I’ve sat down to write at least half a dozen times this week, and I’ve started about a half dozen posts (well, the same post, a half dozen times.) When I said last week that writing again was like a (re)birth, I didn’t realize how right I was, in so many other ways. It’s not like you just pop out a baby and everything unfolds easily and organically thereafter. Tending to babies – real babies, word babies, any kind of babies – is hard. It requires attention and focus and involves a lot of sleeplessness. There’s a long, drawn-out analogy between the sleeplessness that comes with tending to word babies and the sleeplessness that comes with tending to real babies (you lay awake waiting for them to cry out for you! you go to them in the wee hours, because if that’s when they need your care, that’s when they need it!) that I came up with at about 2am yesterday, but I’ll spare you.
In any case, I’ve wanted to write about why I spent three-quarters of a year not writing, but the right words just aren’t coming. I’ve also wanted to write about other things, but there’s this part of my psyche that’s stuck on explaining (I think to myself, more than to an audience) why I wasn’t writing before I actually do more writing, which, you’ll recognize, is a trap. So I made a promise to myself that if I couldn’t write about not writing by the end of the week, I’d write anyway, in the easiest possible way, which is to say: I’d make another list. Easiest list to do? Same list that I did last week, which comes with added bonus of compelling me to reflect upon happiness and joy and all the reasons why life is good, even if it doesn’t always feel that way, exactly.
So. This week in joy, or, at least, in mild to moderate gratitude that things don’t entirely suck:
1) New books. Who needs meditation when there are book stores?
(Yes, I know that I don’t really need to read Jaron Lanier’s book to know who owns the future. Cats do, obviously. But it was recommended to me, so.)
2) Reading books that are totally unlikely material for children, to children. Emilia and I are reading Aron Ralston’s Between A Rock And A Hard Place together (it’s the book upon which the movie 127 Hours is based. You know, the one about the guy who got his hand caught under a boulder and cut off his arm to escape? That one.) I’d mentioned the story to her as a cautionary tale, while we were boulder scrambling in Joshua Tree, and she demanded to know more. And seeing as neither she nor I have the intestinal fortitude for the movie (well, she probably does, but she’s eight), we decided to read the book. She now knows more about tourniquets than any eight year old probably should, but still. It’s a good story. And if I ever need someone to amputate my arm, she’ll be able to help.
3) NPR’s April Fools prank. I hate April Fools pranks, but I love NPR for doing this one.
4) 18 Days of Grandma. This is what Emilia is calling the impending visit from my mom, who arrives this weekend. It goes without saying that there’s a list associated with 18 Days of Grandma, outlining all of the things that we will do during the 18 Days of Grandma. I will publish that list. After I publish this list.
5) Plotting with friends. It wouldn’t be plotting if I shared it, which, in any case, I can’t and I won’t. I will say, though, that I am blessed to know some amazing people who are full of ideas and full of the spirit to act on those ideas.
6) The desert. I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s too hot to go to the desert. I will miss it like I miss a friend. It’s where we’ve found ourselves. Figuratively, and literally: Jasper likes to disappear up hills and behind rocks and he can get very pissed when you follow him too closely, because, as he says, he likes “TO GET LOST MOMMY SO DON’T ALWAYS FOLLOW ME.” So, yes: the desert is the place of our lostness and our foundness, and all of the awesome of both those conditions.
It’s also where one of us might lose an arm one day, but, hey, at least we’ll be prepared.