This kid is driving me nuts.
My daughters don’t read my blog (though a couple of their friends do), so I feel pretty safe coming here to gripe about Emma, who is my excuse this morning for not working on my novel.
I don’t imagine that it is going to be all that shocking or even interesting to any of my readers to hear that a 15-year-old girl is in conflict with her mother.
This morning, driving her to school in total, aggravated silence, I thought about how Emma came into our lives. I thought about how, sitting in church one Sunday morning about three months before her birth, I broke down in sobs.
I already had two very busy little girls! I was 43 years old! My husband was even older! I was only one year into a tenure-track, full-time teaching job! Were we insane? What did we think we were doing? What if Emma’s birth mother changed her mind and we didn’t get her? After all this…angst! How on earth was this all going to turn out?
I was crying because I didn’t know the future and because I had no control over what little I did know.
I cried (a lot) this summer when my mom was so ill for pretty much the same reason. Whenever anyone asked my sister and I if we had any questions, I asked, “Do you have a crystal ball?”
Certainty, in theory, would be a wonderful thing. But it seems to me, sitting here in my writing cabin and avoiding my characters (who can also refuse to do what I want them to do), that we don’t really want certainty. Certainty, like the stasis my 19th-century American Literature professor used to talk about, is possible only in the grave. Life is change.
I will have to track down who said this (besides my friend Paul), but: The whole point of writing the truth is to write not what happened, but what it made you feel.
What we want is to feel. What we want is to have our hearts ripped open. That’s why we have children. And that’s why we read novels.