I write and then I vegetate except for when I do battle with the fridge—totally unfulfilling, but someone had to take that bitch down—rearrange all the furniture in the kitchen (and then put it back), go to yoga, do two loads of laundry, and murder all the dust bunnies hiding under our bed.
I also find my good water bottle and favourite vibrator, so, you know, it’s all worth it.
You: You’re not going to use that, are you?
Jane: I’ll clean it. Really, really well.
You: I don’t even want to look at you right now.
I also walk to Safeway in the sun with the Ender. Buy meat, bath salts, candles and flowers.
Ender: Drink instead of candy?
Ender: The big bottle is cheaper than the little bottle. Look.
He carries a 2l bottle of Sprite all the way home, chugging from it at irregular intervals.
[insert key scene here]
And what key scene would that be?
Cryptic notes to myself are just so enchanting.
True thing: marination is alchemy and it transforms a $1.76 (for two) steak into a masterpiece. The secret is plenty of lemon juice.
I have no lemon juice, but there is a very old lime on the counter.
Flora: Didn’t you just go to Safeway yesterday?
Jane: Hush. The alchemist is at work.
Key scene, key scene, key scene…
Coffee with neighbour, friend of many lifetimes. The Ender roams in the background; the Flora is in the next room. Headphones on, but always listening.
We talk about almost important things, but fairly carefully.
Lunch out. Big eyes that blink too much. Small mouth. Swollen lips. The most delicious gluten-free muffin ever… that turns out to be gluten-friendly. Someone has a sense of humour, fucking bakers, I’d be so angry at you, except THAT WAS THE MOST DELICIOUS THING I HAVE EATEN in…. aaaah.
Suddenly, snow in the sunshine.
I decide the lunch with a beautiful woman, never mind the delicious white wheat flour muffin, OMFG, fuck being responsible, GIVE ME MORE—is indulgence enough, and I will not smoke a cigar today.
The snow and icy wind influence my decision. Just a little.
Science happens without much need for intervention, correction or encouragement.
Jane: So, you? Math?
Jane: I know. Just a little?
Flora: Shouldn’t you be teaching Ender to read?
Mostly, I’m hoping Minecraft teaches him.
Hey, it worked with Cinder.
Flora peels the potatoes while I meditate.
But there’s a text from her on my phone when I come out.
Flora: Where did you go?
I decide to text her back, instead of finding her.
Jane: I was hiding in the basement. That’s where I usually am when you can’t find me.
I think I’m so funny.
The invasion of the neighbourhood boys while I make supper.
Blue: Is Cinder doing math today?
Blue: Thank god.
Pre-calculus math isn’t just ruining my life. It’s affecting the quality of life of everyone in the neighbourhood.
(I think I’m so funny. But… so does she…)
Her: Hey! New story idea! Harried mom has to trade sexual favours with hot young math teacher/tutor to help her child. Just putting it out there.
Jane: You know… that totally has legs…
Jane: Actually, fuck it as a story. I’m going to go out and seduce a hot young math tutor. And then, maybe, I’ll write about it. Win-win-win scenario. 😉
You think I’m kidding. Ha.
I’m reading, simulatenously, Apartment Therapy by Maxwell Ryan, The Art of Organizing Anything by Rosalie Maggio, and Original Light by Snatam Kaur). I should be reading billionaire romances. Four more to go… no, three—before March 7.
I’m not sure I’ll be able to persevere.
Sean: What’s the penalty if you don’t finish all the books you’re supposed to judge?
Jane: Eternal shame. You know I have to finish. I’m genetically incapable of not finishing. Sob.
(This is not funny. It is utterly tragic.)
(The Art of Organizing Anything is both funny AND tragic.)
I steal Blue’s mother’s car to take Flora to her martial arts class. Then, for reasons I don’t quite understand, end up reading articles about / by Jungian analyst Marion Woodman.
I should be writing that missing key scene.
Reading billionaire romances.
“The conscious feminine gives us the courage to love an acorn without knowing what an oak tree is.” —Marion Woodman
“Love is the true antitheses of fear. It expands where fear constricts. It embraces where fear repels.” —Marion Woodman
And this one is my favourite:
“Presence is holding love without twisting it into your desire.” —Marion Woodman
(Sean is reading the Marion Woodman part in Stephen Cope’s The Great Work Of Your Life, so I think I start googling her for context. And to find out if she lived or died.)
Sort of on topic:
synchronicity is “the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.”
