We experimented with play-doh today. Overall a success: Vincent did not eat it, and nothing disastrous happened. Vincent is tremendously proud of his “ice cream”, though it looks more like poop to me. All about perspective, as usual.
It was a busy weekend of work. We hosted the novelist Galaxy Craze at the bookstore on Saturday. What fun! She’s my age, with a 4 yr old son and a 3 month old daughter, and several of her friends attended with their children, in particular an adorable set of 4 month old twin girls. It was a total baby-fest! Galaxy gave her reading with her daughter in her lap, while the mother of the twins nursed one in hers.
Could you imagine a more complete mingling of art and family?
After the reading, we talked pregnancy and parenting and birthing. I’ve been getting over a cold, so I refrained from baby-cuddling, kept my grabby hands to myself. But there was something so joyful about having so many young children cavorting about the bookshop, about conversation among a circle of creative parents.
It reminded me: when Vincent was 7 months old, we attended a New England booksellers’ trade show, where we met Jonathan Safran Foer. Jonathan also has a son about the same age as Vincent. I’m a big fan of Jonathan’s novels, and thought I should engage him in conversation about them, being a conscientious bookseller and all, but the last thing he was interested in talking about was his books. Vincent was being his most adorable self, cuddled on my shoulder in a sling, sucking his thumb. Jonathan admired him to a most pleasing degree, showed me pictures of his son (also adorable), and we compared baby notes. It was bizarre and tremendous — given the time, we could have talked all day. Seriously. All day. About our kids.
So is it like this for all new parents, writers and all? You might publish books to great acclaim, but these new beings, they’re amazing, and that’s got nothing to do with you, you’re just the lucky caretaker. And that’s the most interesting thing right now, nothing else compares. Not that you don’t continue to do what you do, which is what you are, a writer. But what you are has expanded in the most wonderful way.
Anyway, I don’t want to give short shrift to Galaxy the writer: I especially loved her new novel, maybe because the main character is a 14 yr old girl, an age I find crushingly hard, and the centerpiece of the story is an intense friendship between 2 girls that, while I can’t relate to the particulars, is definitely spot on. I hope she’ll find many readers!