Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some Thoughts at the End of This Year

It’s been a weird year. My mind has always been… well, elsewhere.

I’ve been waiting for something that never seemed to materialise, and it’s no wonder it didn’t since it hasn’t even had a name or a face.

At some point, it was summer I was waiting for, but summer never really arrived and then it was already gone, and now a harsh winter is upon us. I’m not mentally prepared for the cold and the snow, and for the end of another year. I simply do not know when this one has gone away. I’ve somehow missed it. This doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Needless to say, I have done nothing for this year’s resolution, which was to start writing a novel. I’ve thought of it, I have most of it in my mind, but I only wrote a few words, and I mean a few. I am embarrassed but more than that, I’m worried.

The only thought that warms me is that, maybe, just maybe, the circumstances might excuse me, although I’m not seeking such an excuse. In fact, I came to loathe this excuse: no time. Always too busy, waking up at 5:30 am to go to a full time (high-tech) job, this insanely early only so that I can leave early to pick up my daughters, one from school, one from preschool, back home then in the avalanche of all the domestic, never-ending jobs (turning a poem in my mind, or a dialogue with my characters) kitchen-related or homework-related, or simply play with these two absolutely wonderful girls, until they go to bed, and then there’s the point of collapse, mind and body, beyond which there’s just another entirely similar day.

I deliberately kept the account of my typical day into one convoluted, grammatically incorrect phrase. It can only try to convey the extent of my daily busyness. On rare occasions, if I’m strong-willed enough, I can resist past this point of collapse and write a little, but that means that I’m much more tired the next day.

I’m thinking there must be some kind of respite available, before the respite of old age. I refuse to think in terms of doing this, that or the other when I retire or when the children are grown up. I cannot think like that because that would be similar to wishing for the time to go away, when in fact what I desire is for it to stand still.

I’m afraid to promise anything, even to myself, or even more so to myself. But I will continue trudging through this forest of perceived adversities, looking for the light of that illusory glade. I have to. I couldn’t be any other way.

As for you, my dear blogging friends, I thank you for your support and understanding. Maybe I haven’t been as present on your blogs or mine as I would’ve liked to be, but you were, are, always on my (writing) mind. I thank you for the treasure of your words, so generously shared over this electronic medium. I apologise for writing about sad things so many times.

A final thought, for now. We each have our own scale on which we measure our lives and our desires. I realise that compared to the much bigger problems that confront the world, my doubts and struggles are so petty, so insignificant. There are real issues out there, and tragedies, grave illnesses, wars, death, famine, all kinds of injustices, and all the people who go through them cannot allow themselves to be blue when they’re just trying to be.

Here’s to better days for everybody!


Lisa said...

"I’ve been waiting for something that never seemed to materialise, and it’s no wonder it didn’t since it hasn’t even had a name or a face."

Yes. It makes perfect sense to me. I've been this way since the summer. I gave in to it and I don't feel any doubt or guilt about it. I accept it and I believe there is something germinating and that what I've set aside for now has to wait because I'm not ready.

If that makes any sense at all. I always enjoy my visits here.

Merry Christmas and into the new year (an arbitrary line in the -- snow), may you find what you need.

Catvibe said...

Vesper, speaking from someone who has gone through the active stage of motherhood, I really hear you. The fact that you are able to write at all with your two children needing you to be mommie, is, well, a miracle of miracles. Hang in there and don't make too many plans beyond motherhood and job so as to disappoint and frustrate yourself, there is simply not enough of one person to go around. Forgive yourself for not meeting whatever goals you may have set and not met, and take a whole lot of hot baths. They do grow up, and you do get to have a very special time for a woman, post active maternal relief. When that happens, at first it is good, then it is hard because ARGHHH, it's really here now what!! :-) (Where I am now). It will happen tomorrow, but for today, it will feel thankless in so many ways but what you are doing, however, I know that you know this, is the most important thing you could possibly be doing and no one you know will even have a clue how hard it is for you.... Motherhood is the hardest job on Earth, and mothers are the least recognized for their efforts.

I am hugging you with a big warm heart.

Sarah Hina said...

Vesper, don't apologize for writing what you write--the "sad things" are heartfelt, beautifully poignant, and have a way of making me, at the least, feel closer to you. We're all sad sometimes. We all struggle. It's nice to share that with others. It's essential to have that release, and understanding.

My heart aches for your time crunch. Those problems and pressures aren't petty, because let's face it, we can't escape ourselves. Even when we try to put things in perspective, that pain and exhaustion can be overwhelming. Yes, there are people who have bigger problems, but that doesn't mean that yours are trivial. You have so much inside of you that's eager to see sunshine--and it's terribly frustrating to have to keep those things hidden away.

