Thursday, 5 March 2009

Catching Up

It's been ages since I've written on this blog, and I miss it! Life has been moving at a terrific pace, and I've been busy writing another blog (it's my more 'commercial one'), doing a fiction-writing course with all the attendant homework, and of course, mothering my now very vocal as well as mobile toddler, J!

At 17 months J is now saying more new words than I can count, able to conduct rudimentary 'conversations', and has an ever-increasing capacity to make his needs and wants known. He has been positively obsessed with 'cook-cook' for months now, not only in our cooking, but doing his own pretend preparation of meals, improvising with whatever is available (but usually insisting on having real pots and pans). I feel more confident as a mother and am enjoying it a lot more, though as always there are exasperating and exhausting moments. I'm also just recovering from a bout of mastitis, which, fortunately, is the first time I've experienced any sort of breastfeeding problem - but this left me wiped out for a good few days.

I've been touched by the comments people have left on my blog after reading my article in Juno magazine about surrendering to motherhood. It's wonderful to hear that other mothers and mother-writers feel the same as I do about motherhood as a spiritual journey.

I recently read Buddhism for Mothers which takes some of these ideas further, and gives us real illumination on how to live in a more peaceful, centred way as a mother. One of the most useful concepts in this book was how to witness the many different passing moods and emotions of parenting, without getting caught up in them and giving them too much power. My meditation practice is always an effort to develop this ability, but I've been inspired by this practice to make all my mothering acts a moving, living meditation, and indeed my whole life.

The last few months have seen more emphasis on the non-fiction side of my writing career. I've been continuing to write for Suite 101 and seen a gradual increase in traffic to my articles; writing an almost daily, paid blog; and doing all the research that goes with those endeavours.

My computer breaking down a couple of weeks ago, however, has facilitated a shift in focus back to my fiction. As soon as I had to step off the treadmill of real and self-imposed deadlines, I realised that fiction is really what my writing soul yearns for, and that I need to give it some space to flourish. The 10-week course I'm doing, 'First Steps in Fiction', has given me impetus to write every week, and to start a short story collection, and I wrote a couple of exactly-70-word paragraphs for Paragraph Planet which are both appearing on the site. and now that I have to fall back on mostly handwritten work, I'm able to slow down and allow ideas to percolate. It's good to be back in a more creative writing mood. It's all very well being 'productive' all the time, but then I can start to forget why I am a writer in the first place.

Inspired by Paulo Coelho's The Witch of Portobello, a fantastic book a friend gave me for my birthday (my 29th) on 22nd February, I have started to think about my 'witch' novel again - which I'd put on the 'back burner' since last year. The ideas Coelho explores are very similar to what I intend in my novel, and his book helped me to realise that there is a way of expressing these concepts - of the power of nature, the Goddess, the feminine energy - through story. Coelho has a disarmingly simple way of conveying the most complex ideas, and a very unique writing style. I also felt moved by his book's message of living one's truth, regardless of how it may inconvenience those around you.