A few weeks ago, I put Jennifer Weiner’s Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing on hold at my library because I’m looking for some writing inspiration. The last time I was serious about my writing was when I was taking a creative writing course and the requirement to submit gave me the push to write. Oh, how I longed to be a writer! I’ve always wanted to write. As a kid, I wrote novels and poems and stories--filling Hilroy notebooks--and in high school I started submitting poems to my local newspaper. I was serious about it in university, taking writing courses, and submitting work.
Later, I wrote a bit when I lived and taught in NYC, but only for myself. I never submitted anything. After teaching in NYC, I spent a year doing my MA at the University of Toronto. This is where my love for writing was bulldozed by that impossibly hard year in academia. I spent ten months with imposter syndrome, daydreaming of chick lit and mystery novels. I worked hard. I achieved my goals, but vowed if ever I did another year in academia it would be in something better suited for me. During that year I took one course from the Library Studies department called Young People: Collection Development, and it filled me with such joy that I’d realized I should have done my degree there. Since then I have studied writing on my own and learned more by teaching. It took me a few years to recover my love for writing--that year was rough! I am happy for it now, but when I was in it--yikes.
It wasn’t until I was on maternity leave with my first child that I started to really feel that pull back to writing. I’d take long walks to put the baby to sleep, and find myself speed walking home to write out the story before she woke up. Other times, I’d sit with a baby on my chest, she fast asleep because it was--and often still is--the only place she’d really truly sleep, and I would create. I don’t know when the first germ of postpartum creativity hit me, but since having my daughter in September 2015 I have five novel ideas in various stages of notes and drafts.
Now, almost two years into this revived creativity I am ready to write, but I still need a little push to accept this new drive. Suddenly all that desire to write and create that I had at twenty is back and I can’t lose it now. And so I have been reading other writer’s stories. I read Weiner’s book to give me a spark for my writing. This book did that, but in an unexpected way. Something about Weiner’s candid discussion about her body lifted a mirror up to my own experiences.
I read it over a week, and I would often whoop in glee. I read it at night. I read it surreptitiously while my toddler toddled around our living room. I read it in the front seat of my SUV while my toddler finished her car nap--and I ate her snacks. And the entire time I felt like I was reading something I should have read long ago. I was a bit ashamed at the way I’d been seeing myself and my weight and my diets and my addiction to weight loss. The book was a mirror, and the more I read the scarier the reflection became.
In the end, this book exposed my past (dieting, dating, writing, failing) and gave me a shinier reflection. This is that sort of book that reminds me why we read books: to think more clearly about ourselves, to see ourselves in others, and to live a little in some else’s shoes. I can say that after reading this book I have a little more of a push to write, and to be a little easier on myself.
These writings are comprised of my creative nonfiction, and books, books, books. This blog is a exploration of the books I read, the people I meet, and my life as a backyard homesteader.