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Alexander Residence: Can you be a writer and a parent?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Can you be a writer and a parent?


Reading PopCo by Scarlett Thomas and wishing I had written it. Love all the themes, the complexity of the plot and the language. Its so full of fascinating stories, research, ideas and concepts. So modern and tied into contemporary consumerist culture - video games, virtual worlds, technology, marketing, but also steeped in history, e.g. world war two code breakers and pirates. As a parent I found the insights into the ways toys are marketed to children (and parents) thought provoking. I can see Miss L being sucked in to every advert she sees. I know she will become more media savvy with age and encouragement of course, but its so easy to get swayed by stuff you don't need, even as an adult.
What I love about the book as a writer is the research. Apart from the mountains of research into popular culture I can also almost see how Thomas might have made use of random ideas collected in a writer's notebook. The bizarre dream when she falls asleep to music, rather than just falling asleep. The description of the Icelandic girl's attire or the way Esther re plaits her hair in between talking. Little details that are so telling. The sound of French and English voices dissolving in the sea like salt, during a pirate battle at sea. Newspaper stories and reports that have fed in. It is very research heavy, but so well written and intelligently crafted into a much bigger picture.
Whenever I come across a great author I immediately look at their profile, how old, do they have kids? And make comparisons. So Scarlett Thomas is a little older than me, but she already had eight novels under her belt. Does she have kids? I am not sure, I reckon not. Somewhere I recollect a quote about not having kids if you want to be a writer ha ha!
Holiday has been a good time to re fire my enthusiasm for writing. But a bit of a non day as far as holidays go. Very lazy though which is great, so actually probably a very good holiday day. Missing OH. Miss L feeling poorly and Mr G still full of green snot. Trip to the beach this am ended in lots of tears. Miss L just feeling poorly and missing Daddy I think. Lovely splash in the pool this pm and lots of reading and watching old kids TV shows OH has thoughtfully downloaded onto the ipad- Jetsons, Flumps, Dangermouse.
Loving the sound of the sea and hanging out in our swim stuff. Just wish there was more time to lie uninterrupted on a lounger. By the time I come to accept holidays aren't what they used to be the kids won't want me around. They'll be off making new friends and trying to avoid me, or doing anything. At the moment that's my main drive!

Sometimes its so hard to be a parent. I love my kids, they make me so proud, so happy. But I do think I spend a lot of time trying to avoid them, or rather trying to get a minute's peace. At the end of the day I love looking back over what my two did, the magic moments, the ordinary stuff. I just wish I had more energy to be full on mum. But sometimes I think that's not what they need either, they need space to be a kid, to find out themselves, to learn to deal with boredom, to be curious and inventive. Please don't let me look back and regret I didn't spend more time with them at this stage though. Aghh another tricky balance.

Daily writing habit is coming together nicely! Hope I can keep it up at home.

Sent from my iPhone

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1 Comments:

At 9 December 2010 at 00:17 , Blogger English woman in New York said...

I've met many writers who are parents, and it is possible, very possible, just sometimes the things you write are honest truths about your lives and children.. a terrific but hard teacher i've had wrote travel books- traveling w kids, to combine the two..

 

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