three things: 12/22/16

1)  I wish I had more time to read. That would really mean there would just have to be more hours in the day, because I already read nearly every waking hour. But one of my most readily touched sources of frustration is just not having enough time to read. The new issue of the New York Review of Books taunts me, every single article headlined on the cover one I feel urgent about reading. Anne Carson’s wondrous book project about the loss of her brother, Nox, singing to me in the late hours as I continue to struggle with my grief about my son. I know I would find understanding there. Drawing books, volumes of poetry, novels that were given to me by friends, books I’ve bought, and then all those I really want to read again. For some reason The Tin Drum has been whispering in my mind’s ear, read me again. The little girl I was still lives in me, the one who identified with Jo March, sitting in her attic window with a book and a bowl of apples, whiling away a winter day. How I would love to do that.

my coffee table — and then piles everywhere else, too, by the bed, on the nightstand, next to the chair, in the yoga room….

We who need to read are probably mysterious to those who don’t. I’ve heard what they sometimes say about us — get your nose out of that book. I prefer to actually live my life. Jerks, those who say those kinds of things. I’m not quite sure why I have such a never-quenched need to read, but I do.

2) If I think abstractly about what I think equals a “good life,” I’d say that [for me] it would require people to love, and be loved by — family (born into or made) and friends. It would require a home of some kind, whatever that might mean. Easy pleasures, like making good food. Reading (see above) wonderful books, stories, poetry, sense-making of all kinds. Music, and art. I’d say it would involve exposure to the world in whatever way that would be possible, traveling if that’s available. I’d say a good life would require history with people, so sticking it out over the long haul. I’d say a good life would require openness to the world, and a willingness to be present to whatever it presents. I have a good life. What would you add to my list?

3) A poem for the just-passed winter solstice, and for you:

The Shortest Day, by Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

Anselm Kiefer, Gescheiterte Hoffnung (C.D. Friedrich), 2010, Charcoal on photographic paper. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York. Text on the work is translated as follows: “Wreck of Hope.”

I could use your thoughts, please

lidiaSo I was listening to this beautiful short series of free writing lectures by Lidia Yuknavitch, author of the gutting memoir Chronology of WaterHer writing is not like anyone else’s. I hadn’t read any of her books, only short stories here and there, but I had Chronology of Water on my Kindle and after seeing these lecture clips, I decided to read it finally.

W.O.W. I can only read the book in snips and sips, it’s pretty raw and powerful, and quite hard. She does a thing I’d give anything to do, in my own voice. I recommend the book, or anything else she has written.

In one of the lectures she talks about the central importance of our metaphors, and in finding the story underneath the story, and the one underneath that. She said that if you just tell the story you’ve always told, it will be dead, and she provided a really great exercise that I’m dying to try. But in her conversation about metaphor, she said she’d shared an early draft of Chronology of Water with a trusted reader and she asked for deep feedback. Among the feedback, the reader mentioned that Lidia’s central metaphor was water, which she simply had not realized . . . even though a huge part of the story is her early life as an athlete, a competitive swimmer, and her return to swimming, and her feelings of drowning, and on and on and on. Realizing her central metaphor was a crystallizing and powerful thing, not just for her book but for her understanding of herself, and her life.

She said everyone operates with a few metaphors, and she named a couple of others that echo through her stories and her life. I thought it was fascinating that she couldn’t see her own most central metaphor, but at the same time I totally get it. Fish don’t see the water!

I do have a sense of one big metaphor in my life (by which I mean a metaphor that I see in my recurring experiences — it’s my storytelling, not something that exists in a reified way in my life), but I wondered about others. And since sometimes other people can see you more clearly than you see yourself, I thought I’d ask. If you’ve been around the palace for a while, what would you say are my metaphors? I’ll welcome any thoughts you may have.

And if you’re interested in Lidia (an interest that will be so rewarding, you’ll see), here’s her TED talk about being a misfit:

Lidia Yuknavitch: The beauty of being a misfit

To those who feel like they don't belong: there is beauty in being a misfit. Author Lidia Yuknavitch shares her own wayward journey in an intimate recollection of patchwork stories about loss, shame and the slow process of self-acceptance. "Even at the moment of your failure, you are beautiful," she says.

