Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Nothing Special Happening

You wait for a bit of news with most of your body tied to a plank of splintering anxiety, rigid with most of the pain concentrated in your neck and lower back. Your brain is a pile of cold, wet spaghetti. You spend the days preceding the arrival of the news in an odd semblance of routine, rinsing and repeating and polishing up the bits of every day appearances that fall here and there. But all the while there is a light and misty fog that settles over every interaction and action and everything seems distant and undefined. And you'll get intermittent spells of panic that come on like a thunderstorm in August, your thoughts kicking up the debris that you spent most of your energy trying to hide in corners and whipping it all into a frenzy of what if life changes and it is always going to be just like this all the time... never knowing, never resting, always worried, always afraid, always anticipating. 

Then you finally, finally get to the day of the news and you raise your eyes while you still hold your breath and you can see the unbelievable clarity of blue sky beyond the ceiling of the fluorescent lights in the doctor's office, the clouds parting in majesty, the whole world hearing what she just said, what you just heard. Because the news is good. The news is so fucking good you want to put it on a plate and eat all of it with your hands and lick it from your fingertips. You want to hit the rewind button and replay it over and over again.

That's the best (and most convoluted/mixed metaphor) way to explain what it's like to hear that your loved one no longer has cancer. And that happened today. And I'm sitting in my living room on a Tuesday night with nothing special happening and I've never been more grateful for that nothing special. I want to bottle this nothing and keep it close by on a shelf, on display. I need to remember that I own this memory of nothing special happening and it being the most wonderful, awe inspiring feeling possible.

I'm currently in search of a way to pay the blessings forward and I'm taking suggestions. Is there something I can help you with, friend?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

It's Been a Minute

...or a year. Yes I realize I haven't been on here in over a year. There are a variety of reasons why, none of which seem particularly necessary to explain just now even as I sit here at my desk, thinking of something to say. I reread my previous post, dated June of 2017, wherein I said, yet again, that it had been a minute. And then it was a year's worth of minutes (525,600 plus six weeks worth of minutes) and my life got even busier than it normally gets and if you and I know each other in real life, is really quite impressive.

The truth is, I don't have time to update this blog. I don't have enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do but sometime last spring I was feeling blue and I realized that I was quickly falling into my own private Idaho trap of working too much and not writing enough. And I missed jotting down whatever was going on and talking to you about it. I missed my own random recapping of things because as stupid as it is, it makes me laugh and good god I am usually flailing around in search of things to make me laugh.

And if I've learned anything from being in my forties, it is this: you have to make room for the things you love doing because if you don't, then your life will become a series of Things You Have to Do combined with Things That Are Done to You and almost nothing else. If you aren't one of the Chosen creatives who get to do what they love for a living, you have to shove the things you love to do in between all the other stuff, like its the empty middle seat on a rush hour subway.

Otherwise, you'll find yourself wandering the West Village one afternoon on your lunch break and you'll pass by that corner on 6th Ave and 8th st. where you got your first job in a bookstore in Manhattan at age 23. And that building will be an emptied out husk of what it was all those decades ago and you'll have a sharp memory of yourself, then, sitting in the basement of that building on another break, imagining what life would be like when you were older and more established. How you'd trade in your long commute up to your shared apartment in Washington Heights for two leisurely hours in the morning before your steady job with decent hours and how you'd write for one and read for the other and make time to explore your magical city. And the you of today will stand there, across from that building and sigh from the deepest part of your belly and head back to work, resolved to get some time, even if you had to press the mute button on the rest of world for just a moment in order to get it.

You don't want that to happen do you?

So that's what I'm currently doing. I'm eating watermelon on this as-hot-as-the-inside-of-a-person's-mouth August day and I'm writing about writing (or not writing) as a challenge to myself, training wheels for spending the rest of my middle age building my adulthood from the ground up, shifting things around and making room for the things that I enjoy doing.

 I might need pliers.