I think Carl Jung coined the word. Or at least redefined it.
“Jung believed that many experiences perceived as coincidence were due not merely to chance, but instead potentially reflected the manifestation of coincident events or circumstances consequent to this governing dynamic. He spoke of synchronicity as being an “acausal connecting principle.”
I guess I might have been familiar with the concept before Julia Cameron, but it was really only after reading The Artist’s Way that I started to really think about synchronicity.
“When I teach and I explain to my students the concept of synchronicity, they may at first protest that such a concept seems too good to be true. Not wanting to be gullible, they exclaim, ‘Julia! Do you really believe the universe opens doors for us?’ I tell them yes, and I ask them not to believe me, but to keep track themselves of the instances of synchronicity they now encounter.”
So I’m thinking about synchronicity chiefly because she’s experiencing crazy synchronicity (and is a little worried, a little fey—is something bad going to happen soon?) and also because…
I don’t know.
* * * [insert key scene here] * * *
The morning starts with those thoughts. Is it worth it? Why bother? What sets them off is the Twitter account of a podcaster. I’ve followed a few friends who podcast. And now, Twitter keeps on suggesting podcast accounts I might be interested in.
THERE ARE SO MANY.
Ditto youtubers. Bloggers. Authors.
SO MUCH NOISE.
Maybe the biggest service I can do for the world is to shut the fuck up…
Listen. Instead of talking.
Read. Instead of writing.
BE instead of creating… things nobody needs, notices because they are too busy shouting about their own drama, trauma, passions.
Maybe I need to stop.
Maybe I should get off.
The thoughts crate a peculiar sensation. The opposite, perhaps, of the still-point yogis chase—although it feels still, too—I am very still—and the world is swirling around me, a cacophony of noise, podcasts, vloggers, bloggers, youtoubers, genre authors, critics, reviewers… trolls.
Everyone is talking, all at once.
What will happen if I fall silent?
I should close my mouth and find out.
I close my eyes instead.
I decide the key scene is not so much missing as buried.
I. CUT. HUNDREDS OF WORDS. MAYBE THOUSANDS.
Fuck, that felt good.
Seesha. The Man On The Moon.
Searing sadness. Just such… searing sadness.
How is it possible to find happiness and rest and peace in the heart of such searing sadness?
But it is.
(a sense of safe place, I can’t explain it otherwise; a place of rest)
(I want to honour this moment, this night, this experience–I don’t yet know how)
Up too early. Smell of sex in the sheets, the air. Morning air so cold.
“What will you do today?”
“I have to finish a story…”
I finish more quickly than I expect; there is a smell of violets in the air.
I do all the things at home; take the train to the university. Russell Smith is speaking on what is authentic in art.
I’m… interested and yet disappointed.
And I’m so… frustrated by art and academics apparently working so hard to make themselves irrelevant.
You want to meet me in the evening; I say no. Choose solitude, home instead of you; you understand.
But instead, I end up in a bar with a bevy of artists.
We none of us know why we do what we do. We just… Compulsion, vocation?
I don’t know. And there is no answer at the bottom of the Guinness glass.
I spend the whole day reading Marion Woodman’s Bone.
Well, I also help Cinder with science. Read Bone (Jeff Smith’s) to Ender. Make food, go to yoga (I think I hate yoga) (I think I hate exercise) (I definitely don’t like “the gym”) (please, spring, come soon). I think a load of laundry gets done somewhere in there. I might answer an email.
Oh, and I burn through a billionaire romance (I told you; don’t ask—it’s work; it’s necessary, but I’m NEVER going to do it again).
But mostly, Friday, I spend with Marion Woodman.
Bone seduces me, transposes me, transforms me.
“Returning to my self-discipline routine. Taking time and energy to do my exercises, walking half an hour every day, and gently dancing. Not relying on housework to give me the exercise I need. Feeding myself the vitamins and remedies… Not begrudging myself the rest I need. Visualization and mediation hold the days and nights together.”
Marion Woodman, Bone, December 18, 1993
“Thinking about passion and the dark feminine and how they are related to creativity and healing. This relationship is one of the biggest tasks of the Crone: holding he opposites in conscious aging—holding passion for life in balance with acquiescence in death, holding the spiritual womb always receptive to the creative spirit and choosing the new wholeness…”
Marion Woodman, Bone, October 7, 1994
This is not from Bone, but it is Marion Woodman:
“A mother who is identified with being mother has to have children who will eat what she gives them and do what she wants them to do. They must remain children.”