Thanks, y’all.

3. Love the Questions

rilke

This is topic #3 in my year-long project, drawn from this post on Brain Pickings. Topic #1 focused on cultivating honorable (honest) relationships, #2 was about resisting absentminded busyness (experience what is actually happening), and this one is about loving the questions, taking a close read of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. If you aren’t already familiar with Rilke’s poetry, here’s a great starting place.

To begin, here’s the summary on the Brain Pickings post:

“In one of the most potent letters, he writes:

I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.


If you aren’t familiar with this short book, Franz Xaver Kappus, a 19-year-old officer cadet at the Theresian Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt, wrote Rilke these 10 letters between 1902 and 1908 seeking his advice as to the quality of his poetry, and his help in deciding between a literary career or a career as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army. Kappus compiled and published the letters in 1929, three years after Rilke’s death from leukemia. The first letter just asked Rilke’s opinion of the quality of his poetry, but a correspondence developed and Rilke took on the role of lecturing elder, kind of, telling Kappus how to live his life. The specific letter referenced in the Brain Pickings post was written on July 16, 1903. (Here is the pdf file of the whole short book I found online, if you want it; this letter begins on p13.)

Actually, for the first time I would have to agree with her summary, if only because it’s a short letter and this is its primary point. It’s a point Rilke makes again and again in other letters, though, in slightly different ways. He writes at length about the importance of patience, not just for the purpose of writing poetry but in a bigger way, to discover your own depths and learn what you think and desire, who you are. With this kind of patience, he believes you should not race to find concrete answers, and in fact you should not even have concrete answers as a goal in any way. It’s the openness of the question itself that matters; it’s the realization that the question itself is the point, not its answer; it’s the understanding that one must live those questions to find their answers. It’s not just a cerebral exercise.

What does this mean, really? I like the sound of it and agree in the abstract, but to do something with it I need to bring it into my own real life and not just let it hang in a handwaving kind of way. So I start with a basic question:

  • Who am I? AH, OK, I get it. In my life I have raced toward concrete answers again and again. This is who I am. No, this. Wait, yeah, that was right. Well, kind of. OK, this is who I am. I am this and definitely not that. Well, sometimes I am. Actually, I’ve been very wrong about myself all along! (That list of statements characterizes at least a quarter of my blog posts over the years.) Assuming there exists a concrete answer or set of answers relies on an assumption that ‘who I am’ is unchanging and entirely knowable, and consistent across time and space. Of course none of that is wholly true! I’d like to say that there are essential aspects of myself that are unchanging and entirely knowable and consistent across time and space, but as I sit and think about that, I can’t find a single one. So to give up on the answer and to love and live the question is to embrace a spirit of self-compassion and curiosity, I think. If I love the question ‘who am i?’ — and note that he says love the question, not ask the question — then I remain open to whatever answer emerges and grow into an ease with it, live with it. And then, I suppose, there lives his possibility of “gradually, without even noticing it, [living my] way into the answer.” One thing I love about this is that there’s a grace to it.
  • What do I want to do? Loving the question means I allow myself the time and exploration to find my way to something that will be meaningful, and kind of necessarily so because I’m open along the way and don’t stop with a concrete answer that is meaningless. Right? Is that right? I think so.

Thinking about specific questions I ask myself again and again gives me a way into Rilke’s advice, and I see a way this approach goes with the Kierkegaard (#2, Resist absentminded busyness/Experience what is actually happening). Both involve a recognition of and openness to the complexity of things, the complexity of the world, the complexity of experience, the complexity of self. And not just an openness to it, but an embracing of it. Rilke adds the necessity of patience, and for me anyway, that’s a critical piece. Love the questions, yes, and be patient with that love. And that reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

In my literal-minded way, I’d only thought about those sentences in terms of interpersonal love — wife and husband, parents with children — but it goes so beautifully with Rilke’s thoughts in the way that most of the old philosophies of life say essentially the same things.

Live the questions. Love the questions. Eventually you might live your way into the answers. It’s such a different approach than my life-long approach, and I think it’s also different from the typical fast-driving, answer-demanding Western view.

