I am beginning the lengthy revision process on my novel-in-progress … which I should re-title work-in-progress to avoid embarrassing acronyms. Anyway, this means that, in the interest of procrastination, I will likely be updating this thing more.
However, I am going through some stuff that does not lend itself well to the blahg-o-sphere, which means I might not update as much as I’d like to, because without authenticity it doesn’t make much sense to write.
That which does not kill us makes us and so on and so forth. I’m fine, but there are areas that could use vast improvement. I’ll get there.
This past weekend we celebrated my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. My goal (one of many) was to finish my draft before this event, and I did. It was a beautiful evening, full of love and laughter and warmth and wit and everything we could have hoped for. People traveled from about a dozen different states for this; there was music and poetry and food and wine and it was the best party I’ve ever attended. I am so grateful to everyone who came and who helped make it a wonderful tribute to these two people who are kinda important to me.
My parents met at a theater in 1964; my mother, then an actress, was doing a play and my father, who’d stage managed there the year before, came to visit. It was the Robinhood Theater in Arden, Delaware. The play was “Hotel Paradiso”. My family’s lore changes depending on the day and the teller of the stories, but I was once told (by my dad) that their mutual friend invited my dad to visit and told him about this beautiful Eurasian actress he wanted him to meet. In that day’s version of the story, my dad and his friend were chatting in the parking lot and my mom drove in; my dad was smitten, my mom barely noticed him. They met again at a party after the show and my dad asked her out. They married about 14 months later.
Love is an abstract, beautiful, challenging, terrifying thing. My mom has told me that the thing that has kept them together despite the odds—and all partnerships face odds—is humor.
Humor has always been a very important part of my life; even in my darkest moments I’ve embraced it, because I’ve had to.
In 2004 (spoiler alert: TMI) I went through a period of deep depression, of don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed/how-can-anyone-be-happy? depression. I worked with a doctor to find the right medicine to help me through this—and thank GOD we found it—but it took a little while. In one of our sessions the doctor told me about a new pill on the market that was supposed to be extremely effective but had one noteworthy side effect: extreme weight gain. Through my tears I said to him, “I want to be not depressed; I don’t want to be jolly.” and we laughed. And it was the first time I’d laughed in a while and it was the beginning of the end of that terrible phase.
Someday, maybe soon, depending on how this post is received, I really, really want to write more about that phase. Because it was a defining one for me, and as much as it absolutely fucking sucked while I was going through it, I am grateful for having experienced it and come out on top. Horrible things connect us more deeply to one another. Does that make sense? It does to me.
No idea if I’ll wind up posting this; I have an archive of drafts here that haven’t seen the light of publication because of the TMI factor. But I feel like my stuff, my battles with depression, my many missteps in love and life, serve a higher purpose. I’m not sure what that purpose is but I do know that if I can share my experiences and make even one person feel a modicum less alone and a modicum more understood, I’ll have done something of value.
Oh right—my parents. Here’s something cool. My mother and her family left Shanghai in 1940-something on the SS Gordon. The SS Gordon then became property of the US Army and in 1950-something, my dad travelled on the USS Gordon to Korea.
The same ship. How crazy is that?!
To paraphrase what someone famous once said, and as I quoted in my wedding toast to my dear friends J&Z: Love may not make the world go round, but it sure makes the ride worthwhile.