There is one device which still fills me with unsatisfied longing - the thought transcriber! This magical machine would take my carefully composed internal thoughts and save the words in some kind of editable, printable format thus eliminating the need for pen or keyboard.
So often I feel that my best work occurs in circumstances where I am unable to record it. The subtext of this entry, for example, was composed while cuddling and feeding and soothing a very tired and sooky Wombat back to sleep at 4am. I am now (5am) scribbling with pen, paper and torch hidden under the blanket so as not to disturb a sleeping babe (who is still whimpering every 10 minutes because his teeth hurt and he wants me to snuggle up and sleep with him, as is my habit in the early morning.) Yeti has taken to sleeping in the loungeroom lately so he can keep a heater on his sore back, but that is part of a different story and I don't want to get too sidetracked here.
The point is, what I am writing now feels nowhere near as clear and concise as the 'original' composition in my mind. The process of writing is like suddenly being trapped in Wombat's body and being forced to rely on a parent's hand or clumsy inanimate objects in order to walk, as compared to a few minutes ago (while composing in my head) when I was running like Cathy Freeman.* Typing it into the computer adds yet another stage to this time-consuming process (as I am a reasonably fast two-finger typist) but at least it gives me the opportunity for some much-needed editing.
Of course, my fabulous thought-reading machine would need an on/off button - something like a cochlear implant. When I first imagined the device as a child, I was fascinated by the paradox? conundrum? that if I recorded all my thoughts I would need another lifetime in which to read them, and a couple more lifetimes to think about what I'd read - and if I were recording what those thoughts were... well, I'm sure you can see the problem. Then there would be my inherent desire to read, not only my own thoughts, but the edited thoughts of others! My childish insistence on writing as my future career was primarily based on my love of reading rather than any true vocation - otherwise I would have written more and read less!
Which brings me to blogging and the addiction which is keeping me up to 4am most mornings and making me regard Wombat's desire for Mummy's warmth and comfort as an imposition rather than a delicious opportunity to indulge in baby snuggles.
In deconstructing an ancient Lenten prayer, Elizabeth at Real Learning suggests that " the devil drives the information superhighway. He claps with glee when moms log on." I have enough minor examples of Wombat neglect nagging at my conscience to know what she means (most accompanied by a submerged blogging narrative as I remark on my own wrongdoing). I am therefore going to follow her example and limit my blog-reading to 15 minutes a day. I am also going to impose a strict 2:30am bedtime (I am up at 4am today because Yeti and I got caught up searching for books for Wombat's birthday present - $150 later and we are very happy with our choices. I think this version of All Things Bright and Beautiful is our favourite!) I will renew my commitment to Wombat to be fully there for him while he is awake.
To paraphrase Gwen Harwood (Aussie poet - my commentaries on her work bring more visitors to my site than anything else I've ever written - another writing project in urgent need of attention!):
'children need a wholehearted mother, not a halfhearted poet.'
[Lol... my scribbled notes become almost intelligible here... I think it says something like...] At least some of the time I save from blog-reading, I will commit to writing. I will also do more housecleaning, food preparation and taking care of myself (particularly exercise). I will take that Lenten prayer to heart (and post it on my monitor)... but not even a conscious decision to change my ways can quite cure me of the cupidity I feel for that thought transcriber ;)
I will turn the torch off now and lie in the dark trying to pray myself to sleep while my subconscious goes into creative overdrive, plotting, pruning, searching for the perfect word, the precise turn of phrase, composing story after story - all of which will have faded by dawn, never to see the light of day.
* While playing with Wombat this morning, I was struck by the obvious point of that analogy. If Wombat keeps practising and doesn't let himself be overwhelmed by frustration with his current inadequacies, he WILL be running sooner than either of us imagine. Maybe not competitively with an Olympic athlete, but to the best of his abilities at this stage in his life. Cathy Freeman didn't waste time sitting around wishing for magic running shoes that would float her over the ground and never trip or stumble - or even if she did! - she channelled her energies into training to use her God-given gifts to the full extent of her potential. As a result, her light shone so brightly that it lit up the world.
"This little light of mine... I'm gonna let it shine..."