I thought the years between there and here would be like the afternoon I got lost west of the Charles Bridge in Prague. I often got lost during my month there, but it started to rain and I ran into a poet friend who invited me up to the nearby garret room he shared with his Czech girlfriend. She was shy, but she made me a cup of tea and he played a scratchy recording Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech on cassette tape for me. I left soon after the speech played out, as the rain had stopped and I felt I was making the girl uncomfortable, but I left with some heady sense of understanding, knowing I must anguish and endure and prevail. I thought I would graduate from university and get lost in the world for a few years, living and struggling and putting it all to prose. And then, on a rainy April afternoon several months later, just as I was beginning my final term at Northwestern, I found out I was pregnant.
And so the years between there and here have been domestic. My days play mostly to the rhythm of others’ needs, and it is hard, but also it is this rhythm that has brought me consistently to the page. Sebastian takes the babies to the park, and I walk to the corner coffee shop to write. I am a mother, and there is a great deal of immediacy in it, in sleepless nights spent soothing colic or a new tooth, in the kiss needed when a finger is caught in a drawer, in the picture book that must be read whenever I have a moment to sit down. But always, I come back to the page, to writing.
As I have mentioned here before, I am currently in a creative writing MFA program. I have one year down, one year to go. And as I have recently mentioned, I am writing a novel.
This time I have been given to write in my program is invaluable. I have no doubt that, had I not hunkered down, had my husband and little ones not selflessly supported this dream, had we not committed to seeing this through so that we might create a more stable future for our family, I would not be writing this book. Maybe someday, but most likely, always someday.
I have one year left to finish it. Yes, a self-imposed deadline, but also a necesarry one. And there is something I need to do in order to move forward in the writing:
This is a piece of my novel that has grown over the past year, alongside the central story. I think what needs to be said about it is said on my indiegogo project page -- though I believe I will find much more to say over the next couple of months.
But not too much. I tend to hold these things close, not wanting to jinx the process, and the final product.
I can't wait for this to be real, to be something I can put forth in the world, and into your hands.
I hope you might be able to help.
PS: The photo is one I took back in 2007, when I was first in the Czech Republic.
PPS: My novel will not be titled The Velvet Mother -- this is rather what I am calling this section of the book, and so it became the name for the project.