Feast or famine: at Yale we had 6 attendees, at R.J. Julia’s, 22. But at both the conversation was hilarious and wide-ranging…get a group of women together (men are far and few between at my readings, it seems) and read a passage about bras and breasts, and the conversation flows. Throw in midwifery, and it really takes off. Readers confess to me like a latter-day Sima: their first bra-excursion (horrid; thrilling) their first birth (unknown ectopic; transcendent home birth).
What I never expected and what is entirely wonderful and thrilling: writing a novel has opened the door for all these women’s stories. What a priviledge, for me, to listen.
Meantime, my own girls are strung-out. By which I mean: dreadlocks and red-rimmed eyes from days of travel and too many new toys vying for their loyalty. It took an hour to get them to bed tonight — we’re staying at my sister’s, and therefore at my nearly-eight (can she really be almosy 8?!) year-old niece’s Sophia’s house. The plan was for Sophia to sleep on the top-bunk, and Eva on the bottom, and Tillie in the toddler-bed, which had been airlifted (well, on the shoulders of Jordan and my brother-in-law, that is) from the basement for that purpose.
Within two minutes of getting them all into the bedroom, already an hour and a half past bedtime, this somehow shifted to Sophia in the toddler-bed and Eva and Tillie on the bottom bunk. Which might have been fine. Except: Tillie was feeling chatty.
“Hi Sister!” she kept saying, her grin wide to be sleeping beside her beloved big sis.
Getting a kid to sleep is often a war of attrition. Eventually, sleep wins. But it ain’t always pretty.
Tomorrow we’ll head back into the big city. A few book club events, including my mother’s Hadassah chapter, and then a quick return to Victoria. And to work. In May I’ll be with a family physician who specializes in well-woman care and abortions, in early June with a Victoria obstetrician, and then until August at a birth centre outside Edmonton.
In my weeks off I have become increasingly confident about my skills. So, obviously, I’d rather not have them tested again. Ever.
How about I never write and never work but instead tour around and listen to women tell me their stories?
It could be tempting. But for the dreadlocks…