Susan's Blog

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Scent of a New Book

I am slowly and painfully starting writing a new book, which is a prequel to Dirt: A Story of Gardening, Mothering and a Mid-life Crisis. This book already has a few hundred pages, believe it or not, because I have many, many “books” stored in my hard drive that I use in different writings. These books are from years and years of raising babies and trying not to go insane with boredom. (When I say that, I have to clarify that it is not my sons who were boring, but just the work of early-childhood-mothering. To be perfectly honest, which is one of my specialties, the diapers and the feedings were not the aspect of early childhood that I hated. In fact, I loved the feedings because of the eye contact and the smells. I love baby cereal — if you have never tried Gerber Baby Oatmeal made with warm milk, I highly recommend it. This is one of the most delicious foods I have ever eaten. I love the smell of formula. I loved baby breath — a scent so delicious they named a flower after it. I didn’t mind diaper-changing, once I switched to disposable. My boys almost never had rashes or things like that. I think it’s because I didn’t use all those products that prevent rashes!

No, the part about early childhood I hated was 1) Panicking over whether or not my babies were okay developmentally, i.e., neurotypical; and 2) if they were not, wondering what I should be doing other than reading to them and talking and playing with them constantly; and 3) the making of playdates. I hated having to coordinate with other moms, sometimes hang out with perfect strangers and make small talk for two hours!)

So my “escape” has ever been writing. People ask me, “how do you find the time?” And I am stumped. How could I not find the time? I have to write. It is my favorite fun to have alone. I hate that question because it implies I’m some kind of superhuman or weirdo. Well, okay, I know it is meant as admiration, but — is it weird the way I write and write? So I worry about that.

So when Max was one, that darling little boy in those vids I posted, (and to be honest, I expected far more of a collective cry of delight from you, my readers, because I was giving you, at last, a true picture of how my boys actually were in those days, my gifts from God given to you) I wrote The Scent of Violets. That book’s plot is too weird for me to describe here, (past lives meets OCD meets child abuse meets autism) but the characters are all there. They could easily become the characters in Dirt, but twelve years earlier.

The characters take my breath away. They seem real to me, they are very like my own family, and yet they are not. They live on their own, in their own universe. It is like getting together with very old friends, loaded down with baggage and history which is sometimes stultifying, and other times, like being wrapped in a favorite old blanket.

2 comments

Hi, Susan! I hope you don’t banish me into blog hell after this, but I tagged you in my blog. I hope you still do tags. (Pretty please?)

As for the new book, if it were half a compelling read as your blog, I’m sure it’ll do very well. You have great stories to tell.

Blessings and happy day!

— added by Kittymama on Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 8:31 am

I love baby food too.

I WAS delighted over your videos!! I was!!!

I want to read your new book!

— added by Drama Mama on Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 1:52 pm

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