Life, Inspiration, and corraling the mercurial muses

I have been attempting to write this post for four days, but this thing called Life keeps getting in my way, which is funny because that’s sort of what this post is about.

kids in playroom

Last week was Spring Break and Zach worked all week so it was just my little army and me — braving it with a full suit of armor. Admittedly, I was not looking forward to Spring Break and my attitude only worsened as every day leading up to it Mia came home from school and reported which friends were going where and lamented that we weren’t going anywhere and begged us to please go to the beach. Which I would totally be down for if we lived on or near or within driving distance to a beach. Sigh.

At some point I decided that I would plan some “staycation” activities so she would realize that we don’t have to go anywhere to have fun, but planning the logistics of said activities around the schedules of two toddlers overwhelmed me, and it dawned on me that what I was actually doing was attempting to fill holes in our days so that Mia wouldn’t be bored. But as we all know, creativity stems from boredom, so I scrapped my “staycation” activities and did what I do best — play it as it comes and try to go along for the ride (which is really just an elaborate way of saying that I am not a planner). This brought it’s own measures of stress, naturally, because as much as I wanted Mia to find ways to be with herself the fact is that Mia has never been one to want to be with herself. She’s drawn to people, loves to be on the go and always wants to know what’s coming next, so I was a little worried.

sidewalk chalk

The week wasn’t without challenges but something surprisingly blissful happened: Life. Unintentionally, I let everything go and got caught up in the magic of Here and Now. We played and danced and built forts and had a book club and took midmorning siestas, and when spring finally showed up, we went to the park. As my head hit the pillow on those nights, my eyes closed with exhaustion of a different kind. I was content.

Reading picture books

siesta nap

the view from here


This is how Luke spent his first Spring day at the park, and that’s my mom (hi, mom!)

sunset hopscotch

I realize now, in retrospect, that last week when I was submerged in the Now, I was also hiding. From fear, from stress, from the unknown. It was easy to focus on kids and clean house, to keep my body busy so my mind wouldn’t interfere. Now that I’m feeling pulled to this space again, I find myself unable to focus, to push away the sticky fingers of solicitude, to corral the mercurial muses. As always, I’m finding solace in your stories, dear readers, through your words and images that never fail to move me, so I would like to ask: When inspiration fails you, how do you get yourself out of the funk? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I would really like to know.

hopscotch feet


10 thoughts on “Life, Inspiration, and corraling the mercurial muses

  1. cookie1986 says:

    Honestly, I pack up the kidlet and go somewhere new, where there will be other children and hopefully other adults that aren’t douchey. It breaks up the routine, and it’s fun to see my Twee one discovering a new environment. And sometimes, you find another parent to talk to. Adult conversation cannot be taken for granted with a house full of three footers,lol!

    • Lara says:

      I did this all the time when my daughter was a toddler, but it’s usually more work than it’s worth with two toddlers. Actually, it’s impossible unless I have backup. I so agree that good adult conversation can feed the soul.

  2. Lindsey Mead (@lemead) says:

    I love this post about what happens when we just look at what is right in front of us. And to answer your question, I really don’t know. I tend to go outside, and look up, and look down – I wrote about this on Lisa Ahn’s beautiful blog recently. But mostly I try to sit down and write, because I find that something always comes out when I do that. xoxo

    • Lara says:

      I agree. It’s when I’ve stepped away from the practice of writing for any length of time that I find myself waiting for inspiration to strike when what I really need to do is just sit down and start writing.

  3. revolutionarypie says:

    I agree with cookie1986 that adult conversation is vital — no insult to our children. 😉 And it’s important to communicate in person, not just by phone/Internet. I also find that even short trips, like an hour away, somehow revive my brain. I get lots of ideas on Metronorth! (I don’t think driving is quite as good for that, but maybe it works for others.)

    • Lara says:

      Driving is definitely not as good for that. 🙂 A big part of my heart misses NYC. You simply have to walk out your door for inspiration!

  4. now at home mom says:

    Lovely post as usual Lara, I really enjoyed reading it and I can relate! To answer your question; I don’t know! it’s weird because I find myself feeling like this but I don’t know how to get out of it when I’m in it! I know that many times, I ask my mom to take care of Nate for a couple of hours, go to the mall, walk a lot, buy a new book, I try to think of other things; sometimes it works but sometimes it doesn’t!

    • Lara says:

      Walking does help for me. I think that’s part of my problem. It’s been so gloomy and cold here that I haven’t been outside much. And a new book always helps. The ration of the amount of books I want to consume to the amount of time I have is far too great. Sigh. 🙂

  5. Julia says:

    Your family is so beautiful! I have a soft spot for kids at these ages, since mine match up pretty closely to yours. 🙂

    As far as corralling the muses, I usually find that writing from wherever I’m at (good or bad) hardly ever fails. I can’t write about something I’m not “feeling” in that moment, especially if I’m overwhelmed or tired. It means setting aside half-finished posts if they don’t work for me in the present moment, and just going with my gut. And if I’m truly exhausted by a day with the kids, I don’t write unless I really, really want to. I want to enjoy blogging, not turn it into some kind of obligation – because surely that would show up in the writing, too, and what’s the point of writing if we don’t love it?

    Sorry if this was a little ramble-y!

    • Lara says:

      As for the beautiful family, right back at ya. I totally hear you on writing from the gut and not forcing it. That’s why I don’t post every day. I’ve started a lot of posts that have eventually been scrapped because I felt that they ultimately lacked heart. Oh, and I love ramble-y! Ramble on. 🙂

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