03 April 2009

I read the news today

I've been fiddling with this post since lunch time, and it's gone absolutely nowhere. It's a given that I write every day, whether the result is publishable or not. To be fair, sometimes stuff is work related but still writing. That counts as much in my book as the postable stuff. As do the notes I keep in little notebooks, assuming what I've written is coherent and not just random scrawl and ideas.

Lately, finding postable material has been difficult, in part because of my own state of mind and the state of the world--how tired am I of saying that?--in part because the current routine of my life is not worth documenting publicly. (But I had the son laughing so hard he was crying tonight when I opined that the reason his knee surgery took over three hours was because it took them two hours to shave all the hair off his leg. We cannot figure out what Neanderthal ancestor is responsible for all of this child's body hair).

Then I thought about it a bit and decided why not a work-in-progress post? I'm always talking about process, so why not just let the process show for once?

(Mostly because I'm a perfectionist and I like perfect posts. I love that moment when I've been writing and suddenly it all comes together, suddenly it all makes sense. But little makes sense these days, days when I have to worry that the teens who stop me on the street mean mischief or that the wild-eyed man in the grocery is going to start shooting. Also, I tend to adjust the tone so they sound a little more hopeful than I've felt lately.)

I should blog the moment I get up in the morning because my day tends to degenerate from there. By lunch time, I have learned that people have been murdered in Binghamton, or two people were killed in the town where I used to live, at an intersection through which I drove or walked just about every day, often with my very small children in tow, or in a stroller, for 10 years. We all talked about the danger of that road.

The world. It leaves me angry. It leaves me weary.

But enough about that.

CL and I had fun last night at Book Soup. The store was pretty packed, and Heather told some funny stories, and read a bit from her new book. Then she signed all those books. She's so nice, and had far more patience than I ever would have at that stage in pregnancy. But then I was one of those people who had 24/7 morning sickness for six months, and only felt well in my seventh month of pregnancy (and with the son, spent it running around Central and South America) before degenerating back into an anemic, exhausted and starving wreck for the remainder. Oh, with carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands! With the daughter, I wasn't allowed to do anything from the 8th week on, which was great fun with a 2-1/2 year old boy on hand. It's no wonder we only have the two.

Driving down Sunset, CL and I traded stories of our younger selves. The Strip brings on that disconnect, a gap between past and present me. Younger me never cared if people looked or talked, rarely noticed. But last night I watched people watch, faces impassive, thinking "is that someone?" I'm frequently recognized, though not for who I am. I have doppelgangers everywhere: a tennis player (who, oddly, shared my name before I married and changed it), a cellist with the National Symphony. At a party one evening, a man I'd never seen ran up to me, threw his arms around me and yelled, "Peggy!" I thought it was some bizarre joke until he realized his mistake and apologized profusely.

The girl who used to visit clubs on the Strip never noticed, didn't care. Last night, I felt, acutely, my status as well-heeled, middle-aged So Cal female. I didn't like it.

Now I've got a week to prepare myself for my trip back to D.C. Who goes there? Last time, I was the same girl who traversed Sunset with friends, laughing, dancing at clubs. Now? Isn't that the question.

Someone in the audience asked Heather what she'd say to the younger self who started blogging years ago. Heather made the comment that she's not necessarily proud of the person she used to be and all I could think was 'Lady, alot of us would like to smack around our younger selves, and that's called growing up.' But in growing up, I've also learned to bear my younger self less ill will and I've allowed myself to admit that she had some pretty good qualities, too.

It hasn't escaped my notice that the same weekend last year, I was laying ghosts to rest. I am not setting out to accomplish anything this time, except perhaps for forward motion.

And that's what fiddling looks like. Not pretty (she laughs). Not all the bits are there: life as a symphony had already been removed, along with how mid-April last year I barreled straight into the scherzo. I liked that though, and oh dear God, is scherzo apt.

Go listen to some good music: "A Day in the Life" from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.

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