Where I Write

I just had a lovely talk with a young writer named Olivia who wanted to know where I write. I told her about my green chair in the corner of the living room. I told her about carrying my notebook and pen with me everywhere I go with my kids. And then I felt a little guilty about that, so I told her about writing a poem about reading Graham Greene while at Wild Waves, about writing in my car between the time I drop my kids off and when I pick them up.

At one point in the conversation, as Olivia was trying to tell me about a book she is reading, she scooped up her purse, unzipped it, and produced the book. "This is why I have a big purse," she said. "Exactly!" I said.

It isn't so much a place, as it is an attitude.

If you have a passion, you can't have it part time or when it's convenient or when you're not busy with other things. If you have a passion, it's always your passion, even when you're doing other things. "What do you write about?" Olivia asked me, and I told her about the farm where I grew up, about my kids, about my students -- but now that I think about it, it's more complicated than that. This quote came to mind:

"Meaning is not in things but in between; in the iridescence, the interplay; in the interconnections; at the intersections, at the crossroads. Meaning is transitional as it is transitory; in the puns or bridges, the correspondence." -Norman O. Brown

I'm afraid I made it sound as though I get a lot of writing done, when it's really more like I do a lot of scribbling. Maybe I get slightly more writing done than other mothers-of-three, other college teachers. But I rather like the idea that I'm always writing about the "in between," and that maybe I'm writing even when I'm not writing -- about the paradoxes and intersections between being a mom and a wife and a teacher and a recovering farm-girl and a former waitress and voracious reader and a writer. Maybe the in between is all that any of us are ever writing about.