Deep Breaths - New Phase of Life

Image Description: Charlotte Kaufman wearing a pair of glasses and staring at the computer screen with slight smile on her face.

– This post was written on 8/22/18 but I’m only getting a chance to post it today. –

Today is the first day that both of my kids are in elementary school.

I’m sitting here in my workout clothes because I’m going hiking at lunch. Here in my room I'm wearing my long robe over my clothes because the days are already turning colder in Mammoth and it’s the perfect full body house coat and I’m staring at the computer screen and just….listening to the silence.

Eric and I work from home in separate rooms. After a long summer of both girls at home while we worked, I’m fluctuating between residing in the creative space that working without distractions allows and getting up to check on what they are doing only to remember that they aren’t here or in the yard for me to check on.

This is often why I go away to write, because even when I have alone time the thoughts of being a mother and needing to check on and interact with my kids never leave. I recently read and loved this piece by Claudia Dey in The Paris Review entitled Mothers as the Makers of Death. In it she explains:

Here is the artist-mother’s bar graph: line one—the multiplying size and need of her expression—held up against line two—the rapid dissolution of time. To write is to be in conversation with yourself, to preserve a state of being so you can conclude a sequence of thinking and feeling. The enemy to this process is intrusion. Children, in all of their beauty and wildness and strange genius, are, in the way of a meteorite, an intrusion.

{ Claudia’s latest novel, Heartbreaker, was released yesterday. Check it out. }

Image Description: A collage photo. Photo on left shows Eric and Charlotte Kaufman on their deck hugging their youngest daughter L. Photo on right shows L and C Kaufman with their arms around each other and smiling at the camera.

I’m staring at my screen because I’m sifting through waves of simultaneous expressions of joy at the freedom that time with my children gone from the home each day will give me and sorrow knowing that time is the enemy of us all. That my girls are growing before my very eyes. I am split between the deep desire to express myself through writing, alone, and to be present for my children in every way I can. The truth is I cannot completely do both so I do the best I can and hope it’s enough for them and for me.

Image Description: A screenshot of Charlotte Kaufman’s Facebook feed from August 22, 2017 showing a woman’s hand pouring two glasses of sparkling rosé wine with a pool and Palm Springs hotel in the background.

A year ago today I was in Palm Springs and I had just finished the first full draft of the Rebel Heart manuscript. For that too, I had to go away to write. When I go away it allows me to do this, like last weekend when I needed to finish draft SIX of that manuscript I completed last year in Palm Springs. I booked a hotel in Bishop, a town an hour south of me, and I wrote undistracted.

I’ll be able to write more day to day with my kids in school and I’m deeply excited at the prospect. I’ll still have to juggle my day job and my roles as wife, mother, friend, and human, but with the kids gone for large parts of the day, the space to create will be there and I welcome it.

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