Since the birth of my daughter in December, I've struggled with certain aspects of my current project, a novel I'm calling for now The Whole Show. Like any novel, it contains good and bad, light and dark, etc. The struggle is to descend into the darkness accurately, given my new attitude toward the world.
This naturally occurs in what I may want to write about in other side projects (which are, for me, always sustaining when the weight of a longer project must be set aside for a while in order to let the subconscious work out whatever it must work out--or, right now in my current project, when I need some time away in order to approach it again with as much of a fresh eye as is possible). I don't want to be one of those parents who seems to believe that he is the first one to be a parent. I don't want to take the role of the poet who, simply by calling himself a poet, feels he sees every day things in a way that he must share with the average person who lacks his super human capacity for observation and reflection.
I do talk about my daughter a lot, I know. She does bring me joy. She has changed me. But I don't want to write about that, or at least I don't want my writing to be limited to this subject. I understand this is a human subject of course, and so it is a legitimate one, but I don't want to write about it. What kind of conflict can I get into what I'm doing if all I feel is joy and fatigue?
But I don't have to worry, I suppose. The world always enters, and there is a share of sorrow out there for all of us, and more than enough to feed whatever conflict may happen in The Whole Show.
I write in our basement, though, and sometimes I have to return to the world upstairs. I try to keep thinking of the sad work below, but it's impossible when I see her waving her legs and talking to a toy she's trying earnestly to grasp. I guess it's no big deal. I get back there, it just takes more time.
Anyway, despite my ambivalence about her effect on my writing, I do write about her. My next post will be a poem I wrote on her 6th day. This way I don't have to send it out to gather rejections.