The truth, it isn’t always pretty


Should I be writing these blog posts? I asked my husband this week. Or, should I be writing these blog posts but choosing not to publish them, perhaps? It is a real concern, voiced not only by me, but by others, who worry about me.

How honest to be, in the moment?

Is it possible to convey that a moment is transitory and fleeting, that it comes and is felt intensely and perhaps irrationally, and then it is gone, and all is well?

All is well.

Here are the past seven days, summed up in brief.

Saturday, ran half-marathon, went to street party.

Sunday, all day at Eden Mills Writers Festival, read, met lots of people.

Monday, early morning spin & weights, no nap, caught up on emails, field hockey practice, made ratatouille for supper, on my own with kids, Kevin gone most of the day and evening.

Tuesday, early morning run, biked to campus, dreadful funk, writing, reading, prepping for class, field hockey practice, gymnastics.

Wednesday, early morning yoga, cloud lifted, music lessons, teaching, supper at 10PM.

Thursday, early morning run, class work, updating web site, driving to Burlington, three and a half hour interview for magazine story I’m writing, road construction, home before midnight.

Friday, slept til 7, PD day, children home, chaos, biting (not me), tears (not me), friends (not me), lost child (panic!), found child (thank God!), jotting notes on interview, story needs editing, ear plugs insufficient, no lunch, friend drops off chocolate croissants instead (is this heaven?!).


I’ve spent the last two days in a state of heightened gratitude, noticing every little every thing that I love and am able to do because of Girl Runner, because of choosing to stick with writing. I’m getting to teach. I’m getting to pursue subjects in-depth that fascinate and pull me—to talk to people who have accomplished extraordinary things. I’m getting forums to say what I think, to write about what I love and care about. That last one is hard, in truth. It’s hard because there’s no hiding, especially here. Obscure CanLit Mama is not a persona, or a character, it’s me, a patchwork version of me, but me nevertheless.

It isn’t always pretty. I’m not always pretty.

About a year and a half ago, I experienced an odd moment at the end of a yoga class, lying in that clear-headed state of savasana. I heard the words “Goodbye Obscure CanLit Mama” loud and clear. I did not know what it meant. Was it something, or nothing, how could I know? I still don’t know. Some day I will say goodbye to Obscure CanLit Mama, but when or how or why? I don’t know.

This is true: I’m not quite so obscure anymore–but want to think of myself as obscure because it makes me feel safe; I don’t know what I’m doing; if there is an awkward moment, somewhere, somehow, I will find it; a little part of me is still in grade ten, lonely, baffled, tongue-tied, naive; I try to be kind and sometimes I’m clumsy.

Do we ever grow up? Do we ever get smart about the things we were stupid about as kids?

It’s Friday, 3:25PM, and one of the dogs has just decided to jump onto the treadmill and join me. I think it’s time to get off.

Here’s what’s immediately ahead: vacuum (like, immediately immediately); supper (argh, supper?); folding three days’ laundry; longish training run (tomorrow morning); readings at Word on the Street Kitchener (tomorrow, noon, at Entertaining Elements with accompanying appetizers) and at Word on the Street Toronto (Sunday, 1PM, Vibrant Voices Tent).

Ear plugs out.

xo, Carrie

New things are happening
Come out to play


  1. Shauna

    Please don’t stop! I need to read about someone real, a writer who juggles motherhood and work, and normal emotions. Otherwise, I will never have the courage to try writing myself.

    • Carrie Snyder

      Thanks, Shauna. And have courage!

  2. Susan Fish

    People struggle with those who are honest. It always makes me scratch my head that this is so. If I post something moody on Facebook, people always make the assumption that this is merely the tip of the iceberg, that I have only hinted at something deeper and darker. Maybe that is how most people operate. I don’t make that assumption at all. Your posts this week have struck me as being like the weather, not the climate. And with your focus on Ambition this year, I think it’s really fair to post the shadow side of that.

    • Carrie Snyder

      Yes, it is the weather, not the climate, as you say, Susan. I realize it may appear a self-delusional claim, or perhaps shallow fickleness, but the dark emotional weather last Tuesday was not followed by more storms for the rest of the week. I felt it and by feeling it and experiencing it, it ran its course. Within 24 hours, I felt as normal as ever I feel, whatever normal may be — capable of focus, humour, curiosity, discipline, creative thought, all those good things that seem to vanish on a very bad day.

      Yes, Success and Ambition come with shadow sides. How could I not write about that too? I find all of it so terribly interesting.

  3. m

    I hope you never stop posting, never stop being honest. I love your posts.

    Also, I think the “goodbye Obscure Canlit Mama” is saying goodbye to the obscurity. Your book has sold in how many territories? But that’s also my selfish take on it, because yours is one of the few blogs I read regularly and I feel like you’ve become a friend. I’ll miss you if you disappear.

    • Carrie Snyder

      I hear you, Marita. I actually said to Kevin after writing this post: What if I heard it wrong? What if it wasn’t “Goodbye Obscure CanLit Mama,” but rather, “Goodbye to obscurity, CanLit Mama?”

      All I know is that I write this blog honestly and openly, though also, I hope, judiciously. It isn’t a marketing tool, never has been, and as such, may not always be great marketing. I think that’s for the best.

  4. melanie

    I have to second what Shauna said/wrote above: I need to read other mothers who are juggling it all and writing. It gives me hope and pushes me to keep stealing those writing moments for myself even if they are few and far between these days. I do understand your hesitation though – I stopped writing on my blog for months (even before it broke) and have had many discussions with my husband about how much to put out there and how honest to be and how much of the children’s lives to talk about. I can’t imagine that I am doing any real damage though or that any one is really reading most of the time. Some days I write for me and some days I write to be a voice in the wilderness. I would miss you if you disappeared too even though I rarely comment.

    • Carrie Snyder

      Thanks, Melanie, for commenting and for reading. We’re all voices in the wilderness, I think. It’s comforting to hear each other.


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