Writing around a newborn — even a relatively placid, low-needs one — is requiring a significant re-think of my process. (She says, shocking no one.) Of course I expected this, but I still haven't quite come up with strategies that might work to combat not just the time-poverty but also the zombification of my cognitive functioning due to sleep deprivation. It's a bit of a brutal combination: I now have the entire day in front of me, but yet it is gulped up by errands such as feeding, settling, washing, feeding, settling, settling, settling, feeding, washing… When I do get time to write, it's in five minute snatches, and that's too brief to make any real headway even if I wasn't too tired to think (let alone write) swiftly.
One thing I have managed to implement is reading, although that, too, has needed an adjustment to fit the new lifestyle.
It turns out that feeding is just a smidge lacking in intellectual stimulation for me. I've taken to checking twitter while she's at it (and as a consequence she's taken to burping herself while still feeding rather than wait for me to remember her — I choose to view this as fostering independence). But because newborns feed a lot, there just isn't enough twitter to last the distance. So when she's done, propped up against my chest and fighting the apparently-terrifying prospect of dropping back to sleep, I read. And, because the sound of my voice is soothing, I read aloud.
It's very much changing my experience of stories. I've never been one for audiobooks, because I can't follow a story that's read to me. I much prefer the silence of words on the page, and the way a story opens up underneath that for me to fall into; read aloud to me and the story vanishes like smoke on the wind and there's just a voice intoning meaningless words at me. I simply can't think when people are talking, and if I can't think there's no story.
Here's hoping with all the enforced practice I'm getting at audio stories now, my brain will come out of this trained into a richer appreciation of the format.
Oh, and for the curious, the first book that Squawk is "reading" is Redemption In Indigo, by Karen Lord, which I picked up at the San Diego WFC. She started at chapter 7 and didn't think to complain about that, and she keeps falling asleep within a page, so I can't say much for her critical analysis skills, but she does grizzle when I stop reading.