|In a country that is divided by politics but united by compassion, in the city where every person has a hot paper cup in one hand and an umbrella in the other, in various coffee shops around Seattle a woman sits at hard wooden tables, in creaking wicker chairs before mock fireplaces, stretched across leather couches. She writes longhand in her spiral bound notebook and writes and writes until her notebook is filled. Then she fills another, and three more besides. She switches her notebook for a laptop and begins transcribing the words onto screen.|
She is on lunch breaks from the office of an Airline’s in-flight magazine where she dispassionately toils as a graphic designer. She wants to leave behind the life of an unappreciated designer and become a novelist. A real writer.
When her first baby is born, a son, she quits her job to stay home and care for him. She learns what it really means to be unappreciated. She has a few stories published in small literary journals and celebrates with a solitary fist pump in her bedroom, a small jig for her husband. But she is paid nothing. Or next to nothing.
The woman has a second child and resumes writing her novel, often typing with one hand while nursing her girl baby with the other. She becomes surprisingly proficient at this method of composition.
She keeps writing. The children grow tall and leggy like crimson cosmos scattered across a particularly fertile flowerbed. Soon (too soon? Not soon enough?) the children turn three and five.
The woman takes a class. It is a web site building class, during which previously latent synapses fire, new concepts are learned. The class is good mainly as a lubricant for her old, rusting gears. She realizes she does not want to code web sites for a living. Or even for a partial living.
Besides, she has discovered blogging. She starts her own Typepad website (www.AllAdither.com) and is quickly sucked in by the instant gratification of publishing her words and receiving feedback within the same day. Of course, most of the feedback is glowingly positive, and she’s not sure about its sincerity, but she loves it all the same. She places ads on her blog, which give her a very modest sum each month, but which is income nonetheless.
She is offered, without even trying, a position blogging for a local parenting magazine (http://blog.parentmap.com). They do not pay her any money. Her compensation is exposure and practice. And a bit of virtual camaraderie, the likes of which she has not experienced since working for the in-flight magazine five years before.
She blogs and blogs and blogs some more. She begins searching, in earnest, for blogging positions that pay actual cash. Cash that she can put into the bank. Or spend. Cash that will make her feel like more of a contributor to the family. She finds she needs this, despite the contributions she makes in myriad other ways. Ways that involve cleaning and wiping, organizing and scheduling. These tasks are no longer enough for her. She suspects they never have been.
She continues writing her novel. She places as a semi-finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest. She loses. Badly. She suffers, gnashes her teeth and rents her garments. She does have a glowing review from Publisher’s Weekly to show for all that work, all that emotional energy.
But it is not enough. She wants more. And more and more. She will know enough when she finds it, and so she keeps looking. She keeps wiping and cleaning and hugging and writing. And looking.
Angie McDonald is a Seattle mom/writer/graphic designer who is confounded, delighted and horrified by what her life has become with two kids. She blogs athttp:///www.AllAdither.com and http://blog.parentmap.com.
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