And yet, I do believe that light in that glade will be there for you. Maybe that's foolish faith. But I see how much you've already accomplished, with the pressures you've had, and know that you'll continue to seek it. As you said, you couldn't be any other way. Thank goodness. :)

Okay, that was long. But I'll end by seconding your exclamation--here's to better days! Indeed. :)

Hotwire said...

being a single dad i appreciated your comments on motherhood as i often play both roles.

enjoy the holidays!

Charles Gramlich said...

In my experience with work and family, there's seldom a respite. You have to find a way to do what you want to do despite the constant flow of real life. when I started out writing I often told myself, just one paragraph a day. Just manage one paragraph a day, and if you can keep to that schedule you can get stories and even a book done.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Vesper, I know it is hard. The pressures and strains of daily grind can really get to us! Not only are we being overworked on our jobs - but then we get home to our second and most important job. There is always so much to do.

It IS hard to do it all. Life is hard. And listen, YOUR issues are real, too. Everything in this world is relative.

I am with Sarah, I don't think you write sad things so much of the time - your poems and stories are moving and wonderfully strange - beautiful and affecting. You are a very talented and skilled writer and storyteller.

I hope you will be able to find a little breathing space in the new year. Make some time for yourself, if you can.

I look forward with you to 2009. I can't wait to see and read what the next year will bring to all of our blogs. It is so very nice to have found such sensitive writers.
Blessings, dear friend. K.

the walking man said...

In order to make time stand still one must travel beyond the speed of light. Sounds to me like you're building momentum. Riding time as a thunderbolt wanting to pass sounds barrier, yet not quite able to reach the speed necessary to split the air.

Vesper...Oh Vesper, you are the only one who doesn't hear that great noise you make as you pass through. Them of us who make up your audience are stunned at the loudness of your travels.

All I can say by way of offering to you is this; you are right on time, neither ahead nor behind in fulfilling your desires. You may not think it so but you yourself claim it. You make the assertion that raising your children is a priority with you, is it more noble to see happiness in your world from well loved children or to see words appear on paper?

Soon enough your bairns will be less ready to play and spend time with the parental unit and more time away from "mothers prying eye", yet then when you should feel left out, you will in fact be able to comfortably let them grow and change into the adults they are destined to become. And you will have the wonderful memories of the childhood of time.

No dear one, you are right on time so don't wish it to stop or rearrange itself to accommodate today's desires, those wants of today will find their own way into the light.

Rest easy, all is well, according to this report of yours.

Much Peace


Anonymous said...

I love the new background here. So cute!

You may have not started a novel. You have, however, written and shared a lot of beautiful writing on your site here. I've written 50,000+ words of a "novel" this year, but I don't think I've accomplished anything close to what you have accomplished in writing. For real.


BernardL said...

"At some point, it was summer I was waiting for, but summer never really arrived and then it was already gone, and now a harsh winter is upon us. I’m not mentally prepared for the cold and the snow, and for the end of another year. I simply do not know when this one has gone away. I’ve somehow missed it. This doesn’t make much sense, does it?"

It makes perfect sense.

Write for fun, Vesper, and enjoy your kids. There is very little spare time when the kids are growing up. I completed two novels after college, and while my children were coming along: then nothing until 1998. Since then, I’ve completed thirteen novels and three partials. I admire the women writers who have school age children, and still write. Because my wife has a very good job as an X-Ray Tech, I looked after the kids at my shop, where I now do a lot of my writing. I turned a back warehouse room into a nursery/schoolroom with blackboard, and even have a half size basketball court where they rode scooters, bikes, and played ball. They were the best years ever; but I didn’t do any writing, because I couldn’t think freely, let alone plot, with mortgages, kids, after school sports/band, and homework at night. Those were my excuses; but actually, I didn’t write because the adventures in reality eclipsed my fictional thoughts. You have a lot of reality going on, so don’t beat yourself up for taking the time to enjoy it. Have a great holiday, Vesper.

SzélsőFa said...

Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts with us.
At this time of the year, when it's cold and motionless outside (all right, at least for us, in the Northern hemisphere) - we, too should look more at the inner side of our life, at what's behind.

Aine said...

Wow, everyone has said just about everything that I thought while reading your post. So, I'll just point out that though you feel overwhelmed and frustrated (as all mom's do, even those that "appear" to be fully functioning and satisfied), what you have accomplished on this blog is far and beyond what most people in your shoes could do. Don't ever apologize for not doing something differently or better. You are blessed with a full life as a mother...

And, with each passing year, the kids needs/demands change. You will probably feel more like yourself in a few years.

laughingwolf said...

v, no need to apologize about anything, ever... the writing you share always shows your talent, and that's nothing to sneeze at

you're right, summer here was the pits, too... then even that was gone

season's blessings to you and yours :D

Rick said...

