Monday, March 09, 2009


Could be helping at my son's school today - teacher needs some extra help from parents to make Egyptian masks.

That was my plan all along - be the mom that answers the bell and shows up with little notice because the class is making Egyptian masks, and Egyptian masks are very cool and labor intensive, and I, of all people, know what it's like to teach 6th grade and need all the help I can get.

But instead I'm home pouring my guts on the page - opening old wounds, rubbing in the salt, and then splaying them open for the whole wide world to one day read in a book. And probably judge.

What went wrong?

Where and when did I get so far off Plan A?

Chicken or the egg?

Did my life and kids veer me to Plan B, or did I veer us to Plan B and the kids followed?

I was going to be the classic stay-at-home mom. I was going to cook. Clean. PTA.

I still clean.

If my kids actually ate real food at real food hours, would I cook?

We'll never know, I guess.

The hours and hours other mothers are pouring over recipes, shopping, chopping, stirring and baking, I am writing.

Is it selfish? Who cares what I have to say?

Every once in awhile a sweet comment comes in, or an e-mail, or someone writes on my "wall" on Facebook, and I feel slightly vindicated.

But most of the time I feel like if I don't write I'll take that big step from keeping it together, to losing it.

Had to re-read an old favorite, Anne Lamott's Bird By Bird, just to check in. This time I got out the highlighters and Post-It notes. Found this quote that seemed to speak to my angst: "We write to expose the unexposed. If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. Otherwise, you'll just be rearranging furniture in rooms you've already been in . Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer's job is to see what's behind it, to see the bleak unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words - not just into any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues."

She ends the book by saying this, "We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship."

So maybe I just like to sing during the terrible storms of life.

And maybe I'm just a lousy cook.


Michelle O'Neil said...

You sing during the beautiful moments too Carrie. Don't forget that. You sing everything.

And who gives an eff if you can cook when you can sing?

Jerri said...

You're not a lousy anything, Ms. Link. You're a woman making sense of the nonsense by describing it for others. This is a valuable thing for you and for us.

Keep singing.

Anonymous said...

sing on sister.

we'll all join in at the chorus.

Laurie said...

Please don't ever stop writing. I don't say that to cheer you up, I say that because you really do have a lot to say, and because you have a way of observing and reflecting on everything going on around you - and then expressing it in a way that makes all of us look again, pay attention, think, and feel, and while the cook/clean/PTA for the family certainly has a big claim on you--when writing is your sanity and your readers count on you for their sanity...well, perhaps just balancing both is key....In any case, thank you. Please don't change!

Stacy Quarty said...

Sing your heart out and don't stop. A happy mom is a good mom. That's a hellofalot more important than being a good cook!

Deb Shucka said...

Sing and shout and write. You seem to be doing fine with the food thing just as it is, and so does your family. I need your words and your insights and your lovely and loving soul.

Teri said...

So, you know when you get the preflight speech that says "Should we experience a sudden drop in cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from the compartment above your seat.....please secure your mask before securing the masks of your children"? Well, I believe your oxygen mask is your writing. You won't be able to be the best wife/mom you were designed to be if you don't first don your own mask. Be free of the "shoulds haves", my friend.

kris said...

I think every mother thinks the other mothers are doing "all the right stuff," when actually we are all doing what we can....and we are usually more similar than we think

Anonymous said...

My day isn't right if I don't first get to read what you've written.

Write on, dear Carrie!

Lola said...

YOu are not a lousy anything! Rejoice in the singing! We are listening and adoring!

Jenny said...

Cooking vs. writing? No comparison!

kario said...

Cooking, shmooking. You make a fabulous Caesar salad!

And an even better mother.

And a glorious writer.

Love Bird by Bird.

Love you more.

She said...

Yes. Keep singing. We're listening. Keep writing. We're reading!


Angie Ledbetter said...

If you don't tell the story, nobody will. And there are far fewer moms happily puttering in the kitchen than you might think.

I've had to rewrite my old dreams too -- some revisions I'm okay with, others I just live with. But through it all, we CAN write about it. One person may need to read our words to keep themselves in that boat. One person is good enough for me.

Huggage and remember what Hem. said..."Write one true sentence..."

Lori said...

Is it selfish to take care of yourself? If so, call me selfish, too.

What a nice song you have. It'd be a pity not to share that. I'm fortunate - we're all fortunate - that you do.

Anonymous said...

You write because you have to.

You're not just a mother, you're also a human being who has stories inside of her that are clamoring for attention.

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

I'm so glad to read what you write. I just wish I'd found you sooner! (And yes, I've been combing your archives :)

Amber said...

"The hours and hours other mothers are pouring over recipes, shopping, chopping, stirring and baking, I am writing. "---

Who the fuck are these mothers? Because they ned their asses kicked.



Wanda said...

You write because you must. Aren't you a Mayan Calendar Road? You must show the way. You must. Life off track is a crappy life at best.