Light a Candle

In the midst of new motherhood, I have been writing. It’s very difficult. My words tend to fail me even when I’ve got my head on straight, and Henry and Eleanor constantly draw my attention in a million directions. But sometimes, usually on Friday when my mom and dad come to watch them, occasionally in the early mornings while they’re still asleep and my brain won’t turn off, I have a few minutes to write stories.

Something that helps to bring my mind into a making space is I light a candle. I’ve fallen in love with the scents from Cantrip Candles in particular, because of the way they design the scent to provide an immersion into storytelling. I wrote an entire short to their “walk in the woods,” and I’ve got a “stonemoss chapel” I keep burning when I’ve got time to work on my novel. It doesn’t always work. I’m distracted easily, there’s always something else to do, and I’m sure I could pick up the twins’ bedroom a little better before getting started, but that eats away minutes and…

It is much faster to light a match. Writing can feel selfish when there’s so many things to do. It’s time immersed in my own head, away from the twins and my husband. I should be present for them. But I can’t be consistently present, and the minutes I steal for a few jotted words help in the long run. Writing clears my head, organizes my thoughts, banishes demons…

or at least befriends them. (both the short and the novel attempts to befriend them)

So I light a candle, and the ritual sets my fingers toward words. Some of them make a story, some make it here, and some are just notes to return to, places in the story that need work, characters whose motives have become more clear now that I have less time to overthink them. And all of them are progress. I have to remind myself of that. This is progress. This is care. This is how I center myself when the babies won’t sleep through the night and my nose is dripping with a winter’s cold and I can’t remember if I’ve spoken to my husband or only rehearsed a conversation silently for 45 minutes. (sorry, honey <3)

It isn’t selfish to have a self. Light a candle.

3 thoughts on “Light a Candle

  1. Not selfish at all. Writing is how you process and you can’t not write. It’s like breathing for you. It wouldn’t be healthy for you to stop breathing either.

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