, blogs, social media, e-publishing, or any thing like that. I wrote on paper with pens. In high school I took typing courses on electric typewriters.
As a young adult, I didn’t always have a computer though they were much more common at that point. I used them when I had them and resorted to typewriters picked up at thrift stores when I didn’t.
In my early 20’s I began calling myself a writer. The only proof I had were stacks of unfinished stories in piles around my room. There was, at that point, no easily accessible showcase for my art.
Then the real digital age hit. Blogging and social media became mainstream. And I was busy being a mom. I’m still busy being a mom.
Writer isn’t a word I use to describe myself these days. Single mom, adoptive mom, foster mom are the titles I hand out when people ask who I am or what I do. Even my book centers around that theme.
But every once in a while that dream of writing for real slips into the forefront of my imagination. I could have lived a different life. Sometimes I can see myself at the window of a small European apartment – not Paris, somewhere very obscure like Zvolen. I imagine writing all day while overlooking a little courtyard. Then I would eat bread and cheese, drink some wine and read what I’d written before falling asleep. Waking, I’d do it all over again.
Once upon a time, my life did look like this. For a brief period I lived alone. Working in an office Monday to Friday, my weekends and holidays were spent writing and drinking tea. I have a few stories that survived from that period.
Occasionally, I wonder what could have happened if I’d really pursued writing. Yes, I was devoted to my craft as a young adult, but I’ve mostly put it aside now.
Around this time every year either my mom or a friend offer to take the kids overnight. Last night was my annual day off, as I’ve come to think of it. Raine and Athena went to my parents’. I braved the bad weather to see an afternoon matinee on my own.
I wanted a diversion. Big Eyes, the new Tim Burton film, was the only thing that appealed to me. Instead of simply distracting me from the cares of life, the movie reminded me of the artistic lifestyle I once lived. I admired Margaret Keane’s dedication to her craft.
Since becoming a mom, I’ve not been so faithful. Leaving the movie, I went to visit a friend. The evening and following afternoon stretched before me. I considered pulling out a novel I’m nearly done writing.
In the end, I brought my friend’s 3mth old foster baby home with me. I held him and prayed into some situations he’s facing. We watched crime dramas on Netflix. I brought him with me to church then did dishes and laundry while he napped in a vintage pram. Just saying the word pram makes me smile. It was all very lovely.
Then my daughters returned. And everyday life resumed. Maybe I’m not a writer after all – or at least not right now. For the moment, I’m a mom (who occasionally blogs).