To Write is to Mother – Discovering My Vocation to Write, Part One

My friend Colleen is starting a project.  A BIG project.  A book-shaped project.

Colleen wrote me an email several weeks ago, introducing herself and complimenting me on my (unthinkable? insane?) decision to write a novel, run a blog, and raise a toddler, all at the same time. I’m Supah Mom like that.  (Kidding.)  Anyway.  Colleen and I began emailing, and, lo and behold, we have all these random, Twilight Zone connections – including a pen name connection.  Kid you not.  Emails turned into phone calls, and, to quote Colleen, now we’re “real-life” friends.

And, as she says in her post, our friendship has helped her make a decision to write the book she’s been wanting to write.

But just like Colleen, I owe my decision to write my novel to the encouragement of others.  Without my father, my friends, and especially my husband, I would still be stuck in a stinky pile of frustrating restless-do-nothingness, asking myself the question I was tired of asking myself, “What am I going to do with my life?”

I love being a mother.  It’s part of my “yes” to God when I accepted my vocation as a wife.  Love and life and laundry and more love – there are gems, precious and beyond numbering, in marriage.

In marriage I find my calling to open my heart and accept others, accept love, accept Love – and to give. To bear forth that same love and Love into the world.  Our son, infinitely precious and like no other, comes from that same bond of receptivity and creation.  As parents, we have the role to raise him toward a life lived in the fullness of freedom and love.

But another aspect of my “motherhood” lay undiscovered. I did not know what I was missing until someone – my dad – made a simple suggestion.

“You should think about writing again.”

At the time, I had no ideas, nothing about which to write.  But I was open to his suggestion.  I accepted it for what it was and, without obsessing, considered it.

A few weeks later, my friend Vicky said the same thing.  “You should be writing, Rhonda!”

Talk about uncanny.

I was listening.

I was sitting on our couch, some weeks later, my mind roaming La-La Land during morning prayer.  As my mind wandered, an incident in our past (bumping into a well-known Hollywood actor in Chicago – a rather embarrassing event, incidentally) replayed itself in my mind’s eye.

Then it burst into being. Characters, a setting (Chicago), and a situation.   And the characters began speaking to each other.  In my head.

Now, when Dad suggested I think about writing again, I thought I’d be writing non-fiction.  Fiction?  Never gave it a serious thought.  The experience of hearing my fictional characters’ voices speaking to each other in my – my! - head was in every way unexpected.

Whatever this was and is, it did not come from me.  I did not seek it.

But I was open to it.

I then told my husband what happened.  We talked.  I took notes.  The story began to grow.

Jane Austen used to call her books her “darling children,” a sentiment I now understand.  The Muse sang the story-song, I welcomed it, and it grows in the writer’s womb until I can issue it forth into being.  It is an act of creation, but I create like a woman – open to receive, and willing to give.

Click for Part Two

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