A friend asked me a tricky question today. She asked how I’m doing. The answer to that feels long form and unformed. “I need to read Joan Didion” isn’t really an answer that sheds any light. But I need to read her to remember the kind of writer I want to be. Kind of antsy and a little flat is a more accurate answer, but still not anything anyone wants to hear. It’s nothing I want to look at.
I’ve missed writing here. Haven’t made the time or there just isn’t time. I’m trying to get used to a schedule that includes lots of work and little by way of regularity. I worry far too much. Edward G. Robinson’s character in Double Indemnity talked about the little man in his gut. Mine’s on fire most mornings even before I open my eyes to ponder finances and work and the To Do list.
I’m at a point in my separation where we’ll be filing for divorce soon. It’s been 15 months since my ex and I called it quits. As civil as our separation has been, there’s a taking stock that I feel forced into lately. I’ll just say it outright–After being a stay at home mother, working part time for years, it’s scary to be on my own. I didn’t walk back into a career. I’m patching one together and don’t really know what the hell I’m doing.
When I list what’s going on in my life, it all sounds good. I got a raise this week. I filed a piece with a new outlet. I’m working on a longer piece that I think really has potential. My kids are having a good summer. I’m going back East to see family soon. Lots of good stuff. But I don’t really feel any of it. I’m slogging through, starting the day with coffee and ending with a glass of wine. Marking my days. Like Prufrock. I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
Maybe Prufrock is something else to read right now. The line, Do I dare eat a peach?, jumped out at me in high school when I first read Eliot. I got it. Even the mundane tasks of simple sustenance can be tricky, fear-laden. And there’s J. Alfred laying it all out for me and anyone who cares to read. Fear isn’t confined to jumping off a cliff. Ordinary life inspires this too.
But Didion writes and Patti Smith sings. Maybe I should make a collage of all the touchstone artists in my life and call it More Than Coffee Spoons. I’ll hang it on the ceiling in my bedroom right over the bed so I see it every morning.
photo credit: Jon McGovern via photopin cc