Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On Killing the Angel

The Bitch is Back
Staying on top of our writing isn't easy. No (wo)man is an island and if you are lucky you will have many, many distractions in your life. I say lucky.
I spent many years of my life doing theatre. It was my family; I had no time to date or start a family of my own.  That was cool for about 15-20 years. When the fun began to fade, I thought maybe an art which kept me closer to home would be good.  So I took up writing. Now here was flexibility. I filled notebook after notebook with short stories (this was pre-computer, only a friend or two had them) and even made my first sale. Then I met my future hubby, we courted and wed. Next came the patter of little feet.  I admit I took a very long break from writing. Around the time my son turned six, I felt comfortable enough in my role of wife and mother to return to it.
It seemed the perfect occupation for a stay at home mom and home schooler. Seemed, which leads us to the angel… the infamous angel of the Victorian era whom Virginia Woolf wrote about. The perfect wife who put aside all her personal needs to meet the needs of her family, yeah, you know her.
In Woolf's 1931 essay, "Professions for Women" (originally given as a speech to the Society for Women's Service and then posthumously published), she writes:
I discovered that if I were going to review books I should need to do battle with a certain phantom. And the phantom was a woman, and when I came to know her better I called her after the heroine of a famous poem, The Angel in the House. It was she who used to come between me and my paper when I was writing reviews. It was she who bothered me and wasted my time and so tormented me that at last I killed her. You who come of a younger and happier generation may not have heard of her--you may not know what I mean by the Angel in the House.
Well, we are of a younger and happier generation, but the Angel in the House still lives and she is one hell of a mean bitch.
I fight her each and every day as I look at the pile of laundry waiting to be folded and put away, or even when I decide to cook something simple (or order in) so I can meet a deadline.
So, spill it. Have you met the Angel? Share how you either killed her or put her in her place. Please leave a note, I love hearing from you.


  1. I didn't know there was a name for the 'distractions'. I try to cut deals with her: I'll do one hour of her bidding and then she has to go away. I sometimes forget that one hour of her chores is enough to put me in bed for two just to recover.

  2. Don't make deals and take no prisoners. You do your important work (like writing) first. Then you can do chores. Remember the chores will always be there.