I've spent the past couple months studying the craft, poring over book after book. I desired to return to my story with a fresh set of skills but I needed time to pump myself up. This past summer I realized I shouldn't be desperately seeking writer friends. I needed to be reading their books. So I did. Their impeccable prose and constant encouragement sent me on a literary high. (Stephen King and Dani Shapiro and I have totally bonded. Too bad for them they have no idea.) I neared the end of Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird on the first leg of our family vacation a few days ago. For weeks I had been coasting along on my new-found confidence, itching to get back to my story, when, riding the Magical Express to Disney World, I read Lamott's last chapter. It made me mad- fire-breathing, spitting-dirt, kick-the-wall-even-though-it-hurts mad. I spent the days on our trip in Wonderland, laughing and smiling until my cheeks hurt. Then we'd tuck the girls in, my husband would fall asleep watching the news, and I would lie in bed with my eyebrows all scrunched up and my lower lip stuck out- angry and pouting in one of the most magical places on earth. A wildfire attacked My Galapagos. I stood witness to all of my work going up in flames.
The first day of Kindergarten- it was the moment I had been not-so-secretly looking forward to her entire five years of life. On those endless colicky nights that bled into the mornings, during those chaotic evenings when I wanted to hand everyone a package of Pop-Tarts and send myself to bed at 5:30, after running out of patience and answers when faced with the never-ending list of questions about the world, and especially when she asked me to get out the play-doh or the paints again after I just finished scraping Legos out of the carpet, I held out hope for...the first day of Kindergarten.
It's no secret that I am passionate about relationships- family, friends, and intimate ones. I've spent the better part of my life asking myself, "Why?", as if I'm any authority. I go 'round and 'round in circles wondering why people make the decisions they do in relationships with me, with others. Do you remember that scene in Sex and the City when Carrie is obsessing about yet another breakup with Big and she's sitting at lunch with the girls reassuring herself that she's got things under control, that she doesn't need to sit on some quack's couch, because she has her girlfriends? To which Samantha replies something like, "Nope. You're too much for us. We've done all we can. You need to get some help." That's me- in a nutshell. I'm obsessive and flawed and hungry to learn more.
Back in January, I wrote about my new year's resolutions in Goalkeeper. I have entered a clear passage in my life which has allowed me to come to terms with a slew of my shortcomings. I over plan, over worry, and over work myself in areas that aren't overall beneficial. The past several weeks I decided to tackle something I've always wanted to do, something I've been too scared or too lazy to deal with, by starting a vegetable garden. It may seem a little too earthy to some or a big step backwards to others since the produce section is in constant, ample supply, but for me it would mean a little bit more. I needed to settle some past hurts and fears, get off my rear, and just do it.
With one little craft, we became bird nerds in this post. Our grapefruit bird feeders were a big hit with all of our fluttering visitors and we didn't want it to end. We made two new feeders with fresh seed mixture and refilled the two we made before. The sun perfectly dried out the old ones so they were sturdy enough to use again. Then, we waited. With all of spring's fluorescent green sprouts distracting the birds, they weren't as excited about the feeders as they were during the winter. However, something else wasted little time getting the feeders within the grip of its greedy little paws.
It's no secret that I'm stuck in my book. I'm starting to despise the word "memoir". It's pompous. Why is my life elevated to such a level that it deserves a published work? Why do I think I'm special enough for others to spend time and energy reading about me? How can I possibly spend that much time immersed in myself and claim not to be a narcissist? How can I justify taking precious time away from my children during the day, or my husband at night, to pour my heart into something which, odds are, won't be particularly beneficial- monetarily speaking? The truth is- it's not, I'm not, and I can't...convincingly. And yet, I must.