Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Life's little surprises

Rocky, the Maine coon cat, often sleeps with me. Being of excessive floof, he often hawks up fur balls at inopportune times and not-so-great places. Anyhow, at 1 am, night before last, I woke up to hawking. So I got up to clean it off the carpet before it dried and smelled. I'd bolted out of bed and turned the light on half-asleep.

When I got back into bed, I see Rocky has brought me a present: A dead mouse is on the blanket right where he sleeps next to me. I managed to praise him for being a mighty hunter, but I think I hurt his feelings when I didn't eat it. (Husband says I should have at least put it in my mouth and let him see me with the tail sticking out of my mouth.) I threw it outside...Rocky didn't sleep with me for the rest of the night, but forgave me eventually. He's just that kind of guy.

And so it begins...

Baby boomer...

This is an indulgence I may keep to myself or I may let others know. Of course, by definition, it's not private. On the other hand, I am not looking for fame and fortune. (Well, a bit of fortune wouldn't hurt, but it probably won't come from what I have to say.) And no one in particular is looking for me. Maybe that's what I long for: to find the part of me that will stay even when the physical self departs. Maybe we all long to be found, even when we're not really lost.

The thing is, I always wanted to write. For as long as I can remember, fashioning words on paper was a tangible desire. Believing my words had any validity, that I have anything to offer anyone else, is another thing altogether. For some more recent years, the desire to write left me. I burned my collection of my own writing at one particularly low point in the journey. I'd fought that impulse for a long time, and it was finally easier to succumb than it was to fight. There are pathways in those words I wish I could recover, but I am not overwhelmed with grief at my decision. After all, becoming a good writer takes a lot of practice, and it's not all pretty or worthy. It was just practice.

So, I'm 60: recently retired and contemplating endings/transitions. And I do want to remember the journey, share some of it with others, and, perhaps, explain. I expect most humans long to be understood, to be told "You did the right thing" and be appreciated for the effort. Psychobabble notwithstanding, few of us get appreciated for what we attempt to accomplish. Perhaps by writing, I'll explain it to myself, connect the dots, and appreciate my own effort. Well, yes, writing as therapy can be ugly. We live in a time when exhibitionism earns money, and immodesty is rampant. I sincerely hope that's not what this turns into.

So, in short and for starters, the game is just to tell stories. I use multiple media: knitting, quilting, writing, this incredible vortex called the internet, and my own memory. My American life is unremarkable but not without stories. The trick is to whack off the chaff and convey the kernels of meaning that I find. And to share them in a worthy manner. Consistency and cohesiveness aren't promised. I will try to tell the truth.