by Dawn Yun
Up at 6:30 and turn on the computer. There is something wonderful about writing about characters you've created on paper, as opposed to the ones you've created who are asleep in their beds.
The former can do whatever you want them to do. Say whatever you want them to say. And they listen! But then a door opens and the life I'm creating becomes back story to the real life that I did create.
"What's for breakfast?" asks my stepson, Jay. I've gone from novelist to short-order cook.
I point to the refrigerator. "That has food. Pick something."
He looks disappointed. At 14, I was making my own breakfast. Because real life has become so unsafe for those who are young, parental servitude has now extended well into our children's teens. I leave my computer to make eggs. As I set them down on the kitchen table and return to the screen, Jay has a question. "Got milk?"
"What are you?" I ask. "A commercial?" I pour a glass of milk from cows not treated with rBST and place a napkin on the table. I don't know why. It will never be used because shirt sleeves are his favored form for removing food stains and drips. But he looks happy.
I begin again. Grace, one of my characters, is feeding her baby a homemade, organic, veggie smoothie. My 5-year old daughter emerges. She is walking, but clearly, still asleep and falls into my lap.
All writing ceases. She wants a "healthy" breakfast of vanilla/chocolate Cocoa Krispies. At least she's eating it with soy milk, even if it is sugar, I mean, vanilla flavored.
Then it's a fast brushing of the teeth, a quick dressing and off to camp.
Freedom! Back home it's one phone call after another as various members of The Writing Mamas call to practice their essays and blogs over the phone for our Mother's Night Out! Mama Monologues at Book Passage this Friday from 7-9 p.m. Our guest Writing Mama is Joyce Maynard.
We're trying to keep each piece to less than four minutes.
Anjie Reynolds, a mother of two, is calling on her cell. She just picked her children up from camp. "Go play on the grass," she encourages them. Her piece is unique and funny, one that may start an entirely different kind of Mommy Movement. And it comes in at a breathtaking two and a half minutes!
Her kids, like a modern day Columbus, have made a discovery. "It's a bottle that looks like it contains. . . urine? Gotta go. Thanks. Bye!"
Tina Bournazas calls next. She's having flagstone put in her yard. She discovered the workmen were there when in mid-shower the lights and water went out. She quickly got dressed to drippingly greet them.
Her essay is reminiscent of her childhood past, and her daughter's current one. It is funny and sweet -- and reminds me of the things our mothers used to do to us -- all in the name of "pretty."
Cathy Burke, a funny Writing Mamma, reads her essay from the driveway of her car. If you've had a child and experienced a lack of sleep, as well as a child's need to only sleep with you -- then any parent will totally connect with her Mama Monologue.
Cindy Bailey is calling from her home office. She has managed to slip away from her work to go over her essay, which she has reduced from nine minutes down to four. It was funny at the longer length; it's even funnier at the shorter one.
She writes about what every woman goes through after becoming a mother. There isn't a mama alive who will not be able to relate to her words. And will require another glass of wine just at the thought. (Which by the way will be available at the cafe at Book Passage during The Mama Monologues!)
Avvy Mar calls in from home, her kids are watching a video, educational of course, well actually, it has something to do with robots.
Her essay is about how a mother has dream-induced affairs, despite having a Midwest-perfect husband, as a way to cope with her deep grief as her baby lies in Intensive Care with a heart ailment. Despite unspeakable sadness, her piece manages to be funny, too.
That's a writer.
Pregnant Rebecca Jackson makes a quick call. She's tired and feeling nauseous these days, but her son is taking a nap and she's stealing a few moments to read her monologue. She will shortly be leaving for her husband's sister's wedding in Colorado. This will be her soon to be sister-in-law's BIG DAY. Unfortunately, it will be hard day for Rebecca and all the other parents because children are not allowed at the wedding. Preggie Rebecca has some strong feelings about that decision (as no doubt do the other attending parents, and any parent who has been in a similar situation).
Cathy Burke has called back. She has managed to trim a minute from her piece. Yes!
The Writing Mama's Mother's Night Out! Mama Monologues is something we've been working on for a while. The members have been choosing, honing and practicing their essays and blogs. All the while working at jobs, toiling at home, writing blogs for our Website (http://www.writingmamas.com), working on magazine articles, non-fiction books, novels, cleaning their homes, cooking, mothering. As our motto states: When you become a mother -- you've got a lot to write about. Maybe I should add -- and never enough time to do it all.
But for one night, this Friday night, mothers will get to have fun. They will have the chance to talk about what they love about being mothers and the parts that they love not so much.
And there will be wine.
Did I mention that?
Founder, The Writing Mamas Salon