So to date, I guess I’d reword the three ‘resolutions’ I’ve been thinking about like this:

  1. Cultivate honest relationships
  2. Experience what is actually happening
  3. Be patient, and live and love the questions

And now I’m off to topic #4, pay attention to the world, which relies on an essay from Susan Sontag’s anthology At the Same TimeI expect dense reading, unlike the Rilke, but luckily I’m OK with that.

xo

a post, in two parts

PART I

The tide has turned. The worm has turned. It’s a beautiful morning. The world has turned. Morning has broken. And many other sayings like that.

Light is coming back. Light and air are coming back to me. Yesterday I actually laughed spontaneously, and I haven’t had “those” thoughts for three straight days, now. If bad language offends you, turn away (but then you probably aren’t one who reads my damn blog 🙂 ) — I think it’s fucking ending. Halle-fuckin-lujah. And thus ends the F word, in this post, anyway.

For you professional depression-havers out there, you know how it sidles up alongside you, a dark day turns into a week but you know, people have down weeks. A week slips into two, then three, and then you’re in it and don’t even remember that it ever was anything but this. I wish it announced itself in some way, that would make it all so much easier.

I told people slowly, very slowly, too slowly. One here, another there. This one. A hint of it to that one so as not to freak out that person. A secret group, and then another secret group, and then the last one, and then that last blog post and a public-ish post on open Facebook. Damn depression, the way it makes you unable to think and see! There was pretty much a linear correlation (thus ends the statistical stuff) between help I got and people I told. And a big duh right there. If I weren’t depressed I’d have caught it on the second person. So the next time this comes around, as I sadly imagine it will even as I hope it doesn’t, I hope I can remember this, and simply tell all my support people, my friends, those who love me, those I love, and accept the help they so generously give. Just do that. Tell, and as soon as you can. And as many people who love you as you can. You’ll know the ones who’ll get cold, or freak out, so don’t tell them but tell all the others, the ones who will rush toward you in even the slightest of ways.

This morning I was telling a group of friends about what this giant all-out launching of love has done for me, and a sweet little bit of writing slipped out of my fingertips so I’ll plagiarize myself: “this kind of love bombing I’ve been receiving ever since I went ‘public’ with it has been like a booster rocket, sending me above the ocean’s surface where I can take deep gulps of good air. And even if I go down again, I don’t go nearly as far.”  [pretty good imagery if I do say so myself. thank you, subconscious.]

Of course every time is different, and it’s different for every person (different each person x different each time = I can’t do the math but that’s a lot of instances), but I learned something this time that I want to try for others, and I hope to ask for, for myself. When you are way down in the hole, people who love you remind you how much they love you, and of course they do, and you know it even if you can’t feel it while you’re down there. But the nasty little sentences I was resisting were these: No one would miss you. It wouldn’t matter if you just died.

People not only showed up, they gently took me out for a drink, for dinner, they held my hand and looked into my eyes and told me what I meant to them, they told me they understood because they suffer depression, they sent me little notes, or they bought me music, or they wrote me letters, or they sent me gifts. They listened to me with great heart and compassion, and I could see it in their glowing eyes. They pinged me every single morning asking how I was, darling, and sometimes again at night. If I said it was really really bad, I got good practical advice — go outside and take a very fast walk, go do it now. And text me when you’re back.

And sometimes they wrote out what it would mean to them if I weren’t here. And there it was, the very real argument against those miserable thoughts. Liar! She would be devastated, and in these particular ways! Liar! Her world would change in these particular ways! Liar! Liar! Liar! Not only were those like silver bullets against the thoughts, they were also overwhelmingly wonderful to read — not that people would suffer, but that my presence in their life means all those things.

And so I will carry this with me out of the darkness, and not just wait until someone is depressed to tell them what they mean in my life, how important they are in the very fiber of my life, but tell them all. (I mean, not all the time, for heaven’s sake. 🙂 )  You might file this away for the next time someone you love is severely depressed. It may or may not help them, but there is no way it can hurt. And maybe it will just make them feel too guilty to leave. Whatever works, man. Whatever works.

