I have not missed you these past few months. I have not spoken to you, but I have not spoken much. Silence hangs around me, wonderful September, the month when children are born.
Perhaps you wonder why I haven’t written, where did our relationship go wrong? you wonder. What explanation can I offer for my silence, what explanation can I offer for abandoning you?—you who saw me through years of…marriage, houses, dogs, transatlantic flights, plantings of gardens, friendships, conversions, short winter days, and early summer dawns, poems, babies.
Many reasons for my recent silence come to mind. One reason in particular: a daughter who is One, who walks, runs, climbs, opens, closes, and dismantles with greater zeal than I had imagined possible. She is relentless: her energy, interest, joy. She sleeps less and less, and her wakefulness leaves little or time for books or blogs. Even now, as I type, she pulls herself onto my lap and with great violence attempts to grab the keyboard, then my notebook, then my earrings, then my eye. Indeed, Harriet herself alone is enough of a reason to abandon a blog.
But it is not only my newly monstrous toddler that has kept me from you. It is, strangely enough, the silence. I am loath to break the silence. You might wonder how I find any silence in the presence of the Lovely Holy Terror Child, whose vocabulary and volume are increasing by the hour.
Maybe the silence that I am finding is, in fact, my own silence in the face of the world around me, in the face of my loud and glorious child, in the face of the space and stuff of my own life. Maybe it is the fact that I have NOT, dear blog, told you about these things, NOT blogged about the past months, NOT commented, analyzed, catalogued, or curated my life for the benefit of an audience---maybe it is THIS which has made the events and experiences stand out bright and strong in my mind.
I did not blog on September 9th, when my baby turned one, when I sat in a huge auditorium with a friend listening to Bon Iver, remembering remembering remembering—last year’s labor, pain, fear, and joy when the baby came, how her hair was plastered to her tiny skull, her hands stretched out.
I did not blog about the afternoon when Hattie played in the hose on the driveway, singing, saying “Wah! Wah! Wah!” [“water!”] I took off her soaking clothes and she waddled dripping through the grass, fat tummy, tiny wrinkled naked butt. Sunlight on baby skin, water collecting in split cement: the last hot day of the year, and I rolled up my jeans, took off my shoes and walked through the pools.
I did not blog about last Friday, when I cleaned the house: the sweetness, the intense satisfaction of an orderly home—the wood floors dark and shining, the clothes folded and warm, a baby sleeping and food cooking. Outside the autumn crickets sang. My home: my quiet, peaceful home.
I did not write about these things. But now I have; now I broke the silence. Perhaps I’ve ruined it. I have told you about these things, just when I had *almost* decided never to tell you anything ever again, just when I had decided to remove myself from the public view, to retreat into a wholeness or solitude or silence I always hope to find.
Why did I do it? Why could I not, in the end, maintain a dignified silence?
Dear Blog, I am beginning to suspect that I am a writer, not a monk. Though every poet and every human must retreat at times to the cell—to watch, to wait, to pray—we must also go outside again, we must speak to our friends, engage our enemies. I am a writer and a writer must have an audience. God defend her from vanity, self-consciousness and narcissism which are counterfeits of this real urge: the urge to speak out, to say the world we saw in silence.
I may need you soon, my little blog. I may be forced, against my inclinations, to pour even more into you. I may even need to refashion you, and you--you may need to help me expand my audience. I’m a writer, after all, and a writer needs an audience.
Stay tuned for future developments.