tonight i am listening to a cello concerto on a vintage garage sale turntable i scored for twenty bucks. last night - a law and order re-run. tomorrow - maybe cake. it's easier not to be perfect. people think if you are happy all the time there must be some lack of depth - as if only misery or worry or grief could be measured against the truth. i think happy is an unmeditated reprieve. a joy for something not forgot. a joy for escaping the narrows. i see how we wear our hearts on our faces. "mine is broken" or "love me" or "yes." and then how we do all these other things to pretend they are saying something else.
i took a break today from caring too much. ate grilled cheese and onion rings at the same meal - mixed the colors and whites in the washing machine - turned off the ringer on a work day. i asked once, when the sun hit my cheek - as if it were July and not November - how to be useful, even in the midst of trying not to care. there was never a time when i did not feel lucky. i like to watch people come and go in a certain hurry - as if they too could forget the things that really matter. it's impossible though, to take your heart outside of something. it just stands there beating "i see you" "i see you" "i see you."
sometimes it takes a very long time to end a curse or let go of a story you made up about yourself or who you are or why you can't. but it is always in the extra innings where you find out what you're really made of.
I have an ache the size of something terribly important – but am exhausted by the business of so much minutiae that I’m not even sure for what I ache, nor where the longing itself is located – would I fill it with one more trifle.
There is a pen and so many drawers emptied of words. A stifled urgency. A haunt.
There is thunder in the first cup of coffee. Thank god. Or gOod. Or however you want to say it. Spent $50 on fireworks yesterday and am remembering a time when it felt like I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. And even this isn’t the American Dream. But the freedom! I’m choosing to look at what is magnificent about this country. About the world. About people. About circumstances. When you find the sliver of light in the dark room, you’ve got a starting point to raise an axe to.
Anything but writing. And I mean anything. Shoot, I ‘ll crawl under the sub-floor of someone else’s house to look for potential leaks, even though there is no indication of one, before I will sit down and get my work done. This, in the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, is called “resistance.” I have all flavors. It started when I was 9 and I realized I was a writer. I wrote a poem in class and that was that. I was a writer. That it was a relatively deep poem for a nine year old may or may not be true. But of greater significance is that, upon completing it, I knew – and I mean KNEW – that I had just discovered something – a part of myself – that was as important as air and water. I had found my voice. What followed this “realization” was a series of distractions. I was to be the first female President of the United States. Next, a doctor. An attorney. A teacher. A writer again (heavily medicated with alcohol and consequentially, unable to do anything with the writing that I actually did), a bar-tender, a waitress (these last two only AFTER receiving a BA in English Literature and a MFA in Poetics), a sales rep., and finally, a Realtor. A gal who sells a lot of houses and writes just a little bit of poetry. The book suggests that if we were all taking up our callings, and doing what we know in our hearts we were put on this planet to do – that one genius about us that is ours only – there’d be no more war, starvation, poverty, addiction, mental health problems, etc. Sounds good to me. I, of course, want to chain smoke cigarettes while I am writing and since that feels like a recipe for an early death – I don’t. Also, I don’t write. This is the resistance Pressfield is talking about. I wonder what all the people I love are not doing. And all the just so-so friends – what is it that they are not doing that they were born to do? And how, when we really like someone, finding out this gold morsel of what is under all their doing-ness and the busy-busy and the roles – how they are even more like-able; how suddenly they are fascinating. I am going to put it out there. I am going to ask. What are you NOT doing that is your true calling, your forever dream, your heart’s desire? See what shakes loose. Maybe it will give me something to write about. And, if not me, then maybe you.