I wrote in my last post about the difficulty I have fitting all my commitments into the hours in my days. I didn't write "how crazy busy my life is" because I am hyperaware of how people use "busyness" to get status. I don't want to be one of those people, so when people ask how I am and the urge to reply, "Busy!" arises, I bite it back and say, "Fine, thanks."
Aware of this "Look at me, I'm so busy!" status-seeking, I'm often a little hesitant to tell people I'm busy. People close to me to whom I've sort of half-apologized for mentioning being busy have assured me that, compared to the commitments of a childless lady with a dog and a lot of book clubs and church committees and homeowners' association board meetings and lunches with friends, my commitments are mostly of the kind I can't just politely say no to. Yes, it's true I could give my kids more fast food and frozen food than I do, also true that I could let my house be dirtier than it is, but I already feel like there's too much pizza and clutter in my house for anyone to confuse me with Martha Stewart.
What's that you say? I could give up this blog? Why, yes, I could. Don't think I haven't thought about it. Back when I was writing my public blog, I frequently contemplated giving that up, too, because the voice within me that whispers words of Bad Mother Shame into my ear said I should, that I owed it to my kids not to give anymore of myself to pursuits that didn't involve them.
That voice is what my friend Eleanor calls a demon, and I know that if I ever let it start running my life completely, I will become a bitter, angry woman who does more damage to her children than I do leaving them to amuse themselves while I write.
Why do I write? I may as well ask why I breathe. I cannot remember a time when I have not written. My eldest daughter writes, and my heart sings that she doesn't hide her scribblings the way I used to her at age, that she talks to me about her stories once in a while as I never talked to anyone about mine. It tells me that my writing has caused, at worst, benign neglect.
So where am I going with this? I suppose I am trying to talk myself into or out of taking on another writing project: NaNoWriMo. I've wanted to do this before but never did. It's next month, so I have only 17 days to decide. I tell myself it's crazy because I'm already overcommitted and can hardly find time for all the things I have to do now. On the other hand, it's only a month, and then the craziness ends. If I try and it's too much, I can quit. If I don't try, I'll go on wondering what would have happened if I had.
I guess that means I've found the answer.