… had a nice rhythm. Except for the afternoon of MATH HELL. But then, writer tribe in the evening, always good. In the interim… an attempt by someone (not me) to create drama. Sidestepped. Ruthless radical prioritization for the win!
My mom’s over, and she’s telling me she’s leaving Monday, movers, help Dad, etc. The timing of the move’s not stellar—what with her being away, and it being the weekend of Sean and mine 18th anniversary on the 29th (happy anniversary to us, thank you). But the movers are coming on Friday, the 27th.
Jane: Oh, the 27th, that’s perfect—I’ll book the day off, and I can be available to Dad all that day for whatever he needs.
And then. My eldest.
Cinder: Book off? You don’t work.
There’s this sound I now make when they say that.
Jane: What the fuck do you think I do all day?
Cinder: I dunno. Meditate?
I just really don’t know what to do about this.
I’m sad and moody. Just because. Even spending time with you didn’t really help.
Moody. Feeling… out of step, out of synch. Not really here.
Sudden burst of productivity. Bam.
And… moody again.
Numbing activity? Self-medication?
Whatever. Give it to me.
… a spectacularly good day. Tell me—what is it, exactly, that makes the difference between a good day, like today, and a meh-day like Monday and a moody day like Thursday?
I really don’t know.
Was it the community potluck?
Sunbath in the morning, writing, coffee, cigar.
First rain of spring.
Mom-and-daughter date, first one in a long time. She spoils me rotten.
…all the feelings.
happy anniversary, my favourite motherfucking sadist
The good thing about Thursday was that I spent 30 minutes of it with the man who gave me back my mobility (my life, really) after I told him—“I want you to get me straight and get me walking again. Give me that, and I’ll deal with the pain.”
He took my at my word, and never once asked me not to scream so loud—although we did stop meeting in the public gym after the first couple of sessions. We didn’t discuss it, really. Just mutually agreed that working out of his home gym traumatized fewer bystanders.
He made me cry twice in the space of this 30 minute session.
MFS: It’s not really crying if the tears just stay in the corners of your eyes.
Jane: And it’s not really screaming unless the neighbours call the police?
Anyway. That was… holy fuck, babe, that was six years ago now.
Thursday actually really wasn’t a bad day. Really.
I was just sad. Moody.
It was sunny but not sunny enough and not wintry but not springy enough.
I read Natalie Goldberg’s The True Secret of Writing and loved it and loved her and accepted her as a teacher. And accepted we wrote for different reasons.
And tried to figure out, exactly, why it was that I write.
I tried to tell you. You didn’t like how I framed it. You didn’t like the idea of my needing an audience.
When you write, you, like Natalie, write to make sense of yourself to yourself. Your journal is enough. Your blog is set to private.
Me, I think stories exist to be shared. An unshared story is an untold story—is not a story.
You: But then your entire value of yourself is in the hands of others. What if they don’t like your story?
On a good day, the answer to that is, it doesn’t matter whether they like it or they don’t like it. But it matters that they—at least some of them!—hear it.
Because otherwise… it doesn’t exist.
You: If the next sentence out of your mouth is, “And so I don’t exist,” I will throw this pillow at you.
I say nothing.
Am grateful that you exist.
the sketch of an idea
…actually, I’m not going to share it with you, but, yes, it has been a productive week.
Productive doesn’t always mean happy. But it does bring with it a measure of tranquility.
I wish—I do wish I knew how to find tranquility in stillness.
Cinder: So all that meditation isn’t working, hey?
Jane: You are still in the doghouse over your last comments.
Cinder: Go meditate some more.
I meditate on how much the Buddha pisses me off. Write furiously afterwards.
Sean: If I tell you that you’re doing this whole meditation thing wrong, will you get angry?
Jane: No. I realize I’m doing it wrong. I don’t want Enlightenment if it comes at the price of detachment. Remember? The Buddha was a psychopath.
