Writing with kids

On asking for what we need

On asking for what we need

At exactly 4 p.m., a text from our school district arrives, announcing the fourth snow day in a week, fifth if you count the day they sent the kids home early on account of an anticipated winter storm.

I am already resigned to the fact that O. will be home tomorrow, given the district’s track record — large flakes have been falling heavily all afternoon with no sign of a break. But the text reminds me just how far from normal this weather is for the Pacific Northwest — and how much of a transplant to this region I still am.

On setting intentions for process, not product

On setting intentions for process, not product

“Finding our ways as writers,” Louise DeSalvo writes in The Art of Slow Writing, “is a daily, ever-changing process. As soon as we've figured out how to work, something happens and everything falls apart and we need to learn how to work all over again.”

That is what the past few weeks have been about for me. I've been observing where my writing process has needed to shift around the changes in our family routines — a change of school, a change of schedule, a change in the availability of our childcare. It’s been messy. But to my relief, now that October has arrived, I feel some stability returning in spite of the loss of so much familiar structure.

On the perfect creative haven

On the perfect creative haven

I don’t write at a desk anymore — now on most weekdays, I stand on the staircase behind a baby gate while T., my 2-year-old daughter, listens to her favorite playlist piped from my laptop, which is precariously balanced on a stair post. Today, she’s tearing up the living-room floor to a combination of 1970s disco funk and Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, soon to be followed by the soundtrack to The Sound of Music. Her 5-year-old brother is usually in preschool, but it’s Saturday. As long as O. is also entertained by KC and the Sunshine Band, I have this moment to put thoughts to virtual paper before one of the kids will need food or the bathroom.