Part II

Just the right person came into my life at just the right time. I didn’t recognize it at the beginning, because I was too far gone in grief and loss, and she went out of the country for six months. I kind of feel like I’ve been waiting all my life for her, but don’t tell her that, she’ll get embarrassed.

I’ll only be able to explain her importance when I write the dedication and acknowledgements for my memoir, but thanks to her, it’s an entirely different book now, and it’s amazing and flowing. Yesterday I wrote for five hours straight, non-stop, two chapters, 7326 words. I could have written chapter 3 and chapter 4, probably, if I didn’t have to stop and clean the kitchen and brush my teeth and go to bed. (And take my mighty-strong extra antidepressant, which is also part of the equation in addition to all that love bombing.)

And so my silence here is probably going to be prolonged, but for a very different reason. I actually have two books to finish, one the publisher is waiting for, and I’m ~75% through, and the one I’m writing now, like a river flowing out of me, and I want to spend all my non-working time on these two writing projects. My friend turned the dial so it’s oriented at a different angle, said a magic sentence, and flipped the switch. How can I ever thank her enough.

So many people have helped me, I’d need an index-length acknowledgement to include them all, and I hope you know who you are if you read this. For everyone who said a little something, sent a little smile, told me to write, gave me your attention, your love, allowed me to give those to you, I am forever in your debt.

do what you have to do

At one of the first poetry groups held at my house, a wonderful guy named Seth brought a poem I no longer have or remember. It was one of those “embrace your life” kind of poems, but not at all corny or trite. The conversation drifted heavily into meaning, life, spending it as you really want, etc etc etc., and Seth — who is decades younger than the rest of us — said the greatest thing: “Yeah, but isn’t that really stressful, having to live! your! best! life! all the time? Doesn’t that stress you out?”

seize it! seize it!!!
seize it! seize it!!! seize that thing!

I busted out laughing. I imagine everyone else did too, it was such a surprising thing to say. Because yeah, if it turned out that today is the last day of my life, you know how I am spending it? I am copy editing a truly bad manuscript. Truly bad. Wake up and start working, work work work work work go to sleep. I’ll probably pause and squeeze in food at some point. Is that how I would want to spend my last day? Is this my best! life!? Obviously not. If today were the last day of my life, I would want to be surrounded by my children and grandchild, by family members I’ve adopted — Dixie and Karl, Sherlock and Peggy — and I’d want us sing, and say our urgent things, and cry, and then someone crack a joke for heaven’s sake, and I’d love to see a gorgeous slow sunset and the rise of a big white moon. THAT is how I’d like to spend my last day.

To follow that stressful exhortation, I would make things! Sing! Write! Travel like mad! Spend time with everyone I love, and that would take a long time to make one pass through. I’d walk and hike and be outside. I would recite poetry out loud. And then I’d travel some more. And then time with loved ones. Repeat. Do some dance party running for the sheer joy of it. Dance! Take a road trip.

Sadly, I wasn’t one of the people who was born into outrageous independent wealth, and so I must work to pay my bills. The rent is due, electricity, gas, insurance, student loan, cable. I haven’t yet figured out how to cash in on just being myself, and so I work. Like most of us do, if we are lucky enough to have work.

But you know, it can still mean a whole lot, even if you spend so much time doing mundane things. It’s about seeking the sacred, and enlarging the boundaries of what that means. Sacred is one of those words that you think you understand until you start pinning it down. It’s outside valence, not the sole property of the Good and Happy. Horrible things can take you to the sacred. When everything terrible happened at the end of 2012, most especially when we lost Gracie, I was immersed in the sacred. Trivial everyday things did not matter one bit. I looked around and saw ash. Being in the presence of that enormous moment, as horrible as it was, immersed me in the sacred.

I can fall into the sacred in savasana once in a while. Not as often as I’d like, but it has happened twice. I slip into the sacred when the sky is especially beautiful, and I am always looking at the sky. When the trees are spring green and bursting, or when they’re the color of fire and preparing for the winter — I can go there. When I have a moment where my mind stops chattering and I feel true awe, wordless awe and wonder, and I cannot speak. When tears run down my face.

