It's been three weeks since I worked on the short story that I'm trying to complete. I may get to it this weekend, we'll see. The story is in it's final stages of revision which is exciting for me and if allowed to do so I could work on it for 72 hours non-stop. But I guess I must feed my kids. Probably bathe and dress the three-year old, too.
I'm used to this start-and-stop creative cycle and I've learned to appreciate the process. There is something to be said about letting ideas mature and calcify before making art out of them. And I'm aware that you don't have to have young children to get pulled away from writing. Teaching, working, illness, life--they can all interrupt what would otherwise be a steady flow of inspiration.
Before I had a family, when something prevented me from writing, I'd find inspiration from movies, art shows, music. But those options aren't as practical or affordable, for me, with a family. There are a bunch of movies I'd like to see right now (The Wrestler, Revolutionary Road, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Notorious, Milk...I could go on) but movies + sitters are expensive. So Paul and I wait until it's on Netflix. We are going tomorrow with friends to see Revenge of a King, a hip-hop version of Hamlet performed by Phoenix's Black Theatre Troupe and maybe that will inspire me. But the truth is that we take in less art than we'd like.
So I've learned how to be inspired by everyday experiences during those periods when I know I won't have time to write. Recent observations/thoughts:
The smell of honeysuckle.
The teenage neighbor who borrowed 4 slices of bread because there was nothing to eat at his house.
The family of six (also neighbors) that can no longer afford their house and will move their family into the home of the kids' grandparents.
The way rainbows look in the Arizona sky.
Scorpions (my obsession with them).
The kid named Muhammad across the street. How others are suspicious of him.
The underground tunnels that immigrants hide in to get to to the U.S. This is something I read last week in Alberto Rios' memoir, Capirotada.
The story someone told me about a friend, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, who lived underground for a year in a sewer.
How anxious I feel having to undress for my male gynecologist.
The HUGE yellow python in the school library during a science fair at Amir's school.
These things will eventually work their way into my writing as images or themes, but I find it helpful to make a list so I don't forget these initial impressions.