Friday, May 30, 2008

Keeping an eye out for "doot"

Sam's got a new word-- it's "doot". He'd been saying it for weeks before Tom finally decoded it. Doot, for those of you not privy to the 20 month old liguistic lexicon, means "poop".

Since figuring out what Sam is trying to tell us, we've been quite surprised by its centrality to his life. Outside, he relishes "doot" scavenger hunts and gleefully points out each individual pile he encounters as if it were some fabulous backyard Easter egg hunt. And once he realized the purpose and function of a litter box, I have been privy to his daily "doot" report there as well. If I'm truly lucky, he also gives me a pre-emptive clue about the state of his diaper before I can smell it.

This is interesting and all, you must be thinking, but why on earth has she seen fit to include it on her blog...

I'll tell you. It's because after Sam pointed it out to me, I realized that there's a lot of "doot" in my life, figuratively and literally. And always one to seize the metaphor, it's probably a good idea to be able to identify it when you see it. I think that there's always the temptation to avoid it, pretend it isn't there, and let it pile up in the (metaphorical) backyard/litter box/etc.

But there's also something fascinating in its simplicity. Where else in life do you get a visual aid to show you that input=output? Maybe you've been feeding on chaos and drama. There it is in an incapsulated nugget for you. I won't delve into the rest of the unpleasant analogies my brain is kicking up right now. Surely you get the idea.

I've been thinking about writing again a lot lately, especially since I want to write about Jillian's pregnancy and have more than enough fodder right now for ten books. When I finally put an end to the continual tests and uncertainties associated with this pregnancy, I'd like to put my brain back in and go to work. And since this is a blog about motherhood and writing, and since my child has recently led me to a very stinky life lesson, I figure I should apply it to my writing if I could.

When I'm being truly honest with myself, I realize that my writing is filled with a lot of "doot"--especially the leftover from my own life. Sometimes I keep it, tweak it, and let it be, but usually I just toss it or delete it. I feel a need to purge it and flush it away as quickly as possible (God! Another horrible analogy!) But the thing is, the shitty stuff can be fascinating too, as Sam is quick to point out. Sometimes it's like (un)buried treasure and provides hours of entertinment. I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I've decided that the lesson to take away from all of this is not to be so hard on myself for not being original and always borrowing from my own life. Shitty writing, I should remind myself, is better than no writing at all.

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