Life is event-y. Paulie’s in Alexandria. Miss Sasha called yesterday:
S: Hi, Mommy!
S: Do you love pumpkin pie?
Me: I do.
S: Okay, bye!
I happened to be staring at a piece of pumpkin pie on a plate in front of me during this puzzling conversation. And who really knows why she called? Not I. This is pretty amusing.
On Monday, a difficult moment. An email advertised a poetry reading by Cheryl Clarke, Alicia Ostriker and Adrienne Rich in Voorhees Chapel. In April 1997, I read with them there, right before my depression caused everything to go gray, and four or five years to pass before I started to get my personality back. I haven’t written anything decent since then, and about it, I say that I died. This show was the last time anyone saw me alive. When I read the email on Monday, it was like reading my own obituary. Everyone agrees that I’m gone.
This is strange because my friends assure me I’ve been alive all along.
I’m not so sure. For instance, I wonder if I’ve overdrawn my checking account, and I believe few dead folks overspend or worry about it.
PlayGirl TV’s new commercial asks, “What’s your fantasy?” My fantasy is that my clothes fit, my bills are paid, my bathroom’s spotless and and the cat’s stuffed with delicious catfood. My brain just doesn’t don fishnets and meow on cue anymore. I’d say this was maturity but I still drive around praying to the Traffic Light Gods, “Oh please, don’t let me be the idiot trapped in this intersection when the light changes…”
I’ve been a bad blogger and avoided writing anything. I’m thinking in pictures. I wish I were a painter or had any gift with a camera. This is one of those weird thoughts I can’t seem to do anything with: I feel as if I’ve written every worthwhile thing I could in this time when words have never been cheaper.
Two friends have political blogs. Both are highly readable, well-reasoned blogs, and it’s delightful to see friends find their voices. The finding of one’s power is a joyful thing, the nurturing of it and its exercise are wonderful to behold. It’s been a long time since I felt like I possessed my own. I miss that very much.
On the other hand, I’ve gotten a lot better at living an ordinary life. I have often done that without much skill. Yesterday, Mamie and I went shopping because I’m sick of myself, my clothes, my missing Me-ness; you name it, I’m sick of it. So we went to Target. We picked up pants that come close to fitting but don’t actually fit; sweaters that will keep me warm in my over-air conditioned office but couldn’t possibly flatter my figure; and some long sleeved t-shirts I probably shouldn’t be caught dead in. Essentially, the clothes are inoffensive. The two prize purchases, however, are a long-wearing lipstick that really stays on my lips and a Crockpot. No lie. I have reached a stage of life in which the purchase of a shiny silver Crockpot gives me joy. There’s beef stew bubbling on the counter.
My feeling is I have to get back into the body. It’s worked before, when my brain stopped doing the wonderful fizzy thinking thing. We are researching yoga retreats. Maybe there’s a future for my life as an artist, but to get to it, I have to work the physique.
In movies, one sees scenes that we are conditioned to know represent time passing, and the skipping-over of time-consuming ordinary life. Unfortunately for you, you’re here with me, and someone’s put an anchor out on *this* day.
Just so you know, I accidentally accomplished a lot at work today, and most of it will wreck my co-workers’ next week. Isn’t that fun? Sure. I should put my feet up and read Miss Manners.
Paulie’s been home all week, and sick with a virus. I’ve microwaved enough chicken soup to feed all of Brighton Beach, and folded almost enough laundry to cure me of my clean clothing obsession. Almost.
Haven’t heard from Johnny in about two weeks. That’s too long. He could be floating face down in the Charles River, for all I know.