The Monday morning list.
- I began this blog a little over a year ago. Before that I was a “Live Journal” scribbler and an occasional contributor to “A Good Blog is Hard to Find.”
- Anyway, onto today…
- Kiffen flew back to Los Angeles yesterday. We had a wonderful three weeks, spent Christmas with our girls, missed our boy, caught movies, took walks, cooked meals, made pies, saw friends, binge-watched “Grantchester,” cried over Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, traveled to Chattanooga and Nashville, and Kiffen did things like get shelves and hang mirrors and fix things, because that’s what he does. He’ll be back in April for Norah’s Senior Reading at ASFA.
- We looked at a lovely house built in 1927 in East Lake. So many questions.
- I have a thing with the year 1927.
- I am determined to get on a writing schedule even with the distractions of teaching, directing creative writing program, and realizing it’s Norah’s last semester in high school. What?
- I have a middle grade novel to revise, an adult novel to revise, and a wheelbarrow full of picture books to play with and shape into stories.
- Millie-Graciela & Vulcan, Hop the Pond, The Dog Walker of Knockamany Bens, Georgia Ivy and the Old Pump Organ, The Teardrop Sisters and the Princess Dragon. Maybe one day I will write a story with a one-word title, but it seems unlikely.
- I want to shape two ancient short stories that never worked into something. Waiting for the Bears to Come and Mangoes on the Sabbath.
- Because it’s another snow day, Norah has requested a double feature of Hidden Figures and La La Land. She missed all the movies we went to doing her colleges apps. We saw Fences, Jackie, and Lion – I loved them all but I especially loved Lion.
What else is on the list?
What about Meryl Streep last night? She is a hero. Flat-out hero. My heart.
Warning – glumpy grief segment ahead.
Because I have to figure out how to live in this world now with a broken heart – hence, glumpy grief segment will probably populate 2017. Anyway, I write books about kids who live in apartment buildings and mountain hollers. I write about kids who play pump organs and Turkish sisters make tears bottles to catch tears for the princesses. I write about kids who tote milk in mason jars and walks dogs to the tippy-top of Knockamany Bens in Donegal, Ireland. I write about kids who don’t have money. I write about bullies and coaches’ daughters.
Yet the incoming POETUS would call me the liberal elite who lives in a bubble.
I also work with young writers some of whom are first generation college students in their families. I don’t ask about their politics. We focus on their writing and their voices as storytellers.
But I’m so tired.
Some days I have to figure out how to stay present and alive in the world. This POETUS has killed me, and I have to find my way back to my writing in order stay present and alive. People I love voted for this administration and that too has broken my heart and we can’t ever speak of it – it’s the silent scream in the room.
I suck at silent screams in the room.
I walk all the way on the other side of the room to avoid them.
Here is a story. I am at a Christmas party in Detroit in the 1980s. I am talking to Maryanne. She is my parents’ friend. My father is coaching Special Teams for the Detroit Lions. We go to football Christmas parties. I am just home from living a year in England where I have studied theatre, film, Third World Politics, British Studies, 19th Century Women & Literature. I feel alive in a way I have never felt before. This Maryanne, who speaks with a flat affect and zero emotion, corners me to ask about England and for some reason, we get on the subject of Meryl Streep. She says, “She’s sooooo boring. What is the big deal? Boring. Boring. So she can do an accent. Whoopie. So what. She’s so over-rated.”
I am enraged. I want to throw my drink at her. She has no idea my fury and secret loathing to zap her into a sizzling pile soot. She’s too busy on her Meryl Streep rant. I feel trapped in a Detroit suburb after a year in England trying to be polite to my parents’ friends. I say stiffly, “She’s not over-rated. She’s an incredible actress,” which sounds dumb and hollow and unconvincing in my ears, and I am afraid I might cry, which would be so embarrassing. But I am terrified of being stuck in living rooms having conversations with idiots out of politeness, and I make a vow then and there to live my life creating something (I have no idea what because I already suspect I’m a very mediocre actor) even with the sour-faced Maryannes in the world who will call it “over-rated” or “boring.”
Part II of Glumpy Grief Segment
My son’s addiction has broken my heart most of all, and I don’t know how to reach him and some days loving with detachment or “detaching with love” seems like such a croc. Trying to write this, I couldn’t even think of the word “detachment.” The only words that came as I was searching my brain – loving with disintegration, loving with dismals, loving with dour, loving with dubious. I couldn’t think of the word detachment even though it’s taped to my desk and has been for years.
Maybe I can’t detach. It’s been such suggested I write a “Fear Inventory.” I saw film recently where an artist and “Write down everything you’re afraid of and make it into art.”
Or maybe Meryl Streep said it best quoting Carrie Fisher.
I’ll close with this song, “You Don’t Know Me” from Postcards from the Edge.
And just so this entry isn’t completely an icky morass of the dismals, I look to this little creature everyday and somehow she sets the world right again.