Genette Nowak Merin


Artist’s Project

In keeping with the BLBA emphasis on creative process, Genette Nowak Merin will allow readers of the Between Lines website to follow her ongoing process as she writes a book about her experiences as a new older mother.

Hannah  Hannah Althea


Work in progress. Everything is a work in progress. Losing baby weight, organizing my house, nurturing my gardens, becoming a more dedicated writer, a stronger teacher, finding that one shoe…Oh yeah, and the obvious, life—the eternal work in progress. But this particular hour glass drips sand for my second attempt at writing a book. I’m more of a short story kind-of girl. I like to get in and get out, never wanting to overstay my welcome. My first attempt at writing a book was a pitiful, egotistical purge that somehow allowed me to pass The Book, John P. Briggs’ notorious undergraduate senior thesis class. Funny, the only existing copy of that fell victim to a bed bug infestation in my Lower East Side apartment.

This current project is going to be raw. It’s going to be rough. These jagged edges may injure feelings so I pre-apologize as that is not at all my intention. My ambition is to break through the social media façade. Being a mom isn’t as snuggly and laughable as Facebook posts might have you believe. It’s more like a ride in the bed of pickup truck on a boulder-laden road, without a seatbelt or helmet to protect you. This work in progress—a title will eventually present itself—is about creative process, mine at least. What you’ll see here will be drafts, sections, chapters, blurbs. Together we’ll see how it goes. A rocky ride, I’m quite sure. Like motherhood.

November 15, 2015

Ten years ago I sat in my bedroom-kitchen-apartment chain smoking Parliament Lights, snorting an obscene amount of blow, and writing. It was great; I was writing. The sirens, the drunks, and the stench of good old-fashioned garbage courtesy of New York City permeated my everything. And I loved my everything. I depended on my everything. It was such a disagreeable, lonely, happy place. And it was all mine.

Today I’m sprawled out on my daughter’s nursery floor along with a plush book version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider and a psychedelic looking toy called the Whoozit. I call it the “whoozy-who” because I just don’t know what the fuck it is, but it’s something alright. My sweet one just loves it. I sneak outside to have a smoke (sorry, Mom, I’m smoking again) then after I scrub away the guilt with hot soapy water. Not to worry, nothing has been up my nose in nearly six years. I’m no longer worried about where I’ll score my next bag but when will I ever poop in private again. I find myself writing, or should I say when I find myself writing, it’s with my sweet one in my lap grabbing at my computer, or as I previously mentioned, surrounded by a bad trip of weird toys, including a humidifier that looks like a unicorn.

Sigh. So I sigh.

I look at my little Hannah Althea and I cry. I cry because the love ties my gut into a knot. I cry because with every week she gets that much bigger. I cry because I feel I’m not good enough to be her mom, nor will I ever be. I cry because if I fail this little one that ogles at me with big, round, blue eyes, I’ll never know how to forgive myself.

And so I try.