Monday was my father’s birthday, and he was very far away and I could not hug him and love him and thank him. I have loved him with a particular vehemence this week, for all sorts of complicated reasons. Among them, this: I was, I am the center of his universe. Completely. The most important thing ever. And he taught me to expect to be… the most important thing in everyone’s universe.
OK, this has occasionally made me a challenging lover-wife-friend (uhm, employee).
But on the whole, you know what? I’ll take it over the alternatives.
Jane: Cindeeeer! Can you give me my little purse? The pink one? I left it on the table and I don’t want to come into the kitchen in my muddy boots.
Cinder: What’s in it for me?
Jane: My eternal gratitude.
Cinder: I’m sending it by express dog.
Jane: Do. Not. Fucking. Tie. My. Purse. Around… Christ. Why? Why? Why did you tie my purse around the dog?
Cinder: Because it was funny?
Jane: Because you like to antagonize me?
Cinder: That too. Also, with all this yoga and meditation you’ve been doing lately, I believe you need more daily challenges. And that’s MY job.
[insert bad word here]
[delete it, because it’s wrong to call your eldest son an asshole]
[even when he sorta is]
[a loveable, amazing asshole]
[god, i love him… i love him so much]
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert—YES! And yes, you should read it too. All of you, any of you. Even if you hated Eat Pray Love—me, I couldn’t make it though that book… first chapter, I wanted to slap Liz upside the face and say, “Stop your fucking whining, privileged white woman. Jeezus, even I’ve suffered more than you.” Um… digression. Point: I did not like Eat Pray Love. I LOVED Big Magic. I ripped through it in a day and a half despite a hundred and one other projects and obligations.
My favourite part:
“Fierce trust demands that you put forth the work anyhow, because fierce trusts knows that the outcome does not matter.
The outcome CANNOT matter.”
The outcome cannot matter.
Fuck. That. Is. So. Hard.
But so necessary.
The most important lesson:
“When I finished that novel, it was not a perfect novel, but I still felt it was the best work I’d ever done, and I believed I was a far better writer than I’d been before I began it. I would not trade a minute of that encounter for anything.
But now that work was finished, and it was time for me to shift my attention to something new—something that would also, someday, be released as good enough. This is how I’ve always done it, and this is how I will keep doing it, so long as I am able.
Because that is the anthem of my people.
That is the Song of the Disciplined Half-Ass.”
My song, too. More or less.
Am also reading:
Yoga For Real Life by Maya Fiennes, Kundalini Meditation: The Path to Personal Transformation and Creativity by Kathryn McCusker, and A Woman’s Book of Meditation: Discovering the Power of a Peaceful Mind by Hari Kaur Khalsa
Am re-reading: A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion & lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judith Reeves, which is quite fun and useful and playfully inspiring… and also, unintentionally (and it’s clearly me and not the author) depressing (I’m not going to tell you why) (yet).
This is mostly on purpose…
You: And this blog post is what?
Me: Have we not covered this before? A blog post I can shoot off in 15 minutes while simul-texting with three people is not writing. It’s therapy.
…mostly on purpose. I am trying to reflect, regroup, refocus. Try to listen to that screaming inner child.
BTW, if you think it’s easy to listen to a screaming inner child, you are clearly childless. Those of you who have survived colic, toddler tantrums, and teenage angst know exactly what I mean.
She’s so fucking loud, she’s splitting my eardrums, and I know I’m supposed to love her, but right now? I hate her and I wish she’d move out.
Have tried to read:
Prince Hafiz’s Only Vice by Susanne Carr. I read page one. Then skipped to the last chapter. Spoiler: they got together. True Thing: I really, really, really WISH I had been able to read through the damn thing. How hard could it be? I asked myself. Fucking read it. Enjoy. Relax. Chill.
But I just can’t. Prince Hafiz and his one true vice do NOTHING for me.
On my kitchen table:
Gap Of Time: the Winter’s Tale Retold by Jeanette Winterson. I’m not going to read it. I have opened it and flipped through it half-heartedly. I love Jeanette… I love Shakespeare… but if you’re going to try to one-up Shakespeare, you’ve got to be fucking brilliant. And Jeanette is often brilliant. But this time, she is just… good.
Just not good enough for me to sink into right now. I’m sorry. Jeanette, I’m so sorry. I’m going to try to get Sean to read it, and tell me about it, ok?
Also on my kitchen table:
G.K. Chesterton’s Complete Father Brown. Which I’m re-reading in bits and pieces intermittently to distract myself from the screaming.
(In my head.)
(Because listening is hard work.)
I’m having a staring contest with something that’s either an idea or a deep-seated neurosis and…
Ender: Mom, can you peel this orange for me?
Jane: I’m busy right now, love, in a bit.
Ender: You’re sitting there staring at the wall!
Jane: I’m thinking!
Ender: Can’t you think while peeling my orange?
It seems like a fair request, right?
It makes me livid.
I peel the orange anyway.
Sometimes, words—shy words, trite words, words so true they sound clichéd because they have been said in that precise way so often because they are so true (I know exactly I did there, so give your high school English grammar textbook some Fentanyl and don’t resuscitate it until I’m finished)—sometimes, words like to come out only when it’s very dark and very quiet.
Like these words:
My smallest son, tucked
into my right arm pit, a whisper,
“You will never know.”
“Never know what?”
“Never know how much I love you.”
“No. You will never know.”
A kiss. My whisper,
“I love you more.”
“No. I love you more.”
A dark night.
A heartbeat, rapid,
rhythm of a hummingbird,
breath steady, gentler than a whisper.
Asleep, my smallest son,
In my right arm pit,
“You will never know,”
with a hummingbird’s snore.
I capture them with my iPhone, left-thumb typing (the right thumb imprisoned under the body of my son).
I think it’s a poem; I call it, “Good Night.”
Do you know that you are the only person that I know who read “Eat, Pray, Love” that hated it like I did? I couldn’t finish it. It made me cringe, rage and twitch all at the same time. I just headed straight to my online library account, did not pass go, did not collect $200 and put a hold on Big Magic. Feel the weight of my absolute faith in your literary choices ;).