A Love Story Reimagined: Part I

Like many of you, I’m having difficulty coming to terms with the new normal of necessary widespread social distancing in light of COVID19. I was going to write about that today, as there are a couple directions I could go. I could share how it reminds me of being on bed rest when I was expecting my daughter, and the lessons I learned then. I could write about how a certified hermit like me feels about everyone else suddenly appropriating the space I occupy (literally and figuratively), but while I was out walking earlier, another idea captured me, so maybe next time.

As I wandered in my neighborhood, appreciating the blooms of the Judas trees and how the temperature of the gusting breeze is just perfect today, I found myself thinking about weddings. Full disclosure: I was listening to an audible book in which the narrator is anticipating her own upcoming wedding. It’s early in the book, but all signs point to the soon-to-be-articulated fact, no doubt, that the narrator’s fiancé is not the love of her life. My mind began to wander and I thought of unlikely pairings, traditional weddings, non-traditional wedding attire, until suddenly I found myself thinking of a great aunt whom I never met (or maybe I did once when I was a child) and her husband. I’ve always thought of their marriage as a storybook romance, but I have nothing to base that on, other than it was such an unexpected and unlikely coupling, given their backgrounds.

I won’t share their real names — let’s call them Amy and Winston. The people who are left who did know them and have memories of them might object to me publicly speculating about the state of things between Amy and Winston, and that matters to me. All families have secrets, and my maternal, paternal, step, marital, and other volunteer families are no different. It’s disquieting to have a writer in the family; I try not to tell other people’s secrets, except for the ones that also belong to me, either because I lived them or because they were shared with me in a way that gives me that permission. Over the course of my life, I’ve been jarred by the revelation of a few secrets that had been kept from me (not just me, but others too), not because I attached scandal to the secrets (though some prigs might categorize one or two of them thus) or judge the holders of such secrets harshly, but because their discovery changed long-held pictures I had had of how things were. It changed the context of conversations I had had. It changed my understanding of things I was told as a child. One revelation in particular made greater my admiration for someone I had admired very much already, and I would’ve liked to have told her so before she left this world. So, my knowledge of Amy and Winston isn’t so much factual, and even if I ever thought it might be, I am so much less sure of what I “know” now. It is inspired by stories I heard, and also by things that were not said in the telling and retelling of those stories. A sense of who they were as a couple was conveyed to me, whether by those who knew them or by my own imagination, I can’t now say.

I will attempt on my next writing to weave a brief tale of the Amy and Winston of my imagination. First, though, I should probably manage expectations. My definition of “romantic” may not be what you think of when you think of romance. There won’t be flowers and candles and wine and soft music. There will be bravery, strength, discovery, and a stout love that results in the pair finding themselves in places they never imagined, doing things they never imagined they would be doing.

Should any of my family stumble across the story, they’ll recognize the real Amy and Winston as the inspiration. I wonder if they’ll recognize anything of the real people whom they knew, and who have long stirred my imagination and curiosity.

Stay safe. Stay home. Thanks for reading.

Why? Why else.

Welcome to the first Monday of DST Disrupted Sleepy Time. I hate Daylight Savings Time like I hate the Designated Hitter. SO. MUCH. They’re both unnatural and neither accomplishes the purpose for which they were respectively designed. Unless you can show me a designated hitter with a 1.000 batting average, and a pitcher whose batting average is .000, the DH rule does not “fix” the problem it was designed to fix. No. You may not argue this point with me. Besides this post is about DST, the scourge of modern life. One of them, anyway.

The first Monday after we, like a bunch of lumpy-headed lemmings, turn our clocks ahead one hour is widely known as “Sleepy Monday.” In my house we experience the less widely known “Psychotic Sunday” the day before “Sleepy Monday,” and, boy, is it a hoot. Most of the day is spent by me giving voice to how badly DST is going to mess up my life for the foreseeable future, and overusing phrases like, “It’s science, bitches.”

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The Ultimate Illusion

What do you think the ultimate illusion is? I recently referred to control as the ultimate illusion. In the days since, I’ve changed my mind. Control isn’t so much the ultimate illusion as it is a kind of paradox. There are things over which we have some control, but I doubt we really can ever know the extent of that control. There are other things over which we only appear to have control. Finally, there are things over which we definitely do not have control. The events and encounters that fill our daily lives all fall into one of these three categories, but I submit those categorizations change all the time — whether daily, hourly, or by the second.

I’m always fascinated by hearing or reading artists, writers, and other creatives discuss their process. Everyone wants to know, “What is your process?” I’m amazed and a little curious when the process described is assumed by the audience to be always the same. I’m even more curious when the process described is presented by the artist as being always the same. Same time of day, same amount of time a day, same desk, same chair, same window. I’m amazed because that isn’t how process happens for me. To my way of thinking that isn’t process, so much as it is routine.

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The Work of Being Dormant

Before January, I had been absent from my own work for a little over a year. I bowed out of my poetry group for most of 2019. I rarely went into my office. I wrote very little. Why? Because I didn’t feel like it. Why not? Many, many, many reasons. Distractions of every variety, good and bad. I could write for days on the distractions; maybe I will at some point.

As it says in 2 Corinthians 9:7 (that’s second Corinthians, not “two Corinthians” as anyone who has spent any amount of time in church very well knows, but we’re all supposed to turn a blind eye to THAT too — welcome to my lengthy parenthetical wherein I allude to the biggest and ugliest distraction of them all), God loves a cheerful giver. The blank page is like God that way. It doesn’t require a cheerful giver, thank heavens, so much as a willing one. I wasn’t willing for a long time. We’re talking about good old-fashioned honest to goodness “writer’s block.” It is my opinion that the phrase “writer’s block” is used too frequently and very often incorrectly, but I believe I’m using it correctly here. I can’t say I enjoyed it very much, but I can say I learned a great deal. And I did a great deal of work without even knowing it.

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“Habits change into character.” – Ovid

Beginning a couple of years ago, I have tried to start every day the same way. On waking, before I even sit up, I set an intention for myself (be calm, be kind, be productive, be present, be funny, etc.). Then I either meditate on that intention or I pray. The prayer is always the same. I ask for help in meeting my daily intention. I ask for healing for a list of people whom I know are dealing with illness. I ask for continued blessings and protection of all my families. I ask for comfort and blessings on all those whom I know are grieving some loss or another.

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Hindsight is 2020, Right?

Happy New Year, y’all. Yes, I’m still here. But I’ve been elsewhere and otherwise occupied for a longer while than I intended. I’ve been on a kind of sabbatical, I guess. We’ll call it “a sabbatical” because that sounds official, although I don’t know that I garnered much rest, and the only new skill I might have acquired for purposes of writing was fostering a deeper, more seething method of creative fermentation. Well, one hopes it will prove to be creative. Too much seething can make for a bitter brew. Time will tell. Check back in a couple of weeks and we’ll see if I am creating or sitting on the couch ruining the touchscreen TV remote with Dorito dust-stained fingers. But I digress. Naturally. Those of you who know me personally know how I like to remark that my life is just one long interruption of itself. But before I go too far astray … Continue reading “Hindsight is 2020, Right?”

Doing Something, Even If It Is Wrong? Not This Time

My grandmother used to say, “Well, I’m gonna do somethin’ even if it IS wrong.” That’s a philosophy I’ve tried to live sometimes. I think it’s a good motivator if you’re letting fear hold you back. It’s a way to verbally shrug off fear. But doing something wrong because fear actually is pushing you into it? No. Continue reading “Doing Something, Even If It Is Wrong? Not This Time”