Just before we had children we lived for a year in London. I would often write letters back home describing our life. It’s so disappointing I didn’t know about blogging then! I wish I had kept a copy of these reports. I really enjoyed doing this so much.
I was supply teaching for the first few months in London – my goodness that was an experience and a half! In my head as I was experiencing all these crazy scenarios, I started dreaming up writing a fictional novel of a supply teacher living in London. I wanted to base it on the funny things that kept happening around me. I could never think of an original plot to base all these funny stories around, so I never did get started writing. I would be in a school watching things happen, and in my mind I would be constructing these ripper paragraphs and descriptions, but it went no further. I can’t remember those words anymore, it still makes me sad that I didn’t write them down.
|A much younger ‘us’. Christmas 2005, I was two months pregnant.|
After we returned home and had our first child I found myself in a mother’s group. We started that group as new Mums with our firstborns. The eldest child was 5 months, the youngest 3 days. We would meet weekly at one another’s homes and chat about everything. Not only would we meet once a week and talk non-stop for several hours, we would also send long emails to one another throughout the week. (The writer in me loved that aspect of the group.) I loved that group as dearly as they were my own extended family. We were so different, we came from different backgrounds, had different beliefs and different opinions on how to raise children. The different personalities within the group was my favourite aspect of the group. If our mother’s group was a play in a theatre, even the most hardened critic would have written that all the characters were extremely well developed, complex and interesting.
One of the other mothers was a high school English teacher. She was a far superior writer to me. I used to love reading her emails, they were so clever and funny. Reminiscent when I was teaching in London, I started taking incidents that were happening during mother’s group and writing it in my head as a scene played out during a novel. The English teacher and I were talking once and I broached the subject that our mother’s group was an excellent springboard for a novel and asked if she would be interested in writing a fictional novel together. She was interested, and I thought we would make a really good team and that might be more successful then my London novel idea. We met one day and made up a cast of characters. We identified the endearing aspects of everyone’s personality, mixed up these characteristics and gave them to fictional characters and mixed in some extra fictional qualities so that we weren’t directly talking about any one person from our mother’s group. Combine all the funny things that happen while you are parenting, I think it had the potential to be a good story. However once more, a plot was not created.
Due to busyness we never started writing. The stories were written and told in my head and were once again not being recorded. I realised that I was going to start losing these stories again. I decided to start a blog if only to keep some stories for future use. I didn’t even know what a blog was really. I had only heard about blogs because one of the Mums had set up a blog for us to write about our babies and post pictures for one another. We hardly used it at all, and I still didn’t even really understand what a blog was. But it was enough that when I decided that I needed to start writing down some of my motherhood stories down, I remembered the blog and thought that this might be a good place to store the stories until I could finally work out a good plot!
I had no idea about the blogging community. When I began I had no idea about how wide and how far spread the blogging world is. But oh my goodness. Once people started reading this little space and commenting, I was hooked. Finally I not only was recording my words, I had an audience. My motivation to write was fueled and increased. I remember Kate from Killing a Fly With a Ukulele was the first blogger to make a comment on a post. I was ecstatic, I felt like a celebrity had come to visit my house! (I know this will make Kate smile!) Once I discovered there was a blogging world, I had asked people if they read blogs and to give me the addresses. A friend had directed me to Kate’s, and I had loved her humorous recounts of motherhood and life, and had left several comments. I had no idea that it is common for bloggers to sprinkle comment love throughout the internet!
Being a part of the blogging community is a constant source of delight. It is a different friendship to the conventional friendships. When you read somebody’s blog, you only get to know the aspects of themselves that they choose to reveal. (Although sometimes you can read between the lines.) It’s a controlled space, and rightly so. But the friendships that develop are real as well. Sometimes people moan about people neglecting ‘real life’ face to face friendships. I would say that many of the relationships that have formatted digitally are real also. The format of friendship is just altered from the traditional.
I don’t know whether I will ever write a fictional novel. For now, blogging is keeping me happy and satisfying my urge to write. I hardly have the time to blog, so to write a novel seems like a impossible task! The thought of trying to construct an original plot still does not feel tangible to me and I think I could make a lot of improvements to the craft of writing before I embark on such a project. But who knows, perhaps one day when life becomes slower some characters might wander into my mind and start telling me their story.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you if you regularly read this space. You are the fuel for my fire. When I was at teacher’s college, it was always highlighted that children need an audience as motivation to write in order for them to feel their writing is worthwhile. There are some people who write and keep it private, the process itself is all that is necessary for those, often introspective people. I am not one of those people. I thrive with an audience. Without my precious readers who read and comment, most of these words would not have been recorded. So thank you once again for being on this journey with me.
Chantelle Ellem once wrote a post at Fat Mum Slim about having three people (not necessarily actual people) in mind while you write your blog. I have “three” people in my mind that guide the direction of my blog. The first is a woman/mother who just needs encouragement to get through the daily grind, whether it be a funny story to lift her spirits, a motivational word or a thought to help readjust her mental headspace to make life more achievable and to ward off depressive thoughts. The second is a Multiple Mum,
perhaps a pregnant higher order multiple mother, who is desperately trying to find some answers or hear some experiences of how another mother survived parenting multiples. The third ‘person’ is actually five people. My children. I dream that one day my children will read my blog and be grateful that there is a record of their life, their family, their world as they grew up. I hope that what I have shared about them isn’t a source of embarrassment to them, but they rather view it as a record, and that they understand that some of the details of their personal story has helped the first two readers that I have talked about. I hope that their compassion for the first two readers will help cancel out any hesitation they may have about having parts of their life on public record. I have an image in my head that the week after I have left this earth and my children are grieving and wondering what my thoughts were, they will read this space and examine the images, and even have fond memories as they look at the stories and pictures. I hope as they do, and even if tears blur the words at times, they will feel my love for my children and their father oozing out of every word. That the words will scroll past the screen and twist into their hearts, soothing their loss and reassuring them that there is part of me that they can connect with and that will never leave the world and it will be a solace to them until our Spirits are reunited in Heaven.
What power the written word can have. What comfort it can display. What laughter it may bring forth. What encouragement it can have. I will be forever thankful to God that he has given me this passion. Writing, for me, is a true gift from my Heavenly Father.