Beasties, Babies, Publishing, and Circuses
by KJ Hannah Greenberg
My life is a circus. I frolic with well-trained dust bunnies, rabid, imaginary hedgehogs, and rare two-headed wildebeests. I moon over chamomile tea while contemplating the audacity of leaving upright mike stands in place at rock concerts' end. I encourage my pretend friends to graze nearby since those otherworldly critters like objects crafted from alloys. Sometimes, I also write.
It might or might not matter that humanity's interdependence with other species has been long and varied. Whether hunting non-domesticated creatures, raising barnyard beasts for food and fabric, employing animals to entertain us, or using them for companionship, we humans have shared an irregular joint history. I claim as much in my manuscripts.
I pen similar things about raising children. As my sons and daughters aged, they were awake during longer periods of daylight. Correspondingly, my beloved Computer Cowboy and I increasingly embraced nocturnal tendencies. Sometimes, we'd linger in the darkness long enough to greet the sunrise. I published stories about how Computer Cowboy just shrugged at those changes.
I wrote, too, about how our offspring, those celestial bodies kept me in the running for "Mommy Most in Need of Reform," kept getting taller. As they developed, Missy Older counted my grouches, Older Dude interrogated me about my exercise habits, Missy Younger pointed out my lack of fashion sense, and Younger Dude remarked about my inability to delegate chores fairly. Age, to them, correlated with unspoken permission to sound off.
So, I took to canned responses, both in person and on paper. Parenting remains a process well served by stale answers to fresh questions. Such comebacks ought not to be reserved for dead fish, or lively bureaucrats. No one has the right to award empirical status to a Mama. Besides, even when I'm confounded by technology, I appreciate instantaneous and flashy goods. If Missy Older was not otherwise lost in the throes of bus station shopping or by playing Randomly Dead Pawns with Older Dude, could help me with the details of convergent media-produced discourse.
Meanwhile, it continues to be less painful to gage my life per the pivots of my family and the nature of my publications than per my dress size. Whereas planets spin around the sun, and might, in tandem, orbit the moon, their paths remained fixed to the gyrations of "Mother." Plus, whereas in the galaxy of writing, no mawkish makeover ever bettered veracity, writers stay on as empowered to create and reify the nature of reality. Their lives, concurrently are more bounded and amorphic, fantastic and incendiary. Writers are not stymied by unnecessary mysteries such as a need to uphold a discrepancy between "idealized" and "realized."
After all, words, like family, ought not bite, but hug. It's tough, nonetheless, to refute that choices, chances, partners, and presumptions all get colored by personal goings on. Not all of life's answers come from cutting away connective tissue with a scalpel, i.e. from forsaking one's identity. Belief can and ought to be expressed.
No matter why or when one focuses on bits of fancy things or on mundanities, such scraps can be implemented in figuring out who one is without having to resort to becoming a gymnastics star, or to relying on stinging one's foremothers' harp across one's shoulders.
Granted, there continues to be a qualified nature to relativistic statements. Of most goings on, one can offer up "it depends." Consistency and predictability might be the goal, but writing, relationships, and self-care often achieve copper, not gold. There are sufficient, palpable qualities of life that are characteristic of the influence to get through the middle years.
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