… speaking of psychopaths…
The teenagers come into the kitchen at 8 pm on Friday night as Sean and I are talking about BIG PHILOSOPHICAL THINGS.
(Including, for reasons I won’t go into, psychopathology.)
And join in the discussion.
Ender crawls into my lap at about 10 pm.
Jane: A few more minutes, babe. Cuddle up here…
Teenagers are like wildlife. You don’t wanna spook them when they come close to you by being… too enthusiastic. Nor do you want to be the one to walk away, you know? Who knows when next that magnificent wild animal will deign to visit with you?
introvert versus extrovert
On Saturday, my mom and I go out for coffee and to wander all the vintage clothing stores in Kensington. She spoils me rotten—I have a new wardrobe for my conference #gratitude #abundance even a purse. I do manage to buy her the $2.75 coffee. But not lunch.
We have a great time—I want to be very clear on this. We have a great time.
When we part—she is energized and she will carry that energy into her interaction with the world, my dad.
I am exhausted and overstimulated, and I don’t want to talk to my children, and go hide from them on the balcony with a cup of tea and chocolate, even though there is no sun warmth there anymore.
Introvert. Extrovert. Defined.
I am reading Zadie Smith’s Swing Time, and she stops me dead:
What do we want from our mouthers when we are children? Complete submission.
Oh, it’s very nice and rational and respectable to say that a woman has every right to her life, to her ambitions, to her needs, and so on—it’s what I’ve always demanded myself—but as a child, no, the truth is it’s a war of attrition, rationality doesn’t come into it, not one bit, all you want from your mother is that she once and for all admit that she is your mother and only your mother, and that her battle with the rest of life is over. She has to lay down arms and come to you. And if she doesn’t do it, then it’s really a war…
Zadie Smith, Swing Time
I read the paragraph to Sean; he frowns a little.
she really said this to me…
Flora: Mom? Did you always suck at doing the dishes, or is it something you practiced getting bad at so that the rest of us would do them more often?
I give her the stink eye.
But I’m not mad.
The truth is actually quite complicated. And what she said… it’s kind of part of the truth, too.
all the feelings
On Sunday, I had all the feelings. The morning was perfect, the afternoon productive (although not in my favourite way), the evening, the demons came.
Cinder: Like I said, I don’t think it’s working.
Jane: It’s this or smoking marijuana, and I don’t want to set you a bad example.
Confession: I really love saying shit that makes them shut up and do this, “What did she mean, exactly?” thing with their brains.
ruthless, radical prioritization
… yeah …
For the record. Please. I’m not a bitch and I’m not a machine and I’m not an automaton without feelings.
But I score off-the-charts on executive function / capability, and I know precisely how precious my time and my energy are.
I love you.
I’ve got to go do things now.
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)
Professionals do it like this: [insert key scene here] (Week 9: Battle, Fatigue, Reward)
Reading Nabokov, crying, whining, regrouping (Week 10: Tears and Dreams)
Shake the Disease (Week 11: Sickness and Health… well, mostly sickness)
Cremation, not embalming, but I think I might live after all (Week 12: Angst and Gratitude)
Let’s pretend it all does have meaning (Week 13: Convalescence and Rebirth)
The cage is will, the lock is discipline (Week 14: Up and Down)
My negotiated self thinks you don’t exist–wanna make something of it? (Week 15: Priorities and Opportunity)
Looking for Nothing By The Book multi-media Postcards from Cuba project?
This was the first “listening” postcard:
and here’s all of the first three series—->>>POSTCARDS FROM CUBA
The best things in life and on the Internet are free, but content creators need to pay for groceries with money. If you enjoy Nothing By The Book content, please express your delight and support by making a donation via PayPal:
You: “But how much should I give?”
Jane: “I get $1 each time a sell a traditionally published book, so my bar’s set really low, love. Want to buy me a cup of coffee? That’s $4.75 if you’ll spring for a mocha or latte. Bottle of wine? My palate’s unsophisticated: $19.95 will more than cover it.”
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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: 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