I spent all week working on my novel. Doesn't it sound like fun?
It was actually the opposite of fun. It was a hard week, but I think I've crested the wave now. I'm still a little behind schedule, but not by much (only a mere 2k words), so I'm not going to sweat it. This is the last week of NaNoWriMo 2009, and I feel like I've grown a lot more through the process this year than I imagined was possible.
Especially last week. Last week my kids derailed into screaming mimis. Kitty Bill gets frustrated pretty easily, always has. But lately he has been turning into a fairly collected little person. For a four-year-old he's an incredibly focused and creative little guy. We've been working so hard with him to make sure that he emerges into this compassionate, intelligent being. But there's one thing that chaps his hide and bares his inner monster--- sisters. The more my girls play with German-speaking kids, the more they lose touch with their ability to "use their words" with him.
When they are playing with other kids that don't speak English there is very little language usage. Things are mostly mimed or broken down into single-word commands or verbs. Speile?! Komm! Halt! They play together beautifully for the most part, but after a few hours of this, my girls forget that they CAN speak English. They forget that they need to use their words to communicate properly and appropriately when we are together and a situation arises. This is especially obvious with Moonshine, as she's just now growing more and more comfortable speaking in German; it's like she switches over.
And this is a big problem! They forget that Kitty Bill is only four. Because he's changing so rapidly and beginning to be able to fully engage in imaginative play, they forget that he's one of them-- an English-speaker. Because he hasn't yet learned to use his words, they forget that he can understand them. It's really confounding.
Ever since they were small I've been reminding them to use their words. Do you want something? Use your words. Have a problem? Use your words, not your hands. And to complicate things ever more, kids in Switzerland use their hands. A lot. There appears to be less "mothering" going on here than you would normally find in middle-class America. It's more of a dog-eat-dog society amongst the youngsters. And I'm not okay with that for my kids. I'm really not.
The fallout from this is screaming. Lots and lots of screaming. It makes it hard to write, hard to think, hard to homeschool. Hard to just be together.
On top of that, I've been looking at my own words. I've been pretty frustrated lately about a lot of things. Frustrated about my blog, my time, my energy. Frustrated by society and living in a foreign country and the fact that I haven't been home in eighteen months. I miss my family, my friends, my homeschooling community, and my grandmother--- who is 85! We just bought plane tickets for a trip home so I can hug my grandmother.
It's a four-thousand-dollar hug.
Painfully expensive. But the sound of her voice when I phoned her and told her we were coming? Priceless. She's ecstatic!
Those are the kinds of things I want to use my words for--- to bring something to the table that lifts people up. And I don't feel like I've been doing that so much. I feel like something has got to change here. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels, going in the wrong direction, or simply just not doing enough. This week I feel like either owning my words and making them count or shutting up entirely.
I don't know what my focus is anymore-- am I writing for myself? Or for you, my loyal readers? Judging from the comments recently, I think there are three of you-- does anyone else still read this blog??
My question this week is, what should I be bringing to the table? What could I be doing with my words that would truly make a difference?