Crazy little thing called love

IMG_0433.JPG

Happy Valentine’s day, folks.

Alas, my week+ in the country is coming to a close, and tomorrow I’ll be back in the city. This is the longest I’ve ever spent up here, I think, and while I haven’t yet met my re-writing goal, I’ve made a lot of progress … and who knows, maybe I can power through the rest before we leave. Stranger things have happened, like the fact that I wrote the thing in the first place.

While I am an okay writer, I happen to be one of the greats where procrastination is concerned. I could teach a master class if I got around to it.  Being away from the distractions of home has been very helpful, but I still manage to find endless ways to avoid working on my book.

It’s not laziness. I used to think that it was, but it’s something else, or a combination of many things. In part it’s wondering why the hell I’m bothering with this thing in the first place. It’s second-guessing every word choice and phrase and reminding myself that I’m not supposed to be micro-editing at this point, and this turns into distraction. Into thinking that I’m a better editor than I am a writer and that maybe that’s what I should be doing, which leads to my looking on the interwebs for freelance editing jobs and then remembering the person I’d been in touch with last year about editing and trying to find his email and then looking back online for freelance rates to see if I’m underselling my services (I am—if you want good, cheap editing, give me a call) and then a banner ad reminds me that I need a microplane so I go onto Amazon to buy one and next thing I know, 33 Celebrities You Never Knew Were Psychic—# 17 Will Shock You! and This Baby Goat Wandered Into A Dunkin’ Donuts: What Happened Next Will Melt Your Heart! And then, speaking of Dunkin’ Donuts, where is old Jared these days? Has he been sentenced? And then Subway reminds me of college … I wonder what So-and-So is up to? Let me Google him… and now I’m hungry (but not for Subway, never for Subway) but I have to finish this section of this chapter and so I do and it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. Then I read back over what I’ve written and it’s actually quite decent and I’m shocked. And somehow a book gets written.

It’s so easy to be distracted. And so counterproductive. And so human. Maybe I have ADD. Look at that cloud! I love my dog.

I had hoped to commune more with nature this week, but the weather prohibited much of that … we had beautiful snowfall, though, so that was nice, and I suppose I communed from inside looking out. This morning a bird flew into the kitchen window; I heard the telltale thunk and looked outside, and the little guy (or gal) was sitting there, stunned, while his/her pals feasted from the nearby feeders. I drank my coffee, figuring that since he (I’m going with “he”) was up he’d be okay, then saw him still sitting there some ten minutes later. I looked up what to do in this situation and prepared, accordingly, a shoebox with a little bird bed and bird blanket. When I went outside to place him (with gloved hand) into his bed, which I was then going to keep somewhere warm for two hours (all per instructions on seemingly reputable birdsites) so that he wouldn’t freeze to death or be eaten by predators, he flew away. He’d played possum for 25 minutes. So there you have it, your moment of avian zen.

I’ve spent most of this past week in ski pants and tank tops or workout clothes, and I went whole days without looking in the mirror which, for me, is quite a feat. When I did leave the house to go on glamorous errands to the Price Chopper or the Big Y, I got so gussied up I looked like the village whore.

Tomorrow I’m back to the unreal real world of Manhattan, and I have busy days ahead. I will definitely do this again, though, as I get closer to the end of this draft. I hope.

Oh yes, Valentine’s Day. Love, that mercurial beast. A friend (by which I mean someone I’ve met once and befriended on Facebook) wrote something to the effect of: Love is important, and can be messy and beautiful. Today I honor the beautiful part of it.

I agree—messy, beautiful, important, in all of its many manifestations.

To the people I love, and I think you know who you are, know that I appreciate your perfect imperfections and your love for me, flaws and all.

Love one another, love your partners and your parents and your friends and whomever you choose to love.

[rant]To those of you who err on the competitive/mean-spirited/gossipy/schadenfreude side of “friendship”, and you certainly know who you are, I say this: stop it. Grow up. The world is in chaos and there’s plenty of negativity. Stop going out of your way to breed more of it. [/rant]

Love is no more important today than it is any other day of the year. The world is a big, scary place, so let’s create a microcosm of coziness, warmth, and support. I’ve got your back if you’ve got mine.

I’ve received my first blog-commission; a friend asked me to elaborate on my comment that  “I am not where I thought I’d be at 45. I didn’t have specific ideas of where I’d be, but this certainly wasn’t it.” So I will, but I have to give it some thought. Thank you, CA, for the inspiration!

