In March I began reviewing nonfiction science and nature books here on Wild Muse. There were a couple of reasons this came about. First, after experimenting with blogging for several years, I’d grown a little bored with the model of writing a post about a published science paper. Second, my life shifted in ways that precluded being able to do even that when, within the span of a few months, I finished my first book and became a new mother. Suddenly, my time was too limited and too fractured to write regularly in a meaningful way. It was not just my blog suffering from neglect, it was my professional writing too.
Slowly I learned to be okay with the fact that I’m a Writer who is not currently writing. At first, it felt like my identity had been stripped away. If I wasn’t writing, then who was I? What was I doing with my time? Could I still say I was a writer? In addition to being a full-time mom to a rambunctious toddler, I continued to help my husband get his business off the ground; I found new depths of meaning in each of these roles. But a part of me still groped blindly in the dark for something to hold onto from my writerly life: I keened for time and mental space to write again and was repeatedly frustrated when this absurd venture turned into something akin to Waiting for Godot. I’ve been a cyclist for long enough to know I was simply spinning my wheels, doing nought but going through the motions. And so I settled down, and I listened to the Reader Yin of my Writer Yang, the part of me who yearned to be a Reader again. I became comfortable with putting my writing away for the time being; I imagine this scene as a wild bird released from a rattan cage that I watch as it careens out of my window . . . and I must trust it will come home to roost again. Someday. I then learned to curl up with a book whenever the opportunity arose. Continue reading