Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Erin Bedford : Writers, be babies!

I can’t remember being a baby. Probably you can’t either. If you are lucky enough (and also, let’s be truthful, wacky enough​) to be a parent, then maybe you have a more tangible idea of what it means to be one.

I have been parent to three babies. And they are my magnificence. They are the best of me. No doubt.

They are also the most difficult part of my day-to-day life as a writer. It would be so much easier to put words down every day if I didn’t have to think about or make time for school drop-off and pick-up, lunches, sicknesses, parent volunteerism, bathtime, sibling mortal combat, vegetable consumption, bedtimes, nightmares, and the bain of my existence, pouring out drinks at their every whim. This is to say nothing of all those parents who must also cobble together enough money every month to support themselves and their family on a writer’s take - truly brave and inventive souls. I am so very lucky that my kids’ dad has an excellent job. I think it would be nigh impossible for me to write if not for that.

So yes, practically, kids make writing days so much more difficult. But, if not for them, I am not sure I would have any of the commitment to try.

If you don’t have the experience of your own babes, try to find one that is on the cusp of walking and watch them for a while. Don’t make it creepy—just go to a mall. It is a great place to see little kids trying to master this fine art called gravity.

They fall down so much! And most of them hardly care. They just get back up and try it all over again.

This year has been one of the most difficult years for me personally. I have fallen down so many times. I have disappointed people. I have disappointed myself. I wish I could say that I handled it as well as a toddler. But some days I wanted to spend the whole day eating nachos in a bed full of nacho crumbs. Some days I wanted to go out into the street and scream at people for looking happy, or because my shirt was too green, or the sun was making my eyes feel squinty, or because the Twitter feed was depressing me.

So, yeah, day-to-day has often been a struggle this year. But thankfully I have my three magnificences. And they are showing me the way through.

They show me every day how to get up and keep trying—at writing, at life. Minus the bad word, they teach me how to say: Fuck being correct, Erin, fuck success, or contentment. Risk is how we test ourselves. Risk is how we learn. They help me remember how to get up every morning and throw myself into trying. They show me how to be brave and occasionally stupid.

So, the wisdom of my day-to-day as a writer and mum of three?

Don’t be afraid to land on your face with a mouthful of floor. Acquire a taste for it.

Go out and watch a toddler trying to walk. Notice the way that they sometimes look as if they are trying to fly instead.

Erin Bedford's work is published in William Patterson University's Map Literary, Flash Fiction Magazine and The Temz Review. She attended and won a Certificate of Distinction for her novel Fathom Lines from the Humber School for Writers. Currently, she is acting as shill for her newly-completed second novel, Illumining, and working on a manuscript of poetry. Follow her to find out more @ErinLBedford

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