Thursday, February 5, 2015

thinking about Carrie Snyder

A regular reader just read my last posts and emailed to suggest, jokingly, that I change the name of this blog to Born to Brag. Sigh. Yes, some bragging is going to appear sometimes. What is a blog, after all, but a giant ego trip? Here I am blathering away about my life, and for some reason, you're reading. For that, I'm grateful. Occasionally, there will be a brag or two. A student said I was lovely and funny and smart. I've repeated that to myself a few times today.

Those of you who drop in here regularly may have noticed that there on the left, among the other blogs I like to read and share with you, I've recently re-linked to Carrie Snyder's blog. I am a fan of hers - haven't read her very successful "Girl Runner" yet but am looking forward to it. I like her posts a great deal and find her fascinating, thoughtful, honest and a talented writer. Yet after reading her for awhile last year, I deleted the link to her site. Why?

She exhausted me. Some of my friends exclaim about how busy I am, but Carrie made me feel like a giant slug lazing around eating chocolates and gazing at the moon. I mean, the woman is extraordinary - she has four (four!) young children with demanding sports schedules, music, homework, stomachs, laundry and lives - a huge job in itself. She's a marathon runner, so even when she's injured she is struggling to exercise, getting up at 5 a.m. to swim (!!) or walk for hours or whatever. She writes on a treadmill and does yoga and meditation in her spare time. Oh, and she teaches and posts her own skilful photographs.

So all that would be a more than full life. But on top of it all - she has written a best-selling book that has won prizes, she keeps a beautiful blog that has also won a prize; she has been flying around the country to be part of readings and prestigious literary events. And yes, I have to say, I could do with a few of those. She writes about how difficult she finds all the attention and praise, and I want to say, Sister, it doesn't get better than that.

From my vantage point so many years on, trying to remember when I was in my mid-thirties with small kids and trying to get things done - well, I wouldn't even have attempted a quarter of what she manages to do, and still, she berates herself for not doing more. So for a while there, reading her, I did compare my younger self and found myself wanting. I felt, What was wrong with me? Was I so very lazy back then that I didn't even try? Well, no. I wasn't lazy, but I didn't have her professional and athletic drive, not remotely. I didn't have her confidence and self-discipline. I didn't - and this is a big part of it - have her kind of husband (or eventually have any husband at all). When I started trying to write with small children in the early eighties, I could hardly think of another writer who was a full time mother. Now they're everywhere. And what a wonderful leap forward that is.

I will go on reading Carrie's blog, and I hope you do too, because she's an interesting person and a terrific writer who has a lot to say about creativity, balance and struggle. And what I'd like to say to her is this: You're spectacular. I hope you see and celebrate just how much you've managed to do and be and accomplish. Learning to accept yourself, as you write today, is a great idea. Because a woman who's made such a success of her days, who has so many readers and fans and, more importantly, a rich family and inner life, is doing something very, very right.

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