With regret, I set down a jumble of slender double-pointed knitting needles and gaze at the limited progress I've made: a one-inch ribbed cuff, the beginnings of an impossibly tiny sweater sleeve, in a rosy pink that calls to mind the columbines for which this particular colorway is named. I can't knit any further without the larger needles that are supposed to arrive today in the mail.
I haven't been able to knit for months. Not for lack of supplies, but from near constant morning sickness, which I'd expected to disappear around 17 weeks as it did when I was pregnant with O. But not this time. Here we are, well into week 24, and there are still plastic bags stashed strategically around the house in case of emergency.
The motion-induced nausea eased off somewhat around week 22, so since then, I've enjoyed being back at my needles in anticipation of this new little one, slated to arrive in the first days of January. But food smells (and certain foods) are still hair-triggers, and all my energy is in reserve for toddler wrangling while D. is at work. So I've been keeping a low profile.
I wasn't prepared to be so sidelined, given that my first pregnancy was so vastly different from this one -- I had energy. But for whatever reason, this baby has insisted that I slow down. Which has meant a lot of sitting with my thoughts since the beginning of May, of listening to voices I tend to push aside when the normal busyness of life keeps me from paying attention.
I had the chance to attend a weekend writing retreat on Whidbey Island at the end of May, where (in between nibbling rice crackers) I gave myself permission to put some of those thoughts on paper. Real paper, an old school notebook I'd abandoned after eighth grade and unearthed again last fall. I wrote words I had avoided writing, read them aloud to a gathering of 60 women on the last day, remembered what it felt like to crack open the stoppered bottle of stories that needed to come out. Found new mentors. Returned home with a changed sense of what I needed to write. But not how.
Since then, I've continued to jot things down on paper, something I never used to do. It all feels fragmented and dream-journalish, as if my subconscious is doing the writing. But, given the slowing of the rest of my life, it's also felt like the right thing. That is, of course, until the needles came back out and the months of yarn deprivation caught up with me.
I'm trusting that the words are still there, and that the writing is taking its time for its own reasons. But I do wish coming to the page could always feel as compelling as waiting for today's postal delivery ...
If I’m Not Writing, Am I Still a Writer?
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