Jesse Hayworth
Jesse Hayworth


Jesse Hayworth

Maybe it’s because when Wallaby, in poking along the side of our dead-end street on our “walks”, brings me an old straw or a wrapper or whatnot, I say “That’s trash!” and put it in my pocket for later disposal.

Maybe it’s because our garbage and recycling cans have big plastic wheels, and are thus elevated to “car-truck” status in young Wallaby’s eyes, though he also excitedly points and hollers “tash!” too.

Maybe (probably) it’s because every Friday, Dada wheels the trash car-trucks to the end of the driveway, where around ten in the morning a “tash tuck” picks them up and decants them into its huge hopper with lots of Very Cool banging noises.

Whatever the reason, my son has become a huge fan of trash. Our walks have become a tour of the neighbors’ trash cans, each of which is proudly identified and exclaimed over. He has a toy garbage truck that is the Best Thing Ever. Arizona even found the Trash ‘n’ Thrash channel on Youtube, which offers hours of footage of various mechanized trash trucks doing their thing, set to heavy metal.

[For the record, this is far more mesmerizing than it ought to be. Just the other day, Arizona and I were having a deep and serious discussion about how this one side-loader didn’t seem any more efficient than using manpower, when we realized Wallaby was in the other room, playing contentedly with his giant Slinky, while we watched trash trucks on Youtube. Go figure.]

All of which sums to my recent realization that if you look at trash from a certain perspective, it’s pretty cool. It might be leftovers from other things that we cared enough to keep, but it’s hopefully going on to be recycled into something else new and exciting.

I’ve been feeling the same way about my writing in the past few weeks–like I’m about ready to look at it from a new (or new again) perspective, and find some value in the stuff I’ve been throwing out. Not because I want to use the words that didn’t work, but because maybe, just maybe, I’ve fought my way through to the story I actually want to tell … when, for a while there, I was starting to consider whether or not I wanted to keep telling stories.

I don’t know if it’s because Wallaby is starting to sleep longer stretches, because the new-mom hormones are finally leveling off, or if it’s just time, but it’s been a while since I last put my keys in the refrigerator and the milk in my purse, or stood in the shower and tried to remember if I had shampooed yet. And now when I sit down to write, there are words waiting for me. Scenes. Vivid images, sassy dialog, serious sparks (no Autocorrect, not sporks), and the kind of mystery I can sink my authorial teeth into during my hoarded hours of writing time.

Is what I’m writing trash? Possibly. We’ll see. But when it’s time to revise, I’m going to take a page out of my 14-month-old son’s board book and get excited about it all over again.

14 thoughts on “Trash talk and the glimmer of a story …

  1. Amy says:

    So glad to hear things are starting to “normalize” in your momworld. I so remember the shower scene…..what have I done? What still needs to be washed? Funny, funny……in retrospect.

    1. Why is only one leg and one armpit shaved? And why are they on opposite sides of each other? Did you hear that? Is someone crying? Is it the baby or the hubby? LOL!

  2. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    I remember this phase. My daughter would go to the park and instead of playing, she’d want to pick up all the trash. And of course this is the stage when their hands are always in their mouths. Come to think of it, her hands are still always in her mouth. But she doesn’t seek out trash anymore. I do love little boys and their obsessions with trucks. Is it innate? Why are they so drawn to vehicles? I’d love to see a study on that.

    1. LOL! “Yes, sweetie, I’m proud of you that you know the word ‘teeth’ now, but I really don’t want you touching mine. I know where those fingers have been …” And I, too, have been wondering about the truck thing. I don’t think I’m creating it, as I emphasize animals (ooh, kitty, doggy, squirrel, pony, etc.). And while Arizona is on board with the car-trucks, he’s a boat-and-mountain bike guy at heart.

      I did, however, find myself saying ‘Oooh, school bus!” the other day when I was alone in the car … 😉

  3. Michelle M says:

    we had to run outside and watch the garbage trucks every week too–and even go sit on the lawn several houses down so we could watch it go up and down the culdesac, so we could watch longer….gotta love toddlers

    1. Love! We’re on a cul de sac, too, so we get double trash fun also. Quadruple on weeks when two different trucks come for the trash-trash and the recycling! Things they didn’t tell you about motherhood #459: you will become intimately familiar with the trash pickup schedule, and not for the reason you’d think!

      1. Amy says:

        I didn’t realize I would learn EVERY name of all construction vehicles. But, my son helped me with that. I remember driving once and said, “oh look at the digger!” At at the ripe old age of three, he said “excavator, mommy”. I had a lot to learn.

  4. Oy, the trash phase. I can definitely relate to the writing phase at least (no kids). Interesting. I didn’t know children did that. I’ll have to remember it for the next time I write about one. Wallaby. What a darling name! 🙂

    1. Word on the trash phase of writing! “This is crap … and this … oh, and look! More crap.” In fact, I think I’ll go write a little bit more of it, seeing how Grandma is here for a few days, which means bonus Writing Time!

  5. Jamie Beck says:

    “maybe, I’ve fought my way through to the story I actually want to tell … when, for a while there, I was starting to consider whether or not I wanted to keep telling stories.”

    Glad to see that you’ve turned a corner, Jess! You never write trash, by the way. 🙂

  6. Marcia Carney says:

    My son skipped the transportation phase, and was a dinosaur / animalholic. It is fun when your three-year old likes pachycephalasauruses and pangolins, and knows the Latin names of primates (Zoobooks magazine was bedtime reading). It does pass.

  7. Stephanie H says:

    How fun is the trash fascination. I’ve watched a lot of trash hauler, Bob the Builder type shows with many of the little people in my life.

    Next to Legos injuries,there’s nothing better than coming into a child’s room to check if all is well, and smashing your toes into a Tonka truck (back in the day, full-metal construction)!

    Glad you’ve more stories to tell!

  8. Claire Matthews says:

    My oldest daughter was almost 10 before she stopped collecting rocks. By which I mean picking up pebbles and pea gravel wherever she went. I’d find them in the washer if I forgot to check her pockets.

  9. Eileen A-W says:

    I too remember that phase but I also remember seeing the world through new eyes. Noticing things my toddler saw, usually for the first time. The dandilions, the clouds, the neighbor’s scary huge dog (which was a minature schnazer), the designs in the puddles from oil, etc. As difficult and hard as those days were, I wouldn’t have missed them for all the world. Do realize that my kids are now 32, 29, 26, & 24 – but they still introduce me to lots of new things.

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