Some days it’s so bland and flat and gray, and I don’t do anything but read for work. A photo that represented my day would have to be either of my laptop or my chair. On those days I have to look very hard, and of course it doesn’t always work. But sometimes it does. Where is the sacred for me today? If I need it, I can find it. If I need it, I can get still and quiet, and look. Sometimes I need it because my life feels dull and routine. Sometimes I need it because my heart aches. Sometimes I need it because it’s just been too long.

prayerOf course I can go seek it — driving in a beautiful place with a great sky and huge scale (easy in Texas and in New York in a very different way). Going to a museum, or a live music performance. Dancing and laughing with friends. Holding Oliver and talking to Katie, or Marnie. But sometimes it’s just another one of those days and I can’t go do those things, so I seek it in making my dinner. I seek it in my morning ritual. I seek it in quiet and in my heart. Pretty reliably, if I stand up and stretch myself up with lightness, then circle my arms out and up, touch my palms, then pull them down to my heart and lower my head, something happens and I am living one of my best moments — because the trivial things of the day recede, the noise gets quiet, and time slows way down. When I open my eyes a few minutes later, there are often tears on my eyelashes and I feel washed and revived.

I hope you find a moment like that in your day today, some moment of awe and quiet, and slow deep breath, however you might find it. I will without a doubt seek that at some point in my otherwise trivial and dull day. Happy Friday, everyone. Love to you all.

brick walls

I’ve so been looking forward to getting home and reestablishing my daily routine, you know? My morning ritual before I get out of bed. A 15- or 20-minute yoga wake-up session. Coffee and my green smoothie. Work. A pause at 4 for an hour of yoga. Work. A pause around 6:30 to make a wonderful dinner. More work, maybe, or something with a friend. Meditation before bed. Regular hours, my lovely Austin routine.

ANYWAY. I arrived home on Tuesday and expected nothing from myself that exhausted day, especially since I’d had one hour of sleep and still felt like I was in Cambodia. So unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping, going through the mail, tidying up, Christmas tree up and decorated, an easy but wonderful dinner, an early sleep. And that basically happened….but then I got this awful cold. So my much-anticipated longing to return to my nourishing, happy routine has been quashed. I mope and moan all day, unable to muster the oomph to do anything at all. I fall asleep with no control over that at 4:30 and am awake at 2, unable to go back to sleep. Yesterday I thought that since I was awake, I should get going and use that time, so I took a hot steamy shower to loosen up my head, got dressed and put on a bit of make-up, made some coffee, and lost whatever bit of energy I had that took me that far. (Plus, my phone broke and I had to get a new one, and setting it up always uses up much more time than you’d anticipated….)

yeah, it probably won't be like this after all
yeah, it probably won’t be like this after all

None of this would be stressful at all if I weren’t giving a Christmas party here at my place on Tuesday.  There are supposed to be more than 20 people here, but we’ll see. It’s primarily a party for my poetry group and quite often people RSVP but then don’t show. My beautiful book club women — some of them — and my friend Nancy are also going to come. I’m doing a lot of cooking for the party, and I need to clean my house, and I have a manuscript to finish, and a terrible cold and crashing jetlag. I’m now at the point of reminding myself that it’s a party, with friends, and I don’t suffer the horrors of the big social scene so if my house isn’t spotless and some of the food is store-bought, who cares. It might not be as I’d hoped, but if I get fixated on making sure all the details are as I’d hoped, I’ll be sicker and worn down by the time my friends arrive, and I’ll have missed the whole point.

He's telling Santa something.
He’s telling Santa *something.*

THE POINT: It’s Oliver’s first Christmas. I miss all my friends — the poets, the bookies, the beauties who aren’t in either of those groups — and want a chance to smile with them and tell them Merry Christmas. The year is winding down. For the first time in many, many years I will spend Christmas morning around a tree surrounded with presents for a little child in our family, a much-loved and adored baby.

That’s the point. Not how shiny my floors are, not how spotless the stovetop is, not how homemade the food is. Time with people, being with them, being present, and feeling all there is in those moments.

