Ask a Person

Activity Being Avoided: editing
Music In My Head: Vanity — The Avett Brothers
Tea Being Drunk: double-strength Barry’s (it’s bloody cold in here, and the time change was this week, and I’m getting the sniffles, damn it all)
Books Being ReadThe Spawning Ground–Gail Anderson-Dargatz, The Well of Loneliness–Radclyff Hall

Rod Smith recently wrote this blog post: I Ask a Woman… I have a thought or two about that post.

Caveat: I was the parent that stayed home with my kids for over fifteen years. I “wore” my kids in slings and backpacks (I think the term is attachment parenting), slept with them until they decided to move to their own beds, homeschooled them until they chose to go to high school.

Becoming a mother was a deliberate act. I pretty much gave up everything to do the best parenting job I could. I tend to work that way: when writing one book, I don’t work on other books; when concentrating on a project, I get irritated by the need to eat and sleep. I’m happier when I focus on one thing at a time. You are free to look at this from any perspective that pleases you, but the fact is…

Image thieved from Shel Silverstein’s _The Missing Piece_.


Of course, there are drawbacks to my way of doing things. The mind-set required to work like this demands ludicrous amounts of time and energy; it’s always physically, psychologically and emotionally taxing. It can be isolating. It limits progress, in a sense, as outside input is usually only permitted between tasks. The lure of perfection is a frequent temptation.

The drawbacks are, in my opinion, negligible compared to the benefits. I feel I work well. I feel I give everything I have. I don’t feel as though I’ve compromised unnecessarily. When I raise my head from the project and present the creation to the world, I rarely have second thoughts about it.

When the kids were younger, questions about my life were always answered with information about the kids. If you ask me now, the response will include students and writing–and very little else. I’m not embarrassed by this. In fact, I’m rather proud of this. If someone is interested in me, or in my life, they’ll be satisfied with my response; if not, I can’t feel obligated to live my life to their standards. (It’s a safe bet they’re not living their life to mine.)

If we ask personal questions, we’re free to be disappointed with the response. If we start asking personal questions with the intent of proselytising, those are no longer questions.


One response to “Ask a Person

  1. I love your response – thanks for linking back to my column.



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