Lately, any writing I do is
comprised of texting on twitter, in bursts of 140 characters, about all I can handle in terms of writing output. So if you want updates from me, follow @czilka on twitter.
It now feels weird to write in paragraphs. I felt anxiety after the first sentence (which incidentally was 140 characters long–has it become reflex now?) of this blog post–what to write next? This sure feels really long. Oh now it feels awkward. Huh.
This is all to say, “I haven’t blogged in awhile.”
Because I haven’t blogged in awhile–thought I’d do a “quick blog post” as an update.*
It’s interesting to note that in the past few months, my relationship with time has completely and utterly changed. As have my relationship with my body and the concept of achievement. My day is comprised of repetitive tasks like feeding, burping, and diapering my daughter. And pumping breast milk. And putting my kid to sleep. Only to look up and discover that two hours have gone by. And that in an hour, I’ll be feeding, burping, and diapering my daughter again. Time is no longer measured in larger units or through the lens of a longterm project like novel revision. My body is a food factory. And achievements are things like watching my kid discover consonant sounds and watching her grab her foot for the first time. Not a big deal in the literal sense, but I’ve learned that achievement is about perception. It’s a big deal to my kid, so it’s a big deal to me. And you should see my kid smile and laugh when you stand her up. It’s a Huge Deal.
Plus honestly, if I were to measure achievements in the literal sense, I’d be so depressed, because I’d have nothing to show for all this work.
So, my life has shrunk down to these moments, or these strings of moments. After I had my stroke, I lost my short-term memory, so my life shrunk down to only the present tense. There was immense insight gained from that period. And it ended up bolstering my writing. I’m hoping for the same, here.
It’s only in recent days that I’ve really truly fallen in love with my kid, and clung to her with an obsession resembling the biggest teenage crush ever (you know, the kind where you follow the object of your affection around school, try to arrange your class schedule around theirs, drive by their house at random times…). So glad the tides have turned, because doing all this work out of responsibility and duty and obligation is soul sucking–doing it out of love feels way better. It’s hard for me to let her go, now.
So I’m just coasting in the moment. I tried fighting all of this–I tried sacrificing my naps to write and I grieved my previous identity, and ended up miserable and very exhausted. So I’m going with it, learning things as I go. Especially since this is a journey I’ve wanted for some time.
*I started writing this blog post 12 days ago. I almost gave up on finishing this blog post. But decided to forge ahead, anyway. Because then I’d never get a blog post up, ever.
NOTHING! Okay, a chapter of Nova Ren Suma’s 17 & GONE. A bunch of baby books. (baby sign language, the Baby Book by Dr. Sears, wonder weeks, blah blah blah). There is a pile of neglected New Yorkers giving me the side eye. If I’m lucky, Vogue magazine while sitting on the can, but really, I don’t even have time to sit on the can when there is a baby that might start wailing any second for attention or because her binky has fallen out of her mouth and she can’t pick it up because her arms don’t go where she wants them to go just yet and oh my G*d someone put the binky in her mouth right the f*ck now! Yah.
And I’ve given myself permission to not have to write anything fiction until Fall. Just to be gentle on myself. I’ve got essay ideas swimming in my head, but no energy to write them down.
In any case, I won’t be writing until I can read fiction again.
Thank goodness for the fact that there remains the gift of observation.
- My baby laughing. Cooing.
- Django Unchained. Watched in small increments of time, but still.
- Mad Men
- Cherry blossom petals blowing in the wind. About as beautiful as all the cherry blossoms throughout NYC and at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. I’m lucky that I get to experience Spring all over again in NYC, a couple months after Spring commenced in Berkeley.
- Lots of bottles of breast milk.
Memorable eats/Culinary outings:
- Discovering food delivery services like Three Stone Hearth, Good Eggs, and Shira’s Kitchen in Berkeley.
- Our first dinner out with baby at a neighborhood Chinese restaurant–speed-eating so we could get the baby home.
- Leaving the baby with a favorite doula and going to EMP!
- Okay. I boil pasta. It makes me sad. I am such a cook. It is one of my decompression activities. Once, during my 3rd week postpartum, while someone took care of my baby, I baked a coffee cake. Because I was desperate to cook. That is about it.
- Thawing all the things I cooked, pre-baby, from the freezer.
- Okay. I just remembered: I cooked Passover Seder dinner. I made chicken matzo ball soup, brisket, stuffed cabbage rolls, chicken liver salad. And then I slept for days afterward.
I GAVE BIRTH.