Lea Page


Parenting in the Here and Now by Lea Page

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On Writing Parenting in the Here and Now



Of Weaving and Hockey Rinks

Call it foolish, reckless or simply hopeful, but I strung my 45-inch floor loom with the warp for a rug shortly before my daughter was born. In those first few sleep-deprived weeks, I would look at the loom and the bare warp threads as I rocked and sang and nursed, and I wondered what I had been thinking. Managing the laundry and a shower in one day was still a goal to be reached. How would I ever find the time to sit down at my loom, to feel that familiar rhythm between the foot treadles, the shuttle and the beater? When would I ever see a pattern of color grow beneath my hands again? It was too daunting.

Until one day, I sat down in a rare moment when my daughter was asleep and I wasn't, and I managed to begin. Just a few shots of wool across and back, a half-inch or less when my daughter woke and I set down the shuttle. And a few days later, a few more shots. And after some weeks, some months-- who can keep track of time with a newborn?-- the pattern emerged. The growing body of the rug wound around the back beam of the loom. And I realized that I could do anything, as long as I could break it down into small enough pieces.

Some eighteen years later, when my life was in transition and I was feeling like I had lost my bearings-- we had moved from Montana to New Hampshire-- my friend suggested that I write: "Write down the principles of Ho Hum," she said. "I'm not a writer," I replied. "Nonsense," she replied. "You've been writing about your ideas and sharing them with people online for a decade at least."

A book. A preposterous idea, surely. Too big a project. There simply wasn't time. But a book is just words, lots of words, like a rug is just yarn, lots of yarn. My son played hockey that first winter in our new home, and I had to drive him to the rink-- and wait during practice for an hour in the rink itself, which was cavernous and echoing without a crowd in the stands, aromatic or stinky, depending on your olfactory sensibilities, and cold, even in the "warm" room. It was an unorthodox writing venue, not a quiet desk in the early morning hours or an afternoon in a busy cafe with a steaming cup of tea at my elbow, all images that I had of where and how real writers wrote. Who writes books in hockey rinks?

I do.

I did.

Two books, in fact. Parenting in the Here and Now was the first. Technically, I wrote the second book, a just-finished memoir titled, Song of the Meadowlark, in the parking lot of the hockey rink, with my feet propped up on the dashboard of our pickup truck. Colder, but less smelly. Even now, when I write at home because my son drives himself to the rink, if I get stuck, I turn on a hockey game and write with the sound of skates scraping the ice and pucks slamming against the boards. It is inexplicable. But it works. I haven't had to drive down to the rink yet, but if I ever get really bogged down, I will.

So I say to you, if there is something that you want to do, something big, something daunting- don't wait for ideal conditions. Don't wait until you have enough time or the right place. Just begin: a word, a thread, a brick, a note, one tiny increment of the beginning. And keep adding one tiny increment, and eventually, the pattern will appear.