A friend who’s an avid reader and is about to pick up the pen again suggested that I write about finding time to work during summer while the kids are on vacation. Yeah, it’s a good topic. I’m just not sure I’m a model of balance and productivity. The goal is to keep my groove going of writing and research with both girls around and needing rides, meals and attention. The reality is that I sometimes have to fight for use of my computer. I don’t get to kick back on the couch with my feet up, laptop in place and have the magic happen because the TV is on. Previously long stretches of quiet are broken up by requests for sleep overs and food. (How is it that they are always hungry?)
I managed to ignore everyone long enough this weekend to start a new poem and edit a piece I’d half forgotten about but am really liking. This poetry session was interrupted by Izzy coming in to show me her new skirt and admire her adorable self in my black boots. I think she tried on every pair of shoes I own. We then moved on to her plans for volunteering at a local hospital and got her signed up for a CPR class. By midnight we were contemplating making pancakes, but ultimately succumbed to laziness and bed.
So this was all great. These are the moments you hope for as the parent of a teenager. These are moments you can’t plan. I’m convinced that being available for your teen means being open to this kind of spontaneity. And I love Izzy’s company. But I can’t help but wonder if the muse sees connecting with one’s child in such a radiant light. Did I lose a line? An image? My chance at eternal greatness and profundity?
Yeah. Probably not. But I have a kid who loves me and when she was little, I think she actually did believe my claims of genius. I was starting to write the words–maybe that’s enough. But it’s not. I need both of these things in my life. I just need the flexibility and persistence to swing my focus from black boots with a little skirt to the grand search for an abstract, yet concrete version of poetic Truth. Maybe I’ll go back to trapeze lessons to build up those muscles.
I don’t know that I’ve got a cohesive topic for today. I’ve been avoiding writing a new post for that very reason. Current thoughts. How about a list?
1. Death–My uncle died recently and I traveled back East for the funeral. The trip was like an experience in Zen time travel with past, present and future all jammed up together. Do we ever really put memories to rest? I thought I had, but there are triggers and things resurface.
2. School–There’s about a month left of school for the girls. Izzy will graduate from 8th grade and Amalia will leave elementary school and Ocean Charter. We’re leaving behind some great teachers. On the parent end of things, there’s a big, ugly mess going on. But I can’t write about that here. At least not yet. I know I’ll cry at Izzy’s graduation and it will be strange to walk off campus on June 11th knowing I’m no longer a parent at OCS, but it will also be a relief. It’s time to go.
3. Writing–No poetry lately. Inconsistent stabs at an essay. An idea for another and yet another. I need to finish something.
4. Work–Maybe I should look for a job? (Aside from taking care of the house and girls.) Hmmm. What would that job be? Short on marketable skills.
5. Spinoza & God & Anne Frank’s mother–Reading Spinoza for one of my essays. Deep, complicated, nature of existence stuff. Philosophers seem to break the basic rules of writing. Lots of abstract statements and very few concrete examples. Stay tuned for the essay on Edith Frank.
I think it’s time to get to work on that essay. I’m not very patient with the whole writing process. Poems are easier in the sense that I usually get a first draft down in one sitting and then go back for research and editing. But at the end of the day there’s something finished enough to print out. I tend to carry these new poems around with me in my back pocket and reread them at stoplights when I go to pick the girls up at school. It’s nice having something to hold in one’s hand. The essay process requires sustained focus and the discipline of not getting caught up in tangential research. Perhaps this current piece will prove to be my learning curve and the next essay won’t take so incredibly long. Then again…it will be summer and the girls will be off from school. Oh dear.
What does your list look like today?