Monday, March 14, 2011

Compelled and Compressed

Since I last posted an entry here, I have been studiously working on articles for hubpages. While I am a bit behind if I am to meet my goal of 30 hubs in 60 days, I am in that zone of high competition with myself right now; I'm going to try to do it until the clock runs out.

At the same time, I can't ignore that I am about to transition through some big life changes: returning to work, resulting in shorter blocks of family and free time, new chaos with new routines, and a familiar kind of "worklife" exhaustion I've replaced with other forms of exhaustion for the past year. I don't want to slow down, and am hell bent on adjusting quickly. I cannot stand the feeling of being disappointed in myself for not meeting my own goals. At the same time, I am all too aware that I am human (and will forgive myself for slipping - but only if necessary)...

I am very proud of my most recently published articles: a three part interview with the brilliant Devan McGuinness of Unspoken Grief (a website dedicated to offering understanding and support for those experiencing perinatal grief), and an article that I hadn't planned to write, but evolved naturally out of the essay I wrote for Mostly for Mothers as well as the research and writing I've been doing on the subject of pregnancy loss.

My article entitled Miscarriage Art: Self Portraits is not so much an article as it is an artist's statement about a project that wasn't necessarily intended to be made public. Days after I lost my much wanted baby, I was at home recovering physically and emotionally. I decided to record my experience through photographs of my face and body. As I put the photographs in an order that made sense to me several days ago (nearly two years after they were taken), I realized how much I missed using the visual part of my brain that gathers, sorts, organizes and tries to make something visually interesting or meaningful.

While my work on the above mentioned art project is similar to my researching and writing process, I was reminded about how satisfying it is to make visual art in a different way than it is to write. Visual art is more immediate to its audience, and for this reason can be more powerful. On another note, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could use hubpages to make art out of something I didn't consider "art" beyond an artistic exercise for my own healing process. Publishing the hub also allowed me to see possibilities for reviving other art projects that otherwise lay in stacks in my basement, or hang on my walls unseen by anyone but my family. There are many opportunities for exposure to an unlimited, international audience through hubpages at a much lower cost financially (and time-wise) than finding new locations to hang my art in a gallery...or even to set about creating my own website.


This week I've been thinking about my current tendency to write in a cluster around one subject, and how that can result in oversaturation for those who read this blog, my facebook status updates and twitter feeds. Regardless, I feel compelled to keep writing about pregnancy loss. My goal is to create a presence on the web - to offer some solace, personal understanding and sharing by tackling aspects of the experience from angles or perspectives that are not frequently written about. I hesitate to present myself as any kind of expert, but I am learning as I read, learning as I write, and sharing as I learn. Without a doubt there is an audience for non-medical information about miscarriage (I would have devoured any information on the subject that didn't once more remind me of the all too familiar signs of miscarriage). My search was for information on healing, words and ideas that revealed what I could expect to feel or do to heal emotionally and spiritually.

This need to keep thinking, keep learning and keep writing is a compulsion I've already yielded to. I feel I have to keep going, if only to get to the other side. I think the other side is an unforseeable time when I no longer feel motivated to keep adding content to the information already available on this topic. I don't know when that will be - maybe after my goal of 30 articles is reached, but quite possibly not. Maybe this will prove to be my thing, my contribution, my life's work, or a large part of it. I'm open to whatever path my writing takes, so long as I stay committed to my own passion.

My next project is an interview with another amazing woman - the owner of an etsy store specializing in handmade and customized miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss jewelry. I also have one more interview lined up after this one, with the creator of several excellent websites about pregnancy loss. Most notably, she has created a beautiful memorial book, In the Company of Angels, available through what appears to be her very own publishing company. I am deeply touched by the unique contributions of each of these women I have met through the internet, and am honoured that I can in some small way shine a light on their greatness.

As much of my efforts this past week have been focused on arranging interviews, generating questions and formatting material into publishable articles, I have taken a bit of a break from thinking too hard about what comes next. I return to my office life late next week, and then my next big deadline follows: the Event creative non-fiction contest. Last post I was debating which of three ideas would win the race for the Event submission, and a firm criteria now has made itself known. In order to meet the deadline I have to continue my momentum, to write about what is current in my mind and closest to my heart right now. This essay will not be about international development (even though I am excited to get to Cambodia, particularly as I've received some positive feedback and support for the idea), nor will it be autobiographical, about the zany life of a bisexual mom of two. I will follow my original idea, using the material I drafted but couldn't use when I wrote my piece for Mostly for Mothers. There are elements of that time that take on almost a magical realist quality in some of what I've already written, and I'd like to explore that.

With time constraints, that mildly uncomfortable feeling of compression, I will write where the fire is until, or unless, it burns itself out.

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