This week disappears.
I have no real deadlines. A couple of rewrites. Follow-ups. Post-conference crash. Am I tired, sick, or just slow? Slow. The smoke is bad. I go to yoga, meet a friend for yucca fries, solo sheesha date, take Flora shopping, cuddle Ender a lot, I want a time-out, a vacation—I grab a night—Co-op birthday party, yes, I washed the kitchen floor but the stairs are fuzzy, ha ha.
I think the kids are happy this week except when Flora slams the doors or Cinder won’t leave his room.
Sean has a shit day at work—I’m leaving for the night before he comes back, try make it a little better with baked apples and a curry soup.
A friend is stepping back from the world. “I need to take care of myself,” she says. “I don’t protest. “If I don’t, nobody else will.”
I pause, ponder if it’s a request, a cry for help. Is she saying, “Take care of me, a little?”
But healer and caretaker are not my archetypes.
I want to build a world in which you’re taken care of, I whisper. Taking care of your individual needs drains me.
I suppose. Or, realistic.
I rip through two books. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman:
… and I tell everyone I know to read it, best thing I’ve read in years, Sean complies—we argue about it.
and Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley:
so fun, so well-done, and my name shared space with hers in a recent conference promo, so I’m doubly pleased now. She is as good as I remember, I am as honoured.
Today, I might clean the living room. Then again, I might not.
This happens too—a text from a “friend,” while Sean and I are out on a long overdue date, Afghani food, look, they have sheesha (this is a bad idea, already so much smoke in the air because BC is burning), then a stroll through a new-to-us Indian spice mart—we are in heaven, looking up the names of beans (who knew there were so many varieties of mung beans and chickpeas, how, exactly, are they different?)—I don’t buy a kitschy Ganesha statue but I think about it—a text from a “friend.”
Friend. “Friend.” Facebook friend.
I suppose, ultimately, I mean acquaintance.
Friend used to be such a meaningful word. Don’t you think?
I only hear from her when she wants something. This time, she wants to borrow my car.
I’m perversely happy I can’t help. Because, of course, I’d say yes. Resent it.
I had to borrow my neighbours cars for eight months this winter.
I don’t think so.
I don’t only talk to them when I need something.
Today, I want to smoke cigars in the smoke and drink Scotch and Turkish cofee and read Czeslaw Milosz—listen:
by Czesław Miłosz
Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills.
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.
Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.
–maybe Jack Gilbert (yes!) and not do very much else.
Perhaps I’ll clean the living room. And sweep the stairs. They are fuzzy.
Sunnyhill Housing Co-op, August 18, 2018
Happy 40th Birthday to Us!
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)
An introvert’s submission + radical prioritization in action, also pouting (Week 16: Ruthless and Weepy)
It’s about a radical, sustainable rhythm (Week 17: Sprinting and Napping)
It was a pickle juice waterfall but no bread was really harmed in the process (Week 18: Happy and Sad)
You probably shouldn’t call your teacher bad names, but sometimes, your mother must (Week 19: Excitement and Exhaustion)
Tell me I’m beautiful and feed me cherries (Week 20: Excitement and Exhaustion II)
A very short post about miracles, censorship, change: Week 21 (Transitions and Celebrations)
Time flies, and so does butter (Week 22: Remembering and forgetting)
I love you, I want you, I need you, I can’t find you (Week 23: Work and Rest)
You don’t understand—you can’t treat my father’s daughter this way (Week 24: Fathers and Daughters)
The summer was… SULTRY (Week 25: Gratitude and Collapse)
It’s like rest but not really (Week 26: Meandering and Reflection)
It’s the wrong question (Week 27: Success and Failure)
On not meditating but meditating anyway, and a cameo from John Keats (Week 28: Busy and Resting)
Hot, cold, self-indulgent as fuck (Week 29: Fire and Ice)
In which our heroine hides under a table (Week 30: Tears and Chocolate)
Deadlines and little lies make the world go round (Week 31: Honesty and Compassion)
That’s not the way the pope would put it, but… (Week 32: Purpose and Miracles)
And before you know it, it’s over (Week 33: Fast and Slow)
—->>>POSTCARDS FROM CUBA
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