January 30, 2014

Hey, Mommy Writes, Too

Wow, it turns out becoming a parent totally upends lady writers' lives and creative practices, too, not just the dads'.

Go read up on dad/writer Shane Jones' creative struggles, then take in Vogue's Q&A with Jenny Offill, whose second novel, Department of Speculation, is about a Brooklyn writer mom's fraught attempts to balance motherhood with an ambitious inner life.

I've always been someone who lives very much in my head. The startling, terrifying (and sometimes exhilarating) thing about becoming a mother was that that vanished almost immediately. I couldn't think in any sustained way anymore; my mind flitted from thing to thing, and the novel I'd been writing for years no longer made much sense to me. My purpose became quite simply to keep her alive. My body was either on high alert or utterly exhausted. I remember saying to my husband early on, "When do you think we stop being so afraid? When can we stop white-knuckling it?" and he said, "I don't know . . . Never?"

Right. Never. And I knew somehow I had to figure out a way to write about that and to capture this new fractured consciousness on the page. But it took a very long time to find the form.

Scenes from a Marriage: Jenny Offill on Modern Motherhood [vogue]
Buy Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation for around $17 [amazon]
Previously, most definitely related: Daddy Writes

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