Brittany: The Artiste at Work
I am finished with my novel.
I wrote down the words, but it hardly seems real. Probably because my critique group hasn’t had the chance to sink its teeth into my novel yet. Some revisions will still need to be made. But beyond that, I also feel a deep sense of melancholy about its completion. It, and Sam, were both conceived in November 2005. I have centered my life around them. They were my soul reason for being these last two, now almost three, years.
But now Sam is two, and going to preschool. The book is finished. John is here. Could I have a better reminder that time marches on?
I feel like, as a writer, I have been a neglectful mother. While I am holed away with my laptop searching for comma splices, my boys are growing bigger every day. I really should go live in the world I’m writing about, and bring them with me. Sometimes I feel such enormous guilt. Have I done what I set out to do? Do my boys love language, and reading, and art? Are they creative and open to possibilities? Do they see the world as magical and everyday objects as things to explore? I often wonder…
Yesterday, I got a yes.
I was nursing John. Just one side. Just for a minute. I knew I shouldn’t leave Sam to play unattended, but the baby did need to eat. I figured, what can he get into in just a couple of minutes?
I hear the word coming from the bathroom. I go to investigate. And this is what I found:
Sam had channeled Jackson Pollock and taken a half-full bottle of liquid soap and created a fabulous art display all over the bathroom vinyl. Then, he brought out his cars and furthered his artistic endeavors all over himself, the bathtub, and the bath mat. It was marvelous. It was horrifying. Like there are really enough hours in the day to clean up a mess of that magnitude?
I had to step back and look at it through his two-year-old eyes. What a thing of beauty is a bottle of soap? How easily it moves. How pretty it shines. You’ve got to hand it to the kid. He doesn’t lack for creativity.
And then I had an ephiphany. Maybe all that time I was fretting about being neglectful, it wasn’t really neglect at all. I was giving him space, and room to just be. What if I was actually a good role model, plugging away on my computer, creating my world of words, and leaving him to his exploration? Would Jackson Pollock have gotten anywhere if he wasn’t given time to experiment? Would I? Would anyone? Who knows, Sam may become an artist one day too, and for that I would gladly sacrifice a bath mat.