Because of my issues with infertility, I didn't think beyond conception, beyond that nine-month marathon of morning sickness and frayed nerves. And suddenly there I was, with a newborn, an infection, and an MFA thesis to complete. I was slammed with the conflicting needs of finishing a manuscript and attending to a baby. It was the perfect winter for hibernation--snow up to the windowpits, my eyes slit, my heart satisfied. I wrote because I had to, and it took a while before my own internal motivation kicked back in.
The idea was planted when fellow feminist-mother made a call for guest posts on her website First the Egg. I wrote the personal essay "motherpoet" and began to wonder how other artists have approached their changing role as mother in relation to their craft.
Here I am now, my ten-month-old's wet fists thrust toward the keyboard, wanting to send a message of her own to those mothers-in-the-night, tell them it's all worth it, to not give up--on the word mama or art. It took some time, some hibernation, weeks when the poems wouldn't come. Now I let her give me reason to write every day, read her poems as bedtime stories, tell her how these moments in life are worthy of telling.
These opposing poles don't need to conflict. They can work in concert, they can patiently wait in rotation, they can sing one another to sleep.
On format: Every other Tuesday, I plan to post a new interview by an artist. Because I am a poet, there may be a likelihood that this will be poet-heavy, though I think all arts have something to say to one another. I want many of the questions to remain the same with each artist, since each artist has her own story to tell. I loved Kate Greenstreet's Every Other Day and the follow-up from Keith Montesano First Book Interviews. I also enjoy Brian Brodeur's How a Poem Happens.
This isn't about how to perfect the balance. The balance has a certain impossibility, hence the title of this project. It's about how we make it through the day, how we forget and remember, how there is an ebb and flow. I hope, even, this webpage can be a place for non-mothers to come, as everyone has so many elements in one's life crying out for attention.
This is how I will start: by sharing. By hoping for community, commiseration, peace.
- November 2011