Three weeks after arriving here in the San Francisco Bay area, I am struggling to re-emerge and return to some semblance of a writing life. Boxes unpacked and an odd approximation of a daily schedule materializing, I have high hopes for whatever opportunities this area may provide me in relation to my various loves (writing, childbirth education, supporting mothers, writing about the challenges of motherhood, friendships, family life in a new place).
But with two of our three kids back home with me full time, and the absence of the network of friends and childbirth ed/doula colleagues that fueled so much of my desire-driven work in the past, I find myself asking the self-pitying questions: did I ever actually have a writing life? How did I combine stay-at-home parenting with increasingly satisfying career pursuits?
Friends from conferences I attended of late, (and friends in general) write occasionally to ask how I’m coming on my (new) manuscript, how my agent queries are going and whether or not I’m working on anything new. This is the kind of support, I’m coming to understand, that writers need to keep each other going. It’s called: accountability.
That’s what, among other things, I’ve used this blog for.
Last night I watched Julia and Julie, the book-based movie about Julie Powell, an inner-New York-city woman who blogs her way through a year of cooking Julia Child’s recipes in the famed Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Protagonist Julie starts out using the blog as a witty documentation of her lofty goal but, ultimately, witnesses her own emotional and career-momentum-transformation through her on-line writing, and the public act of posting her way through this transformation.
Now lacking babysitters, preschool for our boys, familiar coffee shops in which to write (although the Starbucks I’m currently sitting in seems to be doing the job) and seratonin-sustaining get-togethers with girlfriends, I find myself wondering, can I really recreate what I had only recently established for myself at home? Can I arrange an (affordable) schedule that will allow me to: 1) continue caring for my children in the way my priorities dictate and 2) glean enough “me time” during the week to further my career pursuits and therefore enable me to be the better mom I think I had only recently become?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lacking for things to do here. In the past three weeks since landing here we have:
-visited the San Francisco Zoo
-visited the Pacific Ocean beach
-visited The infamous downtown SF Pier 39 (and ate Nutella-stuffed crepes…yum!) (and visited the public restrooms fifteen times because our three kids can’t seem to coordinate the timing of their excretory needs)
-visited the California Academy of the Sciences
-(twice) visited Coyote Point Park and museum (we love watching the river otters, and two of the three kids have become brave enough to pet the boa constrictor)
-visited the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum
-found a church to attend
– I have found and joined the California Writer’s Club-Sf/peninsula
-walked around famed downtown shopping areas of Palo Alto and Burlingame
-found, visited and purchased from the local IKEA (believe me, having lived in Montana for the past seven years, this is a notable event)
-signed the kids up for art and gymnastics classes
-had a tea party for our daughter and two new classmates
-had two playdates with the neighbor boys…
And yet, here I am, living in a city ripe with possibilities and suddenly, feeling awfully alone.