By now I ought to be used to surprise. So few of my experiences have matched my expectations. The fascinating dichotomy between my assumptions and reality that has been on my mind the most of late is what I figured would happen with this site upon becoming a parent. Over the years of maintaining ironSoap, my slice-of-life rambling had been, I suppose, my bread and butter. Well, that and digression about pop culture.
I naturally assumed that having a child would provide me with a bounty of anecdotes to “humorously” relate in my overly-verbose way. And, in fact, becoming a father did give me loads of material to work with. But the archives don’t lie. I didn’t do with that material what I expected I would. Sure, I’ve written a few posts here and there, maybe a half dozen in total. In that same time frame I wrote probably an equal amount about non-family topics. I really thought that having a child would provide my muse, give me the inspiration to return to regular updates and ensure they attained and (perhaps more significantly) retained a high level of quality. We even named our daughter after a muse, for pete’s sake.
Funny thing is, I wasn’t actually wrong in the strictest sense, I was just way off base. Despite the drastic reduction of output over the last few years, I’ve been writing more than ever. What I didn’t expect was that having a child would inspire me not to do what I had been doing only more and/or better, but it would inspire me at last to do what I really wanted. Turns out, writing one-draft blog posts wasn’t it. Writing fiction—telling stories—is what I’ve wanted to do, all along. I guess in a manner of speaking I’ve always been telling stories on ironSoap. But there are stories I can tell with ease and there are stories I must tell with sweat and tears.
The muse my daughter actually represents is the one that says, “If you want me to chase my dreams, first you have to chase your own.” What she really did was free me from my fear of the work inherent in getting to the stories that aren’t lived but dreamed. The transmutation of dream to word is a prickly process, one with a short fuse and long teeth. But it seems I have the best guide, one who pulls me along with a tiny, insistent hand in mine.