Several years ago, while I spoon fed Pip some kind of gooey, mashed food, I heard the film director, Wes Anderson doing a standard, long-form publicity interview on NPR for his new movie “The Darjeeling Limited.” In explaining why he chose to make that movie, Anderson used the sentence “I wanted to tell this story” multiple times. I imagine it was a piece of stereotypical director-speak, and he probably cast it off without really thinking. But, for whatever reason, it struck me on that morning as a startlingly weird justification for making a movie. He wasn’t saying that he wanted to make people laugh or cry or quiver with fear. He wasn’t trying to make some political point or probe some critical question about the world. Instead, he was selling this frivolous, self-indulgent, narcissistic thing: a story that had been banging around in his mind for a while about a couple of white guys riding a train in India. It just seemed like a very puerile, childish, “I want to because I want to” kind of thing to do and at the time I didn’t understand how that was a compelling enough to get the film made.
In February of 2012 I stopped writing posts for this blog. I had another project I wanted to work on, and there wasn’t time for me to do both. In the two years since then, I’ve encountered periodic moments when some simple experience with our family came together in such a cool way that I wanted to write about them. These weren’t moments that necessarily demanded preservation or reflected some great truth that needed to be shared. They were just fun happenings that I wanted to play with, to take them apart and reassemble them in an interesting way, maybe plant them somewhere and see what might grow. In short, I wanted to be Wes Anderson. I wanted to tell these stories.
Since the day Pip was born, a single question has hovered over every conversation about my life as a full-time parent: “What are you going to do when your kids go to school?” For a number of years I gnawed on this, wondering if I should try to get back into academia or pursue an MBA or start doing some temp work that might lead to a full-time job. The answer turned out to be easy. About a year ago, Ava and I realized that my entering the full-time workforce was not the thing either one of us wanted. We like the flexibility and freedom that my presence at home gives us and did not see a tremendous benefit in trading those in for an extra paycheck. Thus, as Polly enters kindergarten today, I will not be embarking on a new job as well. Instead, I will be remaining at home to continue handling the logistics of drop-offs, pick-ups, lunch making, sick days, and all the rest.
With that said, I will be gaining a couple of hours to myself each day, hours that I plan to spend writing. There is a novel in the works – I’m hoping to have it out by Christmas – and a couple more ideas to explore beyond that.
And, I’m returning to this blog. It turns out that having stories you need to tell – with all the self-indulgent narcissism that entails - may be the best motivation for actually getting around to telling them.
So, for all of you who, like me, never unsubscribe from anything, hello again. I’m excited to be writing for you once more.