Mommyhood and The Muse
I wrote this what, 5 years ago now? Seems prophetic, in hindsight......
As jokey and sophomore in high school who reads too much of the cavalier poets as it sounds, i believe in a Muse. I believe in inspiration and forces that compel us to create. I believe it can be fickle or constant; I believe one can run it away as one would a lover, and I believe one can kill it just as sure as one could poison an enemy.
There were times I thought I would never write again. I'm no Neil Gaiman; it's not like I have an entire pantheverse to lose if one day the sun of my imagination burned out. But it's right up there with Blindness, the fear and (sometimes) inevitability.
An assault, the first true breaking of one's heart, the breaking of anothers', the death of one's illusions...my Muse and I haven't had the silkiest of relationships. We wouldn't necessarily be on Maury ("You are not the author!")terms, but maybe on Dr. Phil ("So what you're saying is, you just left after the wedding because the husband doesn't appreciate her work, and writing for just her is more difficult? How's that working for you?")
Difficult, but not bellicose. But with this weekend's talk about babies and me railing against the idea of motherhood and the inevitable loss of self, what I find I'm really afraid of is the impending death of my ability to write. Specifically, about sex.
And mothers can't write about sex. Mummies cannot smell of child sick and baby powder and sit at a computer and compose pieces about a woman who stands at her bedroom window in nothing but fuschia mesh panties and just looks out over her backyard and that of her neighbors, in a nice part of town, half-thinking that no one could see her, but sort of wishes that someone could, and warming at the thought. But she doesn't do anything about it, because that's what she wants to be seen: her arousal.
Nope. A woman who answers to "Mommymommymommymommymommymommy" does not wear fuschia panties, made of mesh or no. Maybe pink cotton. But not fuschia. She does not type words like "fuck" and "cock", much less use them in stories with a myriad of other naughty words. She reads Parenting Books and reads Woman's Day. She does not eagerly await the next Emma Holly or M.J.Rose novel and do lengthy research on silicone dildos.
Motherood, while lovely and admirable and difficult and necessary, I'm afraid in my case, will be a muse-killer. Detective Goren would grill Motherhood in the interrogation room while Eames stood by, watching morosely. ("That's what you're about, Motherhood, isn't it? Care?Selflessness? Unwavering focus on the innocent? You couldn't even do such a thing! To the selfish, sensualist Muse, even! He was on the way out, anyway, right? Had his bags packed, and ready to go..."
"Yes!" Motherhood would crow, triumphant. "He was finally leaving!"
Goren would lean back, nod sagely. "And everyone was happy. You'd have the Author, and the baby, everyone gets what they want. Everyone lives happily ever after. The Muse, that selfish bastard, would finally be gone. Forgotten"
"No," Motherhood would snarl,"Never forgotten. Not him. They'd been together too long. Oh, he was leaving all right....I saw to that. 'Can't have us both'. I laid down the law."
"Exactly. Gone. Out of your lives forever. And the Author would be happy...grateful."
"Yes. Happy." Motherhood's voice trails off. "You'd think she'd be overjoyed! Free from all that burden of sex and...unpleasantness. But she...she mourned him! Kept trying to write! Half-awake, scribbilng in a notebook with one arm while trying to rock the baby in another. Imagine! A pen so close to the child!"
"You underestimated the Muse, though, didn't you?"
"I did what I had to do. I kept the Author up nights. I dressed her in sweatshirts with "Mommies are Great" in puffy lettering and stirrup pants. Convinced her that poop color was good dinner conversation. Made her too busy for kegels." Her chin would raise infinitesetimally; anything else would be unseemly.
"He got her to focus on the most ludicrous things, told her she was still a woman! Can you imagine! Using the very thing that made her able to carry a child against her! Motherhood would be looking toward Eames for assent. There would be none. She would have already signaled for the uniforms, waiting outside the door.
"She was still trying to..." Goren would lean in. He cares more about knowing why than seeing justice done.
"Create," Motherhood would hiss. "Wishing for him to come back. We'd never be rid of him. Not as long as she thought there was a chance he'd come back."
"So you protected them both."
"She's better off with me, anyway." Motherhood would see them, ready to take her away. But she wouldn't be sorry, not in the least. "I'm stronger than him," she'd tell the police, even as they were reaching for her. "I'm changing her in ways that filthy Muse never could. She avoids their hands, stands up, looks at Goren, then Eames. "You'll see." Motherhood walks out, her head held high; the police walk behind her, almost afraid to touch her. She's stronger than she looks.
"Motherhood," Eames says, snidely.
"Being a creator is never easy," Goren would say.