I type in the dark, fingers missing keys, as my daughter sleeps in shadowy futon couch bed in the corner of my study; a grown woman planning her big move to the west coast of the United States. Today she turns 21.
The first fall without my Mom. She has passed away. Passe Compose.
When I first started this blog I had ides that ran one after another, in a little line, a queue. The ideas had a persistent quality as if they had to be written down.
I enjoyed writing so much that I can’t remember much else about that time except that I stained my teeth with tea and wrote every day.
After a while I began to nag myself about writing for a more demanding audience than just myself. I ‘should do this or that’. Write for competitions, write for publication.
That imperative shut down the creative juices pretty dramatically.
Then I read Alice Munro non stop and studied short stories and thought about writing.
In the midst of this I was writing a lot of cover letters for jobs that I needed but did not want. A lot of writerly charm went into those letters.
I got rejected or never heard from most of those jobs. In the same period my Mom died and left a large gaping hole where I had been focusing a lot of love and care. In the wake of her death some close relatives of mine took it upon themselves to take out their mourning on me in the form of seemingly arbitrary and hurtful criticisms of my very self.
I felt at a loss to respond to any of it and was glad to have my own family to love and be loved by.
I lost the joy of writing and I did not post much until one day I was sweetly surprised when a friend of mine said that she had followed my musings on my Mom’s illness unto death. That she had cried and been moved. And I thought, huh. Well, that is really an amazing compliment. It is a quiet answer, a nod and a smile.
All our voices are people waving at each other from a distance. We like to share common experiences. We are sociable and optimistic.
I have come to some conclusions after my thinking period, For one thing, short stories are actually memoirs and memoirs are short stories.
Also, I still need a job but my persistence and stoicism in applying to dozens of jobs this spring is starting to give me purchase. I have an interview tomorrow and if that does not work I have another job lined up.
I loved my mom and she is still with me in spirit. She is happy as a spirit. She was always a bit bigger than this earthly world.
I am still in doubt about obligatory relationships where I am not treated lovingly. I have been forced into an unpleasant matriarchal position; an irritating authoritative figure who must be denied. I am not my Mother. I reject this whole set up and I retreat. Carry on without me.
Mama - Last Word
On my personal blog:
Are you feeling a bit tense and irritable? Did you just unfriend someone who annoyed you? Are you reconsidering your job, your marriage, your hair style? Are you questioning every life choice you have ever made?
Do not act on your impulses at this time of the year. Leave your hair as it is. Changing your circumstances is not going to change the weather. Most likely you are just going a little ‘wintery’ . It is a saying I just made it up.
As January creeps inexorably into February we begin to twitch and give hard stares to strangers.
Now let’s just say this, any mood swings or feelings of cramped irritation at the restraints that are part of your life , they all count as ‘first world problems’. Let’s get that out of the way right now.
It is stressful to have debt, it is stressful to be unemployed or badly employed, it is a drag that you can”t afford a holiday, or even a dinner out, but in the long run we all have good food and warm shelter and it is a fair bet that we always will have these comforts.
But still, there is a harsh quality to a freezing January day that tests any good humor.
When I find myself standing at the window staring at the icy sea, and wondering whether I should make really chocolatey brownies, I know it is almost February. When I find myself thinking fondly of an evening glass of wine, in middle of the afternoon, I know the days are cold and short.
Today the sun crept up over the hoary frozen vista like a warning. ’Appreciate the day, Godammit’, said the Sun. I heard it distinctly. Last night the full moon lit up the frozen slippery garden and peeked in the windows, and it sang a sweet melancholy song, ’Sleep peacefully, all bundled up in warm blankets. Be a happy beast, hibernate when you can’.
I know what I have to do this coming month. The first thing is buy a big box of wine. The second is invest in good chocolate. The third is plan some dinner parties; have people over, make food, open my house.
And of course, feed the birds and critters, walk in the woods and, very important, take vitamin D and a massive stinking Vitamin B complex.