It's monkeybar work: the most gripping of tensions. Everything hangs on the strength of two determined hands, both too small for the task but yet somehow adequate. Swing and you are propelled to the next bar with a bit of momentum behind you. Hang and you are sure to weaken and fall.
I've spent the last 8 years suspended on the mothering/writing playground. In this time I've published two books and burnt a lot of oatmeal. Mothering and writing for me is all about movement. How to maneuver within the very small, intimate, pressured space of the day. How to find openings large enough for the bottom-of-the-purse crayon to find its way to the back-of-the-cash-register-receipt page. Between 9 am and 10:45. Somewhere between the cereal box and the sugar bowl. I've found having a poem to tumble around in my mind is a highly productive and exciting way to stand at attention by the pool side.
Of course guilt comes to mind. But that's the smallest thing I could say about it. It's far more than that. Because it's essential. If I were not to create on some level, I don't quite know quite how I would be able to engage fully in the world, least of all as a mother. The soufflé would fall flat. All the blossoms would be pinched off. Because creating is sustenance. What would meal preparation be without a poem simmering in the back ground, without that open page beside me, splattered in marinara and metaphor?
It's the most fragmenting, satisfying, conflicting, and loving of all projects I will ever experience. Not to mention the most alone--there are no editors to help me get the balance right, nor is there anyone sitting on the sidelines waiting for my next poem! But there certainly is a hide-and-seek request calling out to me from the other side of the playground at any moment. I have to find that necessity in myself. The challenge is to give space to what isn't yet in existence. To throw out my hand and believe there is another bar to catch.
This content is provided by Jennifer Still. The views expressed do not express the views of CBC. CBC is not responsible for this content.
Listen to Jennifer's interview with host Keran Sanders on Weekend Morning Show, from Sunday May 8: