I’ve had this site, blog, on-line journal — whatever you want to call it — for 5+ years now. It is about three weeks younger than Kate.

And some days lately it feels useless to me. Pointless. Aimless, wandering, and completely worthless.

I don’t really know what I am doing.

I’ll probably soldier on — I haz deep thoughts, and I have to get them out; I am an insecure parent, dresser, wife, and sometimes I need reassurances, or advice, or whatnot; I like the sound of my own voice (let’s face it).

But sometimes when I read stuff that floors me — like this, and if you are a parent or caretaker of any kind GO READ THIS STORY, and be amazed — I have a mini-crisis. Like of the “what the fuck am I doing with a blog” type of crisis.

This story — that story — is not about me, but I just want to talk about it a little more for awhile, about how it slammed the breath out of me, for reasons obvious and not-so-obvious. And, yeah, if you haven’t read it GO GO GO — I retweeted it last night after reading it from a re-tweet, and it’s obviously struck me, hit me where I live, because here I am incoherently blogging about it.

The obvious ways the post hits me: as a mother, as a baby lost mother, as a mother with three — no, four — children, as a mother who has said of her third (live) baby, “He’d have to be bleeding from the eyes for me to be worried” — cavalier much? — as a mother who prays for the safety of her children with almost every breath in spite of my demonstrated cavalier-ness (is that a word?).

The not-so-obvious way that post hits me: as a writer.

I’ve read it through three times now, and gotten chills each time — even though I know the outcome — and I have been that mother, even though I haven’t had that happen to one of my children *knock knock knock on wood*, I have been on the verge of being that mother, and (please excuse me, Dad) sweet Jesus Christ what writing.

I am, down to the soul of my being, a writer. Before I was a woman, before I was a wife, mother, before even probably I was a good friend, I was — I am a writer. I wrote my first poem in fourth grade, and that pretty much set my feet on the path they have been on since I was — how old are you in fourth grade? 8? 10? — yeah, a long time.

And I am having a real crisis directly related to my writing; I have been having this crisis for some time now. (It is also tangentially related to my mothering and working outside the home, but I don’t have the words right now.)

Because I don’t think I am doing what I am supposed to be doing with my writing (or as a mother), and I am not sure how to move forward and get on with doing it.


Well, dammit. Here’s stuff I have to start telling Flora now (and Kate soon). Bring tissues.

9 thoughts on “Futility

  1. You have some thoughtful and thought-provoking things to say, so I say keep on going and don’t worry about writing something that is profound (which, I realize, is not exactly your concern). You may be doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing. For now anyway.

    I have been searching my soul for years trying to figure out what I am supposed to be doing. Just when I think I have it figured out, I realize I don’t. But you know you are a writer. Even if you don’t yet know what you are supposed to do with it/this, just the knowing is something.

  2. I struggle every day with what I’m supposed to do with my writing. I feel like there’s something there but… I need more direction. Or do I need to stop thinking about it, overanalyzing it, and just write?! I’m no help.

    Thank you for mentioning my post. I’m thrilled that it hit you on a couple of levels. Sure, on the mom level, but the writer thing is a real struggle. It makes me want to stare at others’ writing and piece out what it was that knocked the wind out of me. Tear it apart and poke around on the inside.

    Let me know when you figure it out.

  3. Everyone’s story is important. I don’t feel comfortable putting mine online, but those who do should keep doing it. Remember, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Teddy Roosevelt. It’s an odd quote here since you linked to a comparison that is not joyful, but if you feel like something you should say it. If people don’t connect with you they’ll stop reading. As one who values putting down ones thoughts I don’t think that should matter. Plus, I think you say a lot of things that a lot of us connect with.

    As for that other story, I must admit that I started reading with a bit of a jaded view. My son had a febrile seizure. It was terrifying. It also conveniently happened on a day when I had a little spotting with my second pregnancy and my midwife told me to take it easy. Ha! It was a long night, but I’m told the incident is likely isolated and should have no longer term effect. I figured that blog would be a retelling of what I knew. But my son had a typical febrile seizure. The atypical version described in that account is much more horrifying than what I went through.

  4. The story you linked is amazing. Scary story, lovely telling. Your writing is wonderful too, RPM. That is why I am always here. It’s not because I know you (tho it is cool that I do) or that I envy you or pity you or want to be you. It’s because I relate to you. And the way I know that is through your writing. It is a gift.

  5. been hearing way too much about seizures lately. a friend of mine’s son, 12 years old, with autism had what they think was a seizure saturday night and stopped breathing. terrifying. first time they have ever seen it. was flown my helicopter to CHOP. i remember comforting my son’s teacher when my son had his most recent seizure at school. they are both okay now, but as a parent, you are forever changed. vigilant. watching for those staring spells. it was an incredibly written story. reminded me of the post you wrote about Kate running away from you into the street and narrowly escaping being hit by a car. and there for the grace of God we go. reminds be to be grateful for all of my blessings. hugs to you, my dear. seems you are looking for inspiration. it will come.

  6. I think we have to keep writing, somewhere, somehow. There are always stories, always words, that need a way out of our brains, lest they percolate forever and drive us crazy. Really. I’m glad you’ve chosen this space to tell your stories, and I’ll keep coming back as long as you do.

  7. Thank you so much for passing on the story (as a new mother, I was in tears as I held my 6-week-old so tight while he breast-fed) and for expressing what I think every writer feels (the “why am I doing this?”). I can’t offer anything more than that–thank you. Honesty is refreshing and helpful in and of itself. (You know?) Keep writing, lady. ❤

  8. after your bro. 1st year of hockey, he was asked to participate in a “all-star” game. On the ride home from the 1st practice, I asked how it went. He said, rather upset,”terrible, I not going back, I was the worst player there. I said, ” let me understand what you are upset about, being the worst player on a “all-star” team? He said back, ” dad, you always told us (meaning my children) to be THE BEST!. I almost wrecked the car. I pulled over, looked at him, and said, you heard me wrong, I want you to DO your best, and be happy with your effort, not the result. That night I made sure I told his two sisters the same thing at the dinner table. Now, doing your best does require some self analysis, and I have noticed that the 3 women in my clan are very tough on themselves, much more than the 2 men, who take after popeye’s motto, I yam what I yam. I guess it would be best for us if we could meet in the middle. You are a great mom, wife, daughter, and writer, (you arrange them in the order you wish), and the best Dawn [Red Pen Mama] I know. Keep growing Dawn, you’re doing fine and I love you for wanting to be better. But sometime “better” can be “great’s” worst enemy. And as a ps. when you do tell your children those 10 things, check back with them and ask them what they “heard”. Happy Mother’s Day. xoxo dad

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