Oldest story in the world: top of her class, distinction at uni, hired then poached by ever better-known firms.  Youngest to make partner.  Tipped for wealth and greatness. Travel, exotic foods, white villa with Ligne Roset furniture.  Then cutting back as one adorable toothless grin, then two, then three captivated her heart.

‘Not pasta again!’

‘Don’t want to wash my hands!’


Husband off again, something about bringing home the bacon. He was trapped by long hours, but she was the bacon.  Right there: cauliflower crumbs in her hair, stained with sauce, scoffing remains, falling over muddy gear.

‘I’m sick of you all!’ she screeched.

Grunts subsided, six eyes looked up.  Was the fear in their eyes a reflection of hers?

Later: ‘Did you know, Mummy: pigs can’t look up at the sky?’

Nor oxen either.

They never found out why she thought that the funniest thing ever.

And in case anyone thinks that there is a recurrent theme in my work and that I hate or resent children: this is fiction!  But what interests me is that tension between the creative best version of self and the everyday workhorse. Stanley Kunitz talks about the poet’s need to find the taste of self, which is ‘damaged, wiped out by the diurnal, the cares, the responsibilities that each day demand one’s attention… but the day itself cannot be construed as an enemy; it is what gives you the materials you have not only to contend with, but to work with, to build…’

9 thoughts on “Hunger”

  1. I know this is fiction, but it does kind of exemplify how I feel about the whole thing. The burden of (more) responsibility terrifies me.

    Great post – I like how you don’t have to explicitly state things to get your point across.

    1. Thanks, Ethan. It just occurred to me that quite a few of the poems and stories I’d been posting lately here and on Cowbird have been quite negative in outlook about family life. And that’s not an accurate reflection of my far more ambiguous feelings. Incidentally, have you come across that storytelling site yet, Cowbird? I wholeheartedly recommend it, and I think you would be a great asset to it too!

  2. This all sounds eerie familiar. Workhorse, indeed. I like to imagine myself as slaying the world one dragon at a time, fierce and honorable even unto death…and then I come home and deal with puke (cat and human), the dishwasher’s on the fritz, and the laundry threatens to swallow us whole. At least we have words, eh?

    1. Sometimes I am not sure if we have the words or the words have us… Luckily, as a crime fiction writer, I am allowed to get great satisfaction from vicarious murders and evil fantasies. Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog!

  3. Good work…absorbing…

    though, methinks thinking perhaps too deeply. Passion will still flow from your source of knowledge and understanding.


  4. Well Cyril Connolly did say, “There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall” – although modern life and it’s conveniences makes having a family and being a writer – or anything else, for that matter – not mutually exclusive. Also, it isn’t all left to women any more (in most cases!)

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