Dispatch #088


by Aimee Suzara

Thinking and writing about the sacrifices of motherhood and the loss of a writer's most precious resource: TIME.

First, of course, I chose to be a mother, and I knew I would be a single parent, at least temporarily. And YES, I would not trade being my son's mama for the UNIVERSE. AND still…

In these past three years since pregnancy, I've seen peers go on to publish 2nd, 3rd, 4th books, to engage in a world in which I sometimes feel I've expired from, like I've become a ghost. 

It's like finding yourself outside the windows to a party you stopped getting invited to. I used to be very active at that party! I find I'm among parenting community more than other writers; few writer friends who aren't also parents have stayed in touch.

Being a single mama during the pandemic means I cannot hand my child over while I finish up a draft or try to get into a necessary, protected zone to create. I would like to say I write in the slivers of time between dirty diapers & tantrums & working for pay, but I'd be lying; often I just crave what everyone else gets to do (stare at a netflix show, bathe or just catch my breath.) Sleep is chronically deficient. Folks try to encourage me with, "look, Toni Morrison wrote as a single mother" - easier said than done, especially during a pandemic.

As I reflect on what I've lost in order to gain this life that I dreamed of, with a magical human I created, who is learning to speak, dance, and sing -- a poem himself!-- this is haunting me (in a good way -- meaning, I want to grapple with it).:

(Toni) "Morrison was the first black woman writer to teach me that while parenting requires a willingness to embrace interruption, it has never required us to prostrate ourselves at an altar of deferred personal goals.

We live in a culture in which 'it’s not about me anymore' has become a motherhood mantra. Few people are still willing to remind parents — especially single parents, who are already facing heightened scrutiny for our performance — that our own dreams still deserve priority." - Stacia Brown, from "What Toni Morrison taught me about being a mother”

But can I still prioritize my dreams, not just mentally -- I believe in it and I have NO guilt, and I don't believe it contradicts being a good mother -- but in terms of actual TIME & limited energy? I was once self-centered in the way that many artists can be, rising with poetic lines that pushed through my dreams, burning the midnight oil to grapple with what could be called duende, that all-encompassing force of creativity that does not let you rest.  Sleep was willingly lost to push through something, but easily recovered the next day. 

Now, I rise to my son asking to nurse, use spare moments to wash dishes, and fall asleep with him, exhausted from work and mama life. The day is a schedule ruled by his needs, and I am his facilitator. The waiting for his papa to join us is taking years longer than hoped for. How can I be like Toni Morrison? Can I actually manifest my creative work, inventing time out of the thin air, and may it just take too long?

I try to find and multiply that fleeting, precious resource, time. But also, I keep faith that once I have enough of it, no matter when it may be, to finish my next book or even my next poem -- it won't be too late.
Sent to us on: February 20, 2021

How will the Coronavirus Pandemic shape storytelling for the years to come? 

Calling all Dispatchers!

San Francisco Creative Writing Institute is pleased to announce we were awarded California Arts Council Local Impact Grant! 

With support from the California Arts Council, San Francisco Creative Writing Institute will present Dispatches from Quarantine: hybrid storytelling events and writing workshops. 

The project is scheduled from January 2023 to August 2023! Join us at our first events on May 1 (online workshop) and May 3 (in-person at Medicine For Nightmares in San Francisco)

We will be broadcasting the public readings and discussions on our youtube channel as well as hosting four creative writing workshops with writers from diverse genres. The project will continue to be interactive as we will encourage viewers/participants to send in their “dispatches” to be published on our blog, keeping it alive as a living document.

 We invite you to submit a dispatch: 

Suggested Theme:

What is your Covid story? How will you tell it? 

You can send submissions in any format to us via email at: All genres will be considered for publication on the blog. submissions@dispatchesfromquarantine.co  The theme should be somehow related to this time of Coronavirus. We are particularly interested in posts/ideas/writings from 2022-23.

Submissions can be sent by email to: submissions@dispatchesfromquarantine.co

Categories: Uncategorized

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