Battening Down the Hatches…

A week of full house and survival mode: my parents coming to visit, yet another day off school for the children, lots of admin to do, birthday celebrations to organise and celebrate (no less than three in 2 weeks).

Gopnik, from
Gopnik, from

So don’t expect any coherent blog posts from me this week. Instead, here are some who can speak much prettier than me:

Children always reinterpret their parents’ sense of obligation as compulsion. It’s not They did it for me but They did it because they wanted to. She wanted to bake that bread; you told those bedtime stories every night, really, for yourself. There’d be no surviving without that move, the debt guilt would be too great to shoulder. In order to supply the unique amount of care that children demand, we have to enter into a contract in amnesia where neither side is entirely honest about the costs. If we ever totted up the debt, we would be unable to bear it. (Adam Gopnik)

Audrey Ferber, from
Audrey Ferber, from

When we met, you told me The Story of Your Life. I told you about My Writer’s Beginnings, about Why I Write, and How Literature Saved My Life. You said you supported Women Writers at Work and Writing a Woman’s Life. We discussed Aspects of the Novel. Had I finally found the partner who fit into my Narrative Design? Or would you be just another man who Eats, Shoots, and Leaves? (Audrey Ferber punning with book titles)


It’s pleasant and rewarding to tell our acquaintances that the bardic spirit seized us on Friday at 2:45 p.m. and began whispering mysterious secrets in our ear with such ardor that we scarcely had time to take them down. But at home, behind closed doors, they assiduously corrected, crossed out, and revised those otherworldly utterances. Spirits are fine and dandy, but even poetry has its prosaic side. Let’s take the wings off and try writing on foot, shall we? (Wislawa Szymborska)

Ann Patchett,
Ann Patchett,

One more thing to think about when putting a novel together: make it hard. Set your sights on something that you aren’t quite capable of doing, whether artistically, emotionally or intellectually. You can also go for broke and take on all three. I raise the bar with every book I write, making sure I’m doing something that is uncomfortably beyond what I can manage. It’s the only way I know to improve over time… (Ann Patchett)

“People are constantly asking me, how do you do it all? And I usually just smile and say like, “I’m really organized.” Or if I’m feeling slightly kindly, I say, “I have a lot of help.”

And those things are true. But they also are not true . . .

How do you do it all? The answer is this: I don’t. Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another . . . That is the  tradeoff. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil . . . You never feel a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost.

Something is always missing. (Shonda Rhimes)

Producer and writer Shonda Rhimes, creator of the  "Grey's Anatomy" television series arrives at 39th Annual NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles, California February 14, 2008.     REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)
Producer and writer Shonda Rhimes, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

6 thoughts on “Battening Down the Hatches…”

  1. These are so great, Marina Sofia. I don’t envy you,this hectic time, though. Here’s hoping things settle out soon.

  2. I love Shonda Rhymes. She’s a great writer, I love her stuff and she’s right, we just can’t do it all and it’s something we have to accept. Just take care of you x

  3. ha that last part by Shonda Rhimes spoke esp. to me… i know that feeling so dang well… always limping in this or that area which – in a way – i made my peace with – ha

Do share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.