Thursday, February 29, 2024

Leap Year

I'm out of practice writing here. I've been busy finishing the book, all the stray details, there are still a few, but the heavy lift is done, the work is accomplished, and one year ago, I could not quite imagine being in this place, but here I am. The people who need to be happy are happy, and I am, too. But now I have no idea what to do with myself, after a solid year of knowing very clearly what my day was about, even when I chose not to be about the central labor, the writing, it was there waiting for me, a structure, an organizing principle, a source of everyday meaning. And now, not three days after the manuscript has been officially "transmitted," meaning no more writing to create whole cloth, no more nips and tucks and revisions, just the steps of the publishing process from here on in, how quickly the thought reasserts itself, what on earth am I doing with my life, there's a whole world out there, and I can't bring myself to go out and engage with it, and be useful in it, useful even for the purpose of entertaining myself, I am at a loss again, no more hiding out, no more sense of purpose, just me, too much with myself, devoid of imagination as to what to do with my days. 

Soon the magazine I edit for will gear up again for the next issue. Stories will begin showing up in my InCopy queue for me to top edit, but for now, I am aimless, lost, imagining the rest of the world busy and purposeful while I lack all imagination of how to meaningfully occupy myself. My son in law to be gave me a one year pass to an art cafe for Christmas, so now might be the time to investigate that, busy myself with a creative enterprise, but really, I crave company, and everyone else is busy, doing their day jobs, especially the young people, they're all gainfully employed and I am at a loose end again, but not ready to dive into another book collaboration yet, and don't I sound pitiful and poor me. Hello out there, friends. I'm getting used to this shore again, dipping my toes into the tide, glad to be back with my friends in this virtual place, today you feel like my salvation. 

Here's something. My niece, the youngest of them, who moved to the city after college last summer, stopping over in our home for a couple of months while she searched for an apartment, reached out to her uncle and me to see if we wanted to go see the movie Dune 2 with her. I have not much interest in this movie, but I was so touched that she wanted to go see a movie with her aunt and uncle that I said yes, to which she texted back, "The roomies ride again." So I'm going to the movies tonight at the theater with the reclining red leather seats and if there are too many explosions on screen I can just drift right off comfortably, my head on my man's shoulder, and it will be good to get out of the house for any purpose at all. I seem to lack imagination these days about what to do, so I'm glad she proposed the movie.

Painting: "Cross the Tropics" by Ali Beletic

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Tuesday morning

The snow is coming down today. A blanket of swirling flakes muffling the world. Kids are sledding outside my window. Bright primary colored plastic sleds zipping down a sloping field of white. I never tire of that scene. Children allowed to be children. Two nights ago, people cheered for the singer’s boyfriend running to the end zone as in Rafah the bombs fell. I feel insane reading the news this morning, feeling helpless to do anything but be a witness. Sometimes I glimpse the full horror behind the curtain. And yet I take the next breath; do the next indicated thing. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Super Bowl party on Work Island


The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers by scoring the game winning touchdown with 3 seconds left on the clock in overtime. An exciting game. We were all rooting for the Chiefs. Just can’t get behind the 49ers after how they did Colin Kaepernick wrong. The man and I had planned a quiet evening till our son called and proposed having a party here.  His pitch was he would take care of all the food and snacks and libations, all we had to do was open the door. He and his wife and one of their friends came, plus the nieces and one niece’s roommate, and one of my friends. Nine of us in all. Twas low key fun though we missed my girl, who’d been in Boston for a conference all week and came home sick. She and her love just cocooned at home in Brooklyn. 

Technically, Brooklyn is New York City, but to those of us who live on Work Island (which is what Gen Z’ers now call Manhattan because they all commute in from the outer boroughs for work), Brooklyn is like living in another place entirely. You never see the folks who live in Brooklyn unless you make a firm plan. My son lives near enough in Astoria, Queens to casually drop by but Brooklyn feels far. Funnily enough, when I moved to New York City more than four decades ago, young people never dreamed of living in the outer boroughs. That was for squares, old fogies, and families. But Work Island is priced out of reach these days so the outer boroughs have become where young people go, the new happening place to be. All the same, I miss having my girl nearby so I can pamper her when she's not feeling well. It's just the flu, not covid, and she's already feeling better, but still.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

*Hey Siri, search baby gates

 Doesn't little Ms. Harper look like someone with places to go and people to see? Who's managing her social calendar?

Friday, February 2, 2024

Women friends

This is the lovely puzzle keeping me company as I work. Mary Moon says this one has magic in it, and I believe this to be true. I'm heading out to dinner with two dear friends in an hour. These women always welcome me to come as I am. Women need other women in their lives. There is such comfort in true women friends, especially decades in—no judgment, just the balm of feeling seen, accepted, and radically understood.