(Maybe this is just the rationalization at work since I’m still not feeling well enough to be as productive as I’d need to be. But WHATEVER, right? 🙂 )

coffee spoons

When I was a young mother, staying at home with babies, one day I felt a kind of despair that my life was spent doing an endless series of tasks that were quickly undone. Making beds, washing dishes and doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, wiping bottoms, shopping for food, mopping floors, mowing the yard, taking out the trash. Things done only to be quickly undone. Was this to be my life? And then one sunny morning while I was making a bed I realized that in fact those tasks were just the details of a bigger thing: I was making a home for myself and people I love. I was creating a time and space. Everything shifted, though of course sometimes I still despaired at the dishes or bathrooms.

brokenAnd so here I am all these years later thinking about the rest of my life, the years ahead. Going to the writers’ conference — even just the one day I attended — has made me feel like giving up on writing a book. It’s the impossibility of it, and that’s something I already knew. I see some of my clients (the ones who are such gorgeous writers, as “good” as any best-selling writer you’d ever love) struggle, getting nowhere with agents and editors at publishing houses, self-publishing and having to fight a hard fight every single day to get anywhere, and I just think oh for fuck’s sake. Hitting the jackpot and selling your manuscript for a big advance is still a roll of the dice. A woman I met at the conference had this happen to her, and just as the book was ready to launch, the publishing house was bought by another publisher (happens all the time) and everyone on her team was laid off. So her book was the bastard at the family reunion, and it disappeared into oblivion. When the book didn’t sell many copies — because how could it — she was seen as a writer whose books don’t sell. And she is a gorgeous writer, someone whose books I would pre-order every time.

The narcissist who led my workshop had every possible advantage. Educational advantages, sure, and family/wealth advantages sure, but it was the publishing advantages that left all of us kind of numb. Her mother is one of the biggest agents in NYC; she apparently discovered Didion, among a list of others that would make your jaw drop. So her mother sold the book for her after a big battle, and even with that built-in advantage the book nearly failed again and again. A woman in my workshop asked, with a bit of a shaky voice, “And if even you, with every possible advantage, had that kind of trouble, what hope do any of us have?”

Indeed.

And so here I am. What do I do with the rest of my life? There are so many things I love doing and they all make me happy. Spending time with my family, making things, playing my instruments, writing (for myself and smaller pieces to try to publish), cooking and baking, spending time with friends, reading. There are so many things I want to focus on a little more pointedly, like yoga and meditation. There are so many things I want to learn. Mandarin, for instance. Bagpipes. To return to the beginning of this post, when I think about simply BEING, simply living my daily life and doing all these things, I can feel that feeling of despair, like I’m measuring out my life with coffee spoons. Will that be what’s left of my life? Just piddling with this and that? What is the bigger frame for these things?

well.......if it's your thing it is!  it just happens to be mine.
well…….if it’s your thing it is! it just happens to be mine.

Right now, in this moment, I live a literary life. I make my living by reading. My monthly poetry group meets in my house, and my monthly book club is a tremendous highlight. I’m organizing a small writing group. Must I write and try to publish my book to have mattered in this world? No, and obviously. How about a bit of that: must I write my book? Would it still mean something if I finish it and do nothing with it, if I just write it for myself and whoever wants to read it?

And so here I am again, thinking about meaning, and the next part of my life. There are three Joseph Campbell quotes I’ve always loved:

  • “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” (The Power of Myth)
  • “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
  • “Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.” (Creative Mythology)

I believe that being here right now is it, being present in the moment, savoring that. I believe that the meaning of life is to live it, and for me that means creating things and being with people I love. For me that means seeing as much of the world as I possibly can. Helping my children the rest of my life, being a good part of their lives. I believe that my life is a burst of light, flaring up into existence and then fading in the memories of people who loved me. I do believe these things, even as I also feel a bit of despair. What is the bigger project I am engaged in now? I know a bunch of you who read this blog are grappling with this too, and if you’ve figured out an answer, or a bit of one, or even what the question is, I would love to hear any of it.

[if you’re now in the mood for Prufrock, here is the poem. always so good…]