And this is Italo Calvino, on Carl Jung, quoted in Bone:
“Jung’s method, which bestows universal validity on archetypes and the collective unconscious, is linked to the idea of IMAGINATION as PARTICIPATION in the TRUTH of the world.”
In the evening, Edward Sorel reminds me that Carl Jung was a raging anti-Semite.
There are no heroes.
Sean comes home in the evening bearing presents.
I change my mind. Go to bed with Vladimir Nabokov and Vera, and Frida, unopened, but beside us.
Sean joins us after his bath.
It’s two days before an anniversary I’m not going to celebrate. It’s fine. I’m fine.
Because, Leonard Cohen:
Take the word butterfly. To use this word it is not necessary to make the voice weigh less than an ounce or equip it with small dusty wings. It is not necessary to invent a sunny day or a field of daffodils. It is not necessary to be in love, or to be in love with butterflies. The word butterfly is not a real butterfly. There is the word and there is the butterfly. If you confuse these two items people have the right to laugh at you. Do not make so much of the word. Are you trying to suggest that you love butterflies more perfectly than anyone else, or really understand their nature? The word butterfly is merely data. It is not an opportunity for you to hover, soar, befriend flowers, symbolize beauty and frailty, or in any way impersonate a butterfly. Do not act out words. Never act out words.
Speak the words with the exact precision with which you would check out a laundry list. Do not become emotional about the lace blouse. Do not get a hard-on when you say panties. Do not get all shivery just because of the towel. The sheets should not provoke a dreamy expression about the eyes. There is no need to weep into the handkerchief. The socks are not there to remind you of strange and distant voyages. It is just your laundry. It is just your clothes. Don’t peep through them. Just wear them.
Leonard Cohen, Death of a Lady’s Man
Quoted in Brainpickings
You text to see if you can come over.
But you will have to compete with Vladimir, Vera and Frida for my attention.
I am a terrible friend.
A cat n mouse game via text. I decide I definitely don’t matter, don’t exist.
I try to convince Flora to eat expired yogurt.
Jane: It smells fine!
Flora: I can’t believe you’re trying to make me eat expired diary. What sort of mother are you?
Jane: You’re so lucky. When you live on your own and I come over–you’ll never be stressed about having to clean your house or what to feed me. You can feed me expired yogurt–well, you can’t, because I don’t eat diary, but you know what I mean–and…
Flora: I’m not feeding you anything when you come over. I’m gonna be like, remember that time you didn’t feed us lunch for six months? No snacks for you!
Flora: Also, you’re not going to want to come over, because I’m going to have seven snakes.
Flora: Seven. Crazy cat ladies are so passe. I’m going to be the crazy snake lady.
I don’t mind snakes, actually. It’s the smell of their liquid feces that turns my stomach. Did I ever tell you about the time we had cornsnakes and they escaped… and we never found them? I will, the next time you’re over, and sitting in a badly lit corner…
Saturday night. Sheesha with tribe–the YYC Queer Writers and I take over a Lebanese eatery and sheesha place. Make the owner uncomfortable. He knows me–doesn’t mind when I came alone or with one or two friends… when the queers take over two of his tables? He looks twitchy. Or are we projecting?
We are not their target audience. But it’s good to shake things up. Right?
An evening of unexpected blasts from the pasts, connections… glimmers of the future.
She comes and holds my hand, and…
You: I’m going to strip you naked and paddle your ass raw for all this vague-blogging.
Jane: Promises, promises. But–seriously, this is all for me. When I’m here, on this page, in this space? I’m writing, playing, working out shit… for me. You get to have a peek. Appreciate that. Don’t ask for more.
I work at appreciating what I get. Don’t ask for more.
No. Not really. Remember my original sankalpa? I’m still working with it, a little:
I ask for what I need.
I have everything I need.
I just… sometimes… often… want more.
But I have everything I need.
(Cohesive narrative be damned.)
The psychic who used to live next door is coming to dinner. I can’t wait. I miss her so much I can barely bear to hear her name spoken by people. (In the conversation with the bevy of artists on Thursday, I realize I have intense abandonment issues with which I deal by not attaching to people until I’m pretty sure they’re going to be around for a while. And then, when they leave… well. That’s the topic for another book… and another year’s or decade’s worth of therapy.)
But, she’s coming. I’ll feed her. Love her. Try to forgive her for leaving me. I haven’t yet; to be honest, I probably never will (I hold grudges).
I have everything I need.