Where is the patronage system when we need it? Keep going, Vesper, you're an inspiration to the rest of us. '

Oh, and besides that, you are immensely talented and the world needs more good writers, not less.

Vesper said...

Lisa, this is great advice – thank you! - and in a way I find it reassuring that you are experiencing similar thoughts. In fact, unconsciously, I’ve been slowly giving in to it, only occasionally still feeling puzzled by such sensations...
Oh, I like this so much – the New Year, only an arbitrary line in the snow... Merry Christmas to you too, dear Lisa, and I hope that we both can find what we need...

Cat, thank you for such heartfelt words. They really mean a lot to me and I recognise them to not only be true but also as something that I often tell myself. Thank you so much for reminding me of these truths... It gives me strength to know that I am not alone... And it’s just as important to remember to forgive myself...
Many hugs to you, dear Cat! All the best for the holidays!

Sarah, you are indeed so close to me... I’m so glad and thankful for it!:-)
The main reason I felt somehow guilty for throwing “sad things” at those who are kind enough to read this blog is that it was as if I were passing onto them the negative feelings; as if the “demon” that a little poem, for instance, exorcised from me, were released upon unsuspecting readers...
I thank you for your faith in me. Yes, I will continue to seek it.

Hotwire, thank you for sharing this. And thank you for your good wishes! I hope that your holidays will be great!

Charles, thank you for your encouragement! A way to do what you want to do despite the constant flow of real life... yes, I’m always trying that and on some days I’m successful and on others I feel so frustrated that I think what I wrote in this post. But I have to admit that the “successful” days are still prevalent. I shall follow your suggestion about a paragraph a day. Thank you! :-)

K., thank you so much for your words of encouragement and appreciation! They move me so deeply...
And, yes, I will try to make some more time for myself...
I agree with you, we are lucky to have found such interesting, sensitive, caring people with whom to share art and life. I think 2009 will be a great year.
All the best to you, my dear K.

Oh, Mark, I don’t even know what to say... I’m very touched. I thank you from my heart.

Well loved children or well loved words? I could never make a choice, because you see I want them both, and one without the other would probably be impossible to bear. Therefore, I will just struggle on and complain every now and then, and go on just the way I am. For you are very right, my dear Mark, and I think I will save your words where I saved an answer you once wrote to me on your blog so that I can read them again when I feel the need.
In fact, this entire section of comments is one where I will come to get strength every time I need it.

Rest easy, all is well, according to this report of yours. Ah, I will now... :-)

All the best, Mark, to you and your loved ones!

I’m glad you like the background, Paul! Something to beat the winter gloom... :-)
I really appreciate what you said here, it means a lot to me, but at the same time, I can’t have you diminish your work. You are a wonderful writer and the 50,000+ words are a huge accomplishment. I remember reading that excerpt a while ago and it was just excellent.

Oh, Bernard, thank you so much for your words and for sharing your experience. Yes, these moments and these years with the children (and husband, and family) are invaluable and irreplaceable. I would not want to miss them for anything in the world. At the same time, I also cannot “miss” the writing... You know, I’ve been writing for fun since I was about 12 years old. And it’s still mostly the same... except that now at the back of my mind there is this thought that I could maybe one day publish some of this “fun” and that makes the whole thing more stressful... You too, have a very Merry Christmas, Bernard!

SzélsőFa, thank you for reading. It’s the end of the year, also, that’s inviting to reflection. We’re getting ready for January, perceived sometimes as a new beginning, and naturally, we’re looking behind us to see how much we’ve accomplished of our set goals. Sometimes, though, it’s better just to watch the snow outside and enjoy it from a warm place inside your home... :-)

Aine, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and for your encouragement. I know all that you’re saying to be true and the thought of this helps me get through the more difficult moments. It’s good to be reminded of this by someone who also experiences all the sweet demands of motherhood. Sometimes it is too easy to forget...
Thank you, my dear Aine.

Thank you so much, LW! Much appreciated! :-)

All the best of the season to you and yours! :-)

Oh, Rick, you’re saying such nice words... Thank you! :-)
You’re right, not the kids are the “problem” but the job... Winning the lottery would be very nice... Now only if I would play... :-)

L.A. Mitchell said...

Vesper...I count your writing as one of my greatest finds this year. Your posts are like delicious little bits of bittersweet chocolate. Never stop offering your talent up to the world :)

Vesper said...

L.A., you are so kind... I thank you so much! I feel overwhelmed...
I too am drawn to you... that wonderfully beautiful Halloween piece that brought me to your blog still lingers in my mind... I hope to read more of your writings.

Ello said...

Vesper, don't be hard on yourself. Each individual's trials and difficulties are no less or no more greater than another. You are absolutely excused especially since you bring us joy with your beautiful poems and writing!

Have a Merry Christmas!


Jon M said...

To better days for all! Merry Christmas to you and yours, all the best! :-)