When having a post-yoga coffee with a friend yesterday, I commented that we were at an age where the hard stuff has started to happen. By this I mean the more serious, stop-you-in-your-tracks type of stuff; parenting teens, looking out for older parents, reconciling regrets, accepting circumstance and loss. She said she felt grateful every day and didn’t dwell on the darkness. I am not always the same; the darkness sometimes draws me in. And then we finished our coffees and went back to our lives. Sorting out admin, tidying up, working, cooking, planning, communicating.
Today I spent time at a publishing house doing research for my thesis. I worked in publishing years ago and upon entering the building I got the distinct feeling of throw-back; to when I was 21, freshly graduated from university and keen to establish myself and my newly acquired education in the noble profession of books. That instinct lasted a few years until I quit, seduced by the corporate dollar. However publishing will always have a place in my heart even though I observe it now as a curious industry, one that I can’t quiet fathom but which I hope to inhabit soon.
We talked about my writing and business and whether anyone ever can ever truly identify a link between social media followers and actual book purchasers (my current fascination and bugbear) and I loved the whole process of listening and talking. It was like when I worked for a living. It struck me again that the profession of writer is a painfully solitary one and I worry I might not come to terms with that. I like company and chat. There must be a way to write and have company? I suspect the answer is in network and community; in finding the like-minded.
I came home, and messaged my husband about my day. The very nice life of housewife/part time student/writer can be droll, there’s a temptation to shake it up. I did the school run and conducted my usual mental survey of the mothers, in all their technicolour. What did they do today? How are they feeling? Not a clue from their outward demeanour.
I ask myself why women like me can’t find more of an escape from the everyday? The self-inflicted parameters of motherhood start to bite. It’s not like when you have small children and you are utterly tied to their care. When they are older – teenagers – there is a halfway house of care and absence. I’m in the same house as them but they might not speak to me for an hour at a time and instead I hear the drone of the TV (my son) or the deathly silence of the phone scroll (my daughter).
I slope off and write a blog post so what they’d hear, were they to listen, would be the tap, tap, tap of my keyboard…