Saturday, March 27, 2010

i feel good, i feel great, i feel wonderful.

my answer to your question is this: why wouldn't i start a blog about baby-times? for starters, i've got a piece of paper hanging in a frame on my bathroom wall that tells me that i'm a writer, or at least certified to call myself one at work. when i found out i was pregnant, a mere month after getting my mfa, my creative impulses seemed to dry up in the wake of what seemed like more pressing concerns.

but recently, my boss, who is herself a writer, told me a couple of things which i don't think are totally incommensurable. first, she told me that being a mom is, quite possibly, the raddest thing you could imagine. but she also said this to me: "don't stop writing. don't allow yourself not to make time for it." now, she graduated from iowa, so i figure i should probably take her advice. so, why not make an effort on both fronts? what if i write about baby?

well, i'll give it a shot, anyway.

i think i come from a long line of savers; that is to say, a long line of pack rats. my grandmother, god bless her, had an entire quarter of her house filled up with cast off clothes, old newspapers, and ancient potato chip tins, among other things. the corners of my parents' house are stocked with old mail, outgrown toys, and unused exercise equipment. and i, unfortunately, am slowly driving my ol' man crazy by doing the same sorts of things. i've been told it's not a constructive impulse to want to save everything, to want to hold on to mementos of things that have already happened. in a way, i think that's true; i know first-hand that nostalgia can be destructive. at the same time, i think the pack rat impulse is pretty closely tied to the archival tendency, to the desire to make sure everything can be recalled, that nothing is lost to time or the slow decay of memory.

last summer i read gilead, a novel by marilynne robinson. it was basically the most beautiful book i've ever read, but the reason i mention it here is because its premise was this: a father writes a letter to his young son, to be read when he's old enough to understand it. the father is a pastor, and in his seventies, having married a younger woman. the father knows he will die, and so he's composing this letter in order to share things with his son he might not otherwise be able to share. it seems like a really sappy premise, but it is without a doubt one of the most brilliant and moving pieces of literature i've ever picked up, so if you're reading this, please check it out. but to the point: there's a part in the novel, and i'm not positive i'm remembering it perfectly, when the father recounts a memory he has of his own father. when he was very young, a church burned down, and he and his father helped, along with many others, to clear out and salvage so that a new church could be built. as the group begins to break for lunch, it begins to rain, and the ash from the burnt church stains everyone's hands, as it's mixed with water. his father, who is a pastor, feeds him a bit of biscuit with his ash-stained fingers.

now, when he is himself a grown man and a pastor, the memory comes back to him, and it seems to him, because of the images of the bread and the ash, that his father was offering him the eucharist, even though he knows he was only feeding him lunch. this is the kind of trick, beautiful or otherwise, that our minds begin to play on us the moment we move away from an event. who can say how things really happened?

and how does this apply to a baby blog?

as a pack rat, as an archiver, i want to be able to remember what it was like. furthermore, i want to share these memories with my child one day. a totally selfish, self-involved endeavor, but the internet, as you might have noticed, is a selfish place, and what could be more self-involved than a blog?

anyway, i think that's a long enough intro, fo sho. hopefully i can remember to return here tomorrow, and set down the things i want to save.