I will admit it.
I am “dying” for this lady-controversy to be published.
It’s the first time in a long time (since my mother was killed, blah blah) that I have had that intense of a writing experience, and am nail-biting as it awaits an audience.
I worked really, really hard on it. I prayed. I fasted. I talked about it with my husband. I researched, and researched, and researched. I edited. I researched some more. I prayed some more.
Then I clicked submit.
The accepted-for-approval email came, and I edited some more and edited some more.
That’s what writing is about: the refining, the cutting away, the concise-iz-izing.
My writing is never short, though, even when it’s concise. This one was 6,000 words that we got down to 4,000. Can you imagine how long it would be if I didn’t work for a whole week on cutting out everything that slowed down the pace, changed the tone, or disrupted the rhythm?
One of the lines that got cut included the word “snarky”. I liked it. But it didn’t have a very mormon tone.
I think I should get extra credit for writing a full-on deep doctrine article and being able to work in a word like “snarky”.
Except we ought not be very snarky, especially in a compassion-crisis moment, so it had to go.
It had to go, the article had to be submitted, and now I wait until it actually gets published.
Usually I have lots going, and I don’t worry about it. I just keep writing, and it gets published when it gets published – if it does as all. But tonight it matters. It matters because of the topic and the timing. Not just the politics or cultural dramas unfolding in the news, but because it has been so long since I have written.
They say a writer cannot write, or an artist create, without first feasting on the works of others. We must breathe in art and creative projects in order to produce them. To write well, I must read good writing. To turn a phrase, I must study poetic prose. To know how to play with words, I first must learn to swim in them.
And right now I am swimming in baby bottles. Pacifiers, everywhere. Diapers that fill up a trash can every day, and outfits too adorable to be changed before they can be noticed. That’s what I am swimming in, you see.
Also, sometimes my fingers can’t type. It scares me. It saddens me. I am getting large bumps on my knuckles, and my fingers are curving, and today after I mowed the yard I could not even stand up or straighten my arms. It was painful, but worth it to get to be outside, to function, to be helpful, to make our home lovely and comfortable for coming home to at the end of the day.
I want to come home at the end of the day and study Hebrew, but there are seven babies in this house. They are always hungry, make the biggest messes, and left me a sticky floor that needed mopping. They beg to go swimming, try to be so good while I am at work and Nathan is working from home, and are so patient while we take care of the actual tiny babies. I carry my study books around with me everywhere I go, just in case there is a spare moment, but mostly those spare moments are random kid moments full of opportunity for me to either be selfish or nourishing.
I am trying to choose nourishing, which means slowing down in lots of ways, and being more present in the important ways. It means taking huge pay cuts, both of us, as we take turns being home with the children, and it means exhausting myself until late night study hours are no longer feasible. It means pulling myself out of bed before dawn just to be able to get my scripture study in, much less any Hebrew.
Hebrew seems, on some days, like a far away playground. It is something I am too spoiled and selfish to be allowed to play. It is a game in which I am still benched but really want to get in the game. One verse here, and one verse there, and acting in faith in trying to continue, hoping for some line upon line effect to accomplish such a mission.
Mostly, though, life is less noble, and I am just glad to have the kitchen clean and laundry done on the same day.
And sometimes my audience is short people with little faces and big, bright eyes.
Sometimes there is waiting, while still being anxiously engaged.
Sometimes we do our best, even though we are exhausted.
Sometimes we try a little, just to go through the motions, just to remind us to keep trying tomorrow.
Oh, and speaking of tomorrow, I go see the oncologist.
So there’s that.