March 14th, 2005

rainy day


There's a weird feeling hovering about my head these days. I started this journal with the expressed intention of kick-starting my writing again, after a long drought during which I changed just about everything in my life it was possible to change: my marital status, my country of residence, my language skills; my identity as a woman blending with the new and all consuming challenges of being a wife and a mother. I had no time or energy for the person I used to be, or the pursuits I used to enjoy. It was a nearly total reversal of too many things that I had once considered a fundamental part of myself.

No painting or artwork
No singing
No writing
No new music
No money to travel or buy books or go out to eat
No job
and guess what? No internet...or well, nearly none.

I spent 3 years at home being pregnant, learning Swedish, realizing the beginnings of my limits as a parent, becoming assimilated. I thought I would have plenty of time later to get back to the person I knew myself to be inside.

Some of those things I've found my way back to, at least in part: the singing, the artwork, the creative expression, a job I love. I've found my way back to writing too, but not quite in the way I had envisioned. To be perfectly honest, and I mean, perfectly honest, I've never had the kind of personal pressure to write that I've felt lately. Not even as an English major finishing up a Liberal Arts degree, with an emphasis on writing. Creative writing. Poetry. Short stories. It's nothing compared to the pressure I place on myself to write in this journal. I love this journal, like I love the community and the support it's brought me, but some days I worry that I will end up feeling the same way about this journal that I too often feel about the American Women's Club I've worked so hard for, for the last 7 years.

I write because I love it. And I write because I feel an obligation. Both to myself and to my audience. Even the first few months of writing this journal, when I had maybe a handful of readers, I wanted that audience. I wanted the feedback and the encouragement and the pats on the back. I want people to read what I have to say, and I want to feel that I'm saying it in the best way that I can. I need the deadline and the pressure because it pushes me to put words together. To put words together WELL. I'm not a storyteller, like so many wonderful writers out there. I wish I was. I'm envious of that gift, again, being honest. But I know that I'm a good writer, that I can make people think, that I can make them laugh, that I can, sometimes at least, make them feel.

I write notes in ink on my palm ("snowman water") so I'll remember phrases I want to say, things I want to tell you. I send myself email messages sometimes, because my memory isn't all it used to be. This journal, my writing,'s a chronicle, my forum, an electronic podium for someone that has never been comfortable speaking in public, someone who doesn't get into big debates about hot-button issues. It's just a place for me to put words together. And hopefully do it well.

I sat on the sofa tonight, and wondered if I was going to write in my journal or if I was going to blow it off and just go on to bed. But I have a problem with disappointing someone both by not showing up and by not doing what I promised. And the person I would be disappointing the most is me. I'm glad you're listening. I thank you for it.
  • Current Music
    Crowded House—As Sure As I Am