Thursday, July 3, 2014

Followup to "Parenthood, Identity Crisis, and Guilt."

I got a lot of responses -- both private and public -- to Tuesday's weepy blog about the guilt of being an artist. One of my favorites was from a childless artist, who commented that the guilt is there whether or not you have a kid. That is so so true. I really don't feel guilty when I hire a sitter to go to a gig or teach a piano lesson because I'm earning an income when I do those things. It's knowing that creating art does not generate income (immediately) AND knowing that it's not something I need merely "once in a while," that makes me feel bad.

That said, I've been thinking a lot about art v. craft lately. In the songwriting workshops I've taught, it's a big part of my lectures. I'll skip to the good part: basically, you need to have perfected the craft part so that the art has a solid outlet. In other words, if you don't practice writing, even if you yield lots of crap, then you won't be ready to write when the good ideas hit you.

I used to be able to wake up, make a pot of coffee, and start writing. Not all that I wrote was good, of course, but I wrote. Daily. And when I got a great idea for a song, I was ready.

I know binders full of women writers (#binders) who can wake up two hours before their kids do and start writing. They also write during their children's naps. A high school friend managed to publish a novel this year by doing just that. (I bought said novel, and you should too.) They make it seem so obvious.

But my struggle is:
  1. My kid still doesn't sleep through the night (he's 21 months old), and his naps are short, unpredictable, and sometimes non-existent. I've gotten used to it and stopped complaining about it, but that doesn't make me any less sleep-deprived.
  2. I'm so out of practice with my craft that it takes me about three hours away from the Wee Boy before I can wind down and start to write. 
  3. Ergo, I need to hire a babysitter for, like, 10 hours a week or something, so that I have time to wind down and get my craft-groove back. 
  4. I feel guilty hiring a babysitter for so long, when my art income isn't as much as she earns.
I know, I know, I shouldn't feel terrible. Thank you all for that support. Maybe it goes back to my Jewish mother and Catholic father. That's, like, the guiltiest combination of all, right?

Anyway, enough pontificating. Thanks for sticking with me. As a reward, here are some cute pics of the wee boy, along with some cute things he has said this week:

1. "I'm so tall ... like Notre Dame ... in Paris." (said while standing on Daddy's stomach)
2. "May I have nursies now, please, Mommy-o?"
3. "I swim underwater to you!"
4. "I want to go to Renaissance Fair. In Colleen's car!" (We went to the Faire a few weeks ago. Another blog about that.)
5. "We're cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast."
6. "Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I understand what you are."

He may not sleep, but he is advanced in the chatterbox department (shocker!).

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