Friday, August 31, 2007

Life Breaking In

Okay, I'll admit it; I'm an English major. Not only that, but I'm an English teacher. Now, don't start editing my posts, because I'm primarily online and typing with one hand (or maybe half a hand!) as I nurse my baby girl. But anyway, I have a heap of favorite authors and favorite quotations, and one such author is Virginia Woolf, and one of my favorite quotations of hers is regarding her novel Mrs. Dalloway (It's my favorite comedy in all of literature--A comedy? you may ask--just wait for more on that). If you haven't read it, it's this stream of consciousness novel about one day (and many flashbacks) in which Clarissa Dalloway puts together a party. Yup. That's it. But her double in the novel, Septimus (spoiler alert! Hmm, does one do spoiler alerts for early 20th century stream of consciousness novels?) is experiencing post traumatic stress from the world war and ultimately commits suicide. Woolf had planned on having Clarissa do the same, but instead she chooses to live, to back into the party she has created. And Woolf explains, "I meant to write about death, but life kept breaking in as usual." So the party represents life, the transient joy of the moment, and Woolf ended up writing a comedy, an affirmation of life, rather than a tragedy. And this is my favorite kind of comedy, one that reaches its arms around the horrors and sirens and regrets and limitations of human life, but still revels in the small daily joys that actually make life rather wonderful--the bells, the flowers, the parties, the moments of exultation.

I chose "Life Breaking In" as a blog name because I'm trying to appreciate life as a stream of those bright moments, and also because it seems that life really will "break in" and gently pry the lists of expectations and well-rehearsed, perfectly-envisioned scenes of living to which one might have been clinging, and instead beat you about the head with distress, or toss you up on a wave of sudden joy, or just lead you through permutations and different paths than those you were trodding along. And I want to be open to that. I'm pretty open to new things, and I'm trying a lot out right now, and pushing myself towards more. New thing Number One: being responsible for a tiny human being's life and upbringing. Then there's taking a break from teaching to devote time to that, learning how to keep house without poisoning the environment or my baby, exploring and using parenting techniques and products, writing the second in a planned trilogy of novels, keeping up with my reading, and pushing myself to make more friends in the area (worse than approaching another single person at a bar/party/etc.: approaching a mom and her child at the local park). So hopefully I'll get the chance to capture some of these moments, these daily adventures, here. Hopefully it'll all make for a wonderful comedy.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


So today as I'm watching my four month old daughter mesmerized by the palm tree shadows stroking the hot glaring patio concrete, I think, that's how it always is. Blazing hot joy and dark streaks of sorrow. Or maybe just monotony and exhaustion. Hey, I am a new mom. But yeah, my daughter's pixie face morphing into a fat grin festooned with a thousand chins--they way she seems to play cute and innocent and coo up at me after nursing, but with utter confidence in her enthrallment of me--how she wakes smiling with round, shallow blue eyes, looking around for me or her daddy--yeah, those will go nicely with the tedium of tiredness. In fact, the brightness is rather overwhelming.

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