Friday, 30 March 2012

Headroom of one's own

I'm a big fan of Mslexia, and find it a thoughtful and thought-provoking read.  I'm always intrigued by the pen profiles of their contributors.  I can't help thinking that if men had a writing magazine of their own, they wouldn't all feel the need describe how they fit their writing into their busy week.

When my children were much younger, a postcard above my desk read: 'I would take over the world if only I could get a babysitter.'  I finally had to admit that this was a little disingenuous.  Now I don't need a babysitter, am I more creative and productive?  No, I don't think so.  It's true that as children grow older, a parent's role does change.  Football matches replace playgroups, but teenagers still consume a remarkable amount of emotional energy.  Like Pavlov's dog, I can't help jumping out of my chair to respond to my children's needs.  Even when our children were toddlers, my husband could look after them and still watch a whole day's test match. I, on the other hand, could barely get through a whole page of a novel without having to do something.

I wonder if mothers have to grow out of this extreme state of readiness.  I can mull over a poem whilst I'm chopping vegetables.  Conversations overheard in the playground can hold the germ of a character sketch or short story.  Sometimes, however, I do just need some headroom of my own for the proper, big thinking.

So today I shall ignore the washing, ironing, gardening and those missing buttons.  I shall enjoy some thinking time, at least until the school bell rings.

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