I felt, that week, stuck in a slump, like I am doing nothing with my life. Like wife and motherhood has turned out to hold all the traps and terrors I feared it would. Though I can hold this thought in my mind—motherhood wrecked my life (yes, please tell me others have thought this thought?)—at the same time as I can watch my adorable daughters, their animated faces, their thoughts fascinatingly expressed, with so much love it's practically obsessive.
But low-level depression and inertia. That’s what I wrote, that day. Husband away, full-time solo parenting, a never-ending winter, but most of all: I haven’t been writing.
I have a new project. A book I have begun—barely—to write, that I have waited four years to begin writing, since I first had the idea while in the middle of writing the book that I’ve recently finished. I even have a small grant giving me the go-ahead, the validation, the extra padding in the bank, to help me begin writing it. There’s an outline in my computer. There are a dozen pages long-hand in my notebook.
The space between books? The completion of a work that is so solid and established, characters you know as though they are yourself, the leap to the new, the un-nailed-down, the nebulous floating maybe possibility? Scary.
I downloaded an interview with Dani Shapiro on the Good Life Project later that day. Dani Shapiro said, "The time between books is a time when a kind of low-level inertia and depression sets in. It's almost as if the world has less colour in it when I'm not writing."
And I cried, hearing that, because my condition had been named, using the very words I'd used to describe my symptoms.
A diagnosis with a cure.
I’ve been writing since then. Writing the new book. Writing for my life.
Also, spring, finally, has arrived.