Love, love, love. Love is all there is. All you need is love. Love the one you’re with.

Love is the drug for me.

And now back to Chapter 8, already in progress.

Biting the hand that feeds you

IMG_1860

What a long, strange week it’s been.

I’m tired, more tired than I’ve been in a long, long time. There are many reasons, mental and physical, for this, and in response, I’ve taken myself on a self-imposed writing retreat for a week … I can not tell you how much I am looking forward to this. How much I need it. And how much I appreciate the opportunity.

New York, New York, it’s a hell of a town … I have had a very New York-y week. I saw music and theater and art. I had Thai food, Italian, Chinese, Turkish, and a horrible midtown salad for lunch yesterday. I saw a bunch of old friends, unexpectedly and on purpose. I worked a lot. And best of all, I got semi-ready for my week out of town.

Yesterday I saw the Picasso exhibit at MOMA; the person I saw it with, an artist, commented that double-P (my words) demonstrated in his sculpture his skills of observation. I don’t know if it was this comment or my meditation or a combination of those, but walking home from work yesterday, the snippets of conversation I overheard registered more than usual: “I’m a human compass” “Picture me, now picture Miranda Cosgrove” “Dude, I did four sets of ten to fifteen reps with, like, a ten-second break between” “looking at all the pictures on the wall and boom — there’s Mick Jagger”. One of the exercises we do in our writing group entails taking a piece of overheard dialogue and building a story around it. The four I quoted are pretty much complete stories on their own.

One of the reason I’m especially tired these days is Dog. I love the guy … I love him so much it hurts, and I want him around for a very long time. But, between you and me (and anyone you forward this to) … he’s not very easy to deal with these days. Our early morning walks have turned into borderline late-night ones, though now that we’re in the country I’m hoping he’ll want to sleep in a bit. He has taken to snapping at me, seemingly out of nowhere, which absolutely sucks. The vet is incredibly sympathetic about this, which is nice, but it doesn’t do a damn thing when petting my beloved beast turns into wrestling my hand from his jowly grip. The vet thinks he has a bit of dementia, which would be funny in a short story but is fairly tragic in real life. Yes, he’s “just a dog”, but he’s my j-a-d and I’m his whole world. And so of course I bear the brunt of whatever he’s going through physically and emotionally. He loves me — that’s not in question — but he is not very gentle with me anymore. He is with other people, but he’s a teenager and I’m his mother. I imagine this is not dissimilar to what my parents went through when I was a teenager, so perhaps this is my comeuppance. As I don’t have a co-parent, I don’t really have anyone with whom I share the burden of loving an angst-ridden kid.

Le sigh. My problems could be worse. Having just watched some of tonight’s Repugnantcan debate I know that they could be much, much worse.

Wednesday night I spoke at a meeting for Girls Write Now, the wonderful organization I work with. I helped create the style guide for our annual anthology and gave a tutorial on grammar … being a word nerd, this was heavenly for me. We talked about some of my favorite things: the Oxford comma, the em-dash, the italicization of ship names. The fact that compound words in adjective form take hyphens when their noun counterparts do not. Riveting stuff.

What else.

I’ve set a lofty goal (I’m certain I’ve said the exact same thing in an earlier blog post) of getting through Chapter Ten of Book while I’m here on my writing retreat. Ask me about it next weekend, will ya? Being accountable helps.

I am not where I thought I’d be at 45. I didn’t have specific ideas of where I’d be, but this certainly wasn’t it. I’m not implying in the slightest that I’m in a bad place or am unhappy … I’m not. But I’m not where I thought I’d be.

Someday I will elaborate on that. On how the things we thought were foregone conclusions sometimes turn out to be anything but.

I spent today and tonight with my parents and some of their friends. I am blessed with amazing people in my life, and with grownups (people 60 and older) who have no intention of slowing down or stopping. Who are as vibrant now as ever before and who, for the most part, take better care of themselves than they did at my age. People who, like my parents, continue to expand their minds, to learn and grow and cultivate new interests (the fact that I first wrote “knew interests” means I need to wrap this up and get some sleep before Dog the Biter wants out in the morning). I want to emulate these people. I want to continue to learn (k)new things and enrich myself, and my life, for my remaining days. That is living. There is no giving up, no throwing in the towel, no deciding you’re done. If you still have any say in the matter, you’re not done.

Love you. Thanks for reading. Vive la France et le circonflexe (about which more later).