Wednesday, October 10, 2012


A couple weeks ago in an act of martyrdom or melodrama or passive-aggressive maturity (clearly), I tore down the pages of storyline that have been staring at me from behind this computer for months.

Anne Lamott says, nobody cares if you do your art.  It is better for everyone if you don't.

And it's true.

It's nobody's fault, it's just the way that it is.

Nobody really cares if you finish that degree or painting or next chapter.  It's when we're out of eggs.  When last year's clothes don't fit, or nobody can find a clean sippy cup, or I forget to buy diapers.

And maybe this is how it should be.
Maybe I am just a mom.
There is no shame in being just a mom- it is the most important job in the world, worthy of being fully embraced.  I love being a mom, heart and soul,
and if there is any art that this gift of motherhood requires is the art of letting go.

So I choose, again, and be just a mom, singly, heartily.
It is the one thing I most want to do well.
At the end of the day it is the only job that matters.
Does the world really need another book on it's dusty shelves?
Of course not; what it needs are healthy families and happy children and kind neighbors.  The world needs whole grain bread and applesauce and someone to sweep under the table.  The world needs bedtime stories and open arms.
(there is no note of sarcasm here)
The world does not need one more striving, tired, frustrated woman.

Someone smirked once and said with the slightest tilt of his brain that no one should write unless they cannot not do the thing.  And since that day these words ring through fear or insecurity and because I cannot not do the dishes- I just can't.  I cannot not pick up the house at the end of the day, or not sleep with my babies when they need me, or not teach my own, or not nourish them with good food.  And because I cannot not do these things, it turns out, the one thing I can not do, however regretfully, is write.

And so I wake early to bake whole wheat muffins and slice fruit and pour milk into cups, a bit more heartily now.  And even as I am wiping eggs from the stovetop words are clumping in my brain, a story forming when I part the curtains and look out at a rainy early morning, watching the lights turn on in windows across the city and thinking about the woman weary in apartment nine sipping tepid tea from a chipped mug, the single blue light above the stove in her kitchen and the way she traces this same path to rinse her glass and scrape the crusts of her toast into the trash every morning, I wonder who will tell her story.

And this, I find, is one more thing I cannot not do.  I cannot not live with stories.

Maybe I will not ever write them; I can make peace with that.  But I will live story and walk with stories, and sit with stories, and open my arms wide to receive the world's stories, and I will fall into bed with stories and wake in the night praying stories.  I will read my children stories and I will give them words to tell their story and let them find themselves in story.

Because what the word does need now, is Story.

(writing a little more in the days to come on Story).


Fijufic said...

Well my dear friend...

You are so hard on yourself. You have the absolute most important job in the world and I can show you countless doctors and lawyers who have quit their professions to back up this statement.

By the way, your journal is "the story" with you and your family as the main characters.

You write it as you live it and we keep reading it.

Perhaps you have one of the most beautiful journals in cyberspace Jessica.

Let this journal be your book and just write what you feel. I can assure you it is worthwhile and very memorable.

When you are long gone your children and loved ones will cherish it forever...


Brandee Shafer said...

So hard, isn't it?, to make peace with what you don't do, what you release from your open hands because you can't do it all. For me, this is too often a clean house: especially right now, because I stand up and move around only to feel like I'm going to fall. It's easier to sit on the couch and write.

Jessica said...

Thanks Bobby, you are so kind . . . and I am missing your blog!

Corinne said...

Oh my goodness yes. I've been coming to terms with all of this myself. I just actually picked up a novel this today and threw aside my "on writing" books...
Such inner struggles. And after an inner struggle, I'm always amazed at how easy the choice actually should have been, as it is a no-brainer after the fact. :)

LisaM said...

I can't stop thinking about this post since yesterday.


April Lu said...

I too have struggled with living within my abilities of the moment. (Why DO I have a graduate degree?) But we are called to be moms now, and later, we may be called to do- well, only God knows. You are a writer. You will write, but it doesn't have to be today. You write here, and I do hope you don't stop. I love reading your blog. This parenting gig is hard. Keep up the hard and loving work!

Janet said...

I'll bet you will express your stories in many ways before you're done. But a storyteller you most definitely are, and an artist with words.