PS Jung 101 Courtesy of Sonoma U. Just in case I go Jungian on you, so we have a common language.
The year started with a Monday; so does every week (Week 1: Transitions and Intentions)
Easier than you think, harder than I expected: a week in eleven stanzas (Week 2: Goodness and Selfishness)
A moody story (Week 3: Ebb and Flow)
Do it full out (Week 4: Passions and Outcomes)
The Buddha was a psychopath and other heresies (Week 5: No Cohesion)
A good week (Week 6: Execute, Regroup)
Killing it (Week 7: Exhaustion and Adrenaline)
Tired, petty, tired, unimportant (Week 8: Disappointment and Perseverance)
—->>>POSTCARDS FROM CUBA
Pingback: Reading Nabokov, crying, whining, regrouping (Week 10: Tears and Dreams) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Shake the Disease (Week 11: Sickness and Health… well, mostly sickness) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Cremation, not embalming, but I think I might live after all (Week 12: Angst and Gratitude) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Let’s pretend it all does have meaning (Week 13: Convalescence and Rebirth) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: The cage is will, the lock is discipline (Week 14: Up and Down) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: My negotiated self thinks you don’t exist–wanna make something of it? (Week 15: Priorities and Opportunity) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: An introvert’s submission + radical prioritization in action, also pouting (Week 16: Ruthless and Weepy) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: It’s about a radical, sustainable rhythm (Week 17: Sprinting and Napping) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: It was a pickle juice waterfall but no bread was really harmed in the process (Week 18: Happy and Sad) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: You probably shouldn’t call your teacher bad names, but sometimes, your mother must (Week 19: Excitement and Exhaustion) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Tell me I’m beautiful and feed me cherries (Week 20: Excitement and Exhaustion) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: A very short post about miracles, censorship, change: Week 21 (Transitions and Celebrations) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Time flies, and so does butter (Week 22: Remembering and forgetting) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: I love you, I want you, I need you, I can’t find you (Week 23: Work and Rest) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: You don’t understand—you can’t treat my father’s daughter this way (Week 24: Fathers and Daughters) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: The summer was… SULTRY (Week 25: Gratitude And Collapse) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: It’s like rest but not really (Week 26: Meandering And Reflection) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: It’s the wrong question (Week 27: Success and Failure) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: On not meditating but meditating anyway, and a cameo from John Keats (Week 28: Busy and Resting) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Hot, cold, self-indulgent as fuck (Week 29: Fire and Ice) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: In which our heroine hides under a table (Week 30: Tears and Chocolate) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Deadlines and little lies make the world go round (Week 31: Honesty and Compassion) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: That’s not the way the pope would put it, but… (Week 32: Purpose and Miracles) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: And before you know it, it’s over (Week 33: Fast and Slow) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Ragazzo da Napoli zajechał Mirafiori (Week 34: Nostalgia and Belonging) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Depression is a narcissistic disease, fentanyl is dangerous, and knowledge is power, sort of (Week 35: Introspection and Awareness) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: I’m not gonna tell you (Week 36: Smoke and Mirrors) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Slightly irritable and yet kinda happy (Week 37: Self-Improvement and Self-Indulgence) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: It’s not procrastination, it’s process (Week 38: Back and Forth) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Pavlov’s experiments, 21st century style (Week 39: Connectivity and Solitude) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: The last thing I remember… (Week 40: Truth and um, Not Really) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: All of life’s a (larval) stage (Week 41: Stagnation and Transformation) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Damn you, Robert Frost (Week 42: Angst and more Angst) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Speaking of conflict avoidance… (Week 43: Fight of Flight) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Halloween, Samhain, All Saints Day, Day of The Dead, Candy (Week 44: Neither Here Nor There) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Again with the silver-tongued Persians, and other stories (Week 45: Silence and language) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: War, Famine, Pestilence, Mornings (Week 46: Mornings and the Apocalypse) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Time flies but the Christmas tree is up (Week 47: Status quo and Change) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: I didn’t kill anyone–it just smells like it (Week 48: Guilt & Poison) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: You have a bad memory, while I want to rest on a flower (Week 49: Mothers and Caterpillars) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Atheism, Spirituality, Boundaries, Slytherins (Week 50: This and That) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: When everyone’s a special snowflake… (Week 51: Normal and Narcissistic) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: The year will end on a Monday (Week 52: Guilt and Gratitude) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: 52 Weeks Project (2018 Blog Post Index) | Nothing By The Book