Friday, January 30, 2009

Writing as a right

With my roommate's mom here tending to my spunky pal's broken bones and bed-ridden blues, I'm getting an extra dose of mothering -- a kind of parenting that includes more opinions and boy talk. Over wine and pizza at 3 in the afternoon yesterday she gave me her two cents about my plans to move to the U.S. in support of my fiance's education plans.

"American's are different"
"You know what they say about when one partner moves to be near the other, with no social network"
"What about your career?"

I finally stopped her relentless critique, yet something stirred inside. Perhaps it was the wine or the white-flour pizza, but I was feeling uneasy about the status of our plan. We hadn't fully explored the options within Canada -- a country that would offer us health care and interest relief on my substantial student loan.

I hemed and hawed over this notion for the rest of the day, looking for signs. There were signals that the U.S. market would be fertile ground for my journalism career -- like the environmental blog I'm about to start contributing to, based in NYC -- but there were also signs I should stay here in Ottawa. Assignment letters. Responses from new editors. Neighbourhoods blossoming with community spirit (that make Ottawa less like a city and more like a bunch of towns and a stable #1 employer).

I broached the subject with my fiance and it turned into a bit of a squabble, but I didn't tell him where the subject initiated from and I ended the conversation surprising him with the news that I'd be down for Valentines Day. As with all our plan-making, we're taking baby steps and keeping our options open.

In any case, with my career on the line and the love-or-money question raised, I settled down to write about what it is that keeps me tapping away at a keyboard, scrawling in the dark, composing poems on long runs. It came down to a fundamental feeling that I had a right to write. That I would feel somehow less human, less myself, less connected to the world, were I to give up the ghost on writing (and making a living by it).

And then I slept, and dreamt like never before. At one point, on the verge of tears, I shut my eyes and saw a book, it's pages urging me to write.

I woke, recalling my dream for pages in the half-light of dawn.

In the end, I found that writing is a right, as fundamental to my existence as water or air. Take it away and I falter, grasping at straws for who I am and what I am here for.

1 comment:

Stella said...

I would certainly miss you if you went...