I do not feel like reading. The boys are both in bed. They are nervous about the first day of school and have set out their clothes for tomorrow like priests about to be ordained. I am nervous as well. But I am filled with a rather guilty happiness. There is so little possibility of uninterrupted writing time when the boys are home, that to have them in school---is like having recess for hours on end. Of course, I must remember I am to do some prosaic and necessary things at home---- while they are slaving at school---- such as the limited duties of a mother, a daughter and a sister –in other words—I will be doing the handmaiden-thing----- to multiple generations of relatives—but –still—I am buoyed up by the simple possibility that I will be able to write a few paragraphs--- without an interruption.
It is not that I dislike having the boys around but they are notoriously hapless and do not seem to understand that their mother’s brain on words is a fragile thing. So every few seconds they will enter the writing room—as if they belonged here and not in their other parts of the house that are open to their travels and they will ask me an innocuous question such as “What time is lunch?” and set me off like an alarm clock into a spasm of disorientation with reference to what I was trying to write.
Once I am interrupted a few times like this, I give up.
I simply go do laundry which is sort of my symbol for defeat in writing.
Right now both boys have been asleep for almost an hour. My mind has been pushed forward like a boulder that does not want to budge but is being asked to do movement while the road is free of the avalanche that will be the boys when they next appear (tomorrow morning, running around trying to get ready for school). I will have to go to bed myself if I hope to be able to get them to school. The school supplies have still not been bought –yet---but at least they are shod in new shoes, and have a set of clothes to wear for the first few days of school. After that, well, we have run out of money and they will have to use the leftovers.
While a mother’s life is a very frantic one when children are around, the fact that schools are open for a great many months—does much to save this mother from devastation and attrition. I can recuperate from the summer’s constant contact with the boys and they can hibernate through their ten months of educational seclusion in apathy and resignation. Both camps know their states and adapt to them readily. When the school year is over, we both rejoin in one force, for the two months of summer and pretend that we were not estranged from each other during the busy indoctrination period.
I suppose I should think of school in more positive terms –other than as a sanctuary for children from fed up mothers or as a penitentiary for young offenders who are serving time and thereby preserving the sanity of their mothers. I mean I liked school. I think my sons enjoy school (at least the social component of school). But do they want to learn? Nope.
My sons go to school because they are told by their parents to go to school or suffer through a home schooling program with their mother that would have deleterious effects on both the sons and on the mother. They go to school so that they can make it to adulthood. I hope that eventually—perhaps in university or graduate school—they will suddenly go from light bulbs at 60W to ones at 100W.
I think it is possible. I think they will learn the curriculum they must learn to get pieces of paper to buy their freedom and then work in the world and one day---they will arrive at a place—where what they learn –is something so amazing –that they will work at it as if they were in love with it.
Then, when they have found the work that turns them on, they will able to shrug through the pages and pages of labor that –seems to be the only way –that one ever moves from beginner to some sort of proficiency. The way that this metamorphosis happens—is simple. You love the work so much that you are able to do it –even when you have a boulder of a mind--- in front of you—and you are an ant-pushing ineffectually at this mass.