Fallow

Fallow Field

So it turns out that I don’t write much in the summer. You’ve noticed.

Our family is now fully steeped in its current incarnation: Agent 006 in elementary school, about to start second grade next week, and the Birthday Girl (still three in spite of intervening birthdays which refused to have anything to do with her) in preschool twice a week. With the help of our marvelous babysitter, I manage to extend those few childless hours into a ten-hour-a-week writing practice (not including late nights and “I just have to go to the bathroom” quick ducks into the writing studio for stolen moments with the page).

But somehow children and travel have completely absorbed my time and attention this season, rolled up my writing practice like an old wool rug nobody needs when it’s hot out and the lawn sprinklers call us to summer’s baptism of heat. And it’s impossible for me to feel guilty about it. I know what’s really happening.

Summer is my growing season, but story doesn’t grow on the same schedule as the vegetal world. Travel, my children’s inches and appetites, long, sweet hours at the pool and beach–I can feel myself soaking it all in like the browning of my skin. The fields of my story lie fallow in the summer; the children and I play together in the rich dirt. My fields may look as empty as the pages of my journal or as inert as my blog statistics, but I feel small creatures stirring underground. I feel the bursting of seeds, straining toward the light of back-to-school fall routines. Soon, I will be able to water these fields once more with scattered showers of solitude. With just those scraps of nourishment, and the discipline of the hoe, the stories will grow forth again.

Please stay tuned for these new series of articles, and more, coming this fall:

Little Travelers: Tips for parents and kids on traveling to destinations near and far, exotic and quotidian.

A Writer’s Passage: Wisdom shared from the June 2013 Book Passage Conference for Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, as it intersects with my life as a writer and mother of two.

The Beleaguered Kitchen: Ideas for creating nutritional family meals under duress

Bites from the Magic Apple: Strokes of parenting genius shared

See you soon!

Photo credit: Thanks to Paul Schultz for adding “Fallow Field” to the Creative Commons.

Spring Break Blues

Or, Didn’t Children Used to Keep Themselves Busy?DSC_0150

This is my third time through elementary school. I went through myself as a child, then I taught for ten years, and now I’m back in first grade again, as the parent of a first grader. I’m pleased by the promotion to first grade, because it means I’ve been at this elementary-school-parenting thing for two years now, and for me the second time around at anything is always better than the first.

At least this time I knew enough to be afraid of Spring Break. See, I’m an 80% stay-at-home mom. Eighty percent of the time, I can pretty much be and do whatever my kids and family and home need from me. And eighty percent of the time, being with my kids at home is just what I need and want, too. It’s the other twenty percent we all have to watch out for. If we’re lucky, I’ve managed to time my childcare and work just right, to coincide with those days when I really shouldn’t be anywhere near children, especially not my own. Continue reading