Monday, December 13, 2010
Reverb 10, the one where I mix things up (make, wonder, let go)
Just so you know, as soon as I opened this window to begin typing yet another post, my daughter called me from the place where she and friends are sledding.
Give me 10 minutes...... (it's 4:44 p.m.). No, make that 20. I need to take her friend home, too.
It's 5:27 p.m. Took a while for my girl's best friend to bid her boyfriend goodbye ; we dropped off another friend so that he didn't have to walk through the bitter, angry wind, dropped off the best friend whose mother decided not to let her out again to visit yet another friend.
I am relieved that the strict parent ensured the second outing got canceled. The roads are slick; I am tired; winter wants me to stay in and warm my Texan bones.
Reverb Prompts 6, 5, 4 (kind of in that order, though I might move 4 closer to 6).
Dec. 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make but you need to clear the time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)
Dec. 5 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)
Dec. 4 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)
I am not a maker. I am a writer. I do not paint, sculpt, build. I don't make scrapbooks or photo albums. I don't cultivate plants, design gardens or clothes, knit, crochet, whittle. Because I make very little that is tangible, I sometimes question my worth. Don't go getting on me about this, especially since you don't know me. I'm fine. I have created a decent life for myself that is full of all those abstracts we seem to be covering ad nauseum during this lovely project. I'm really only typing this because I'm stalling (see Prompt One). Make? Make? What did I make?
I made pots of coffee and I made a few photographs. I made a couple dozen French braids for marching band girls who needed help stuffing their hair up under their hats and a few buns/ponytails for the long-haired boys. I made jokes when people got too stressed during band events. I made poems with words and blood (metaphorical) and memory. I made story woven out of the old color of my hair and my dastardly imagination.
But tangible things? I don't make things unless you count baked goods. I....
I am now making dinner for my daughter, leftover chili. The interruptions are part of what make my life what it is, part of why I am not quite finished with things that I feel should have been finished years ago.
The interruptions are beautiful, and though I sit here with my stupid brow furrowed (stop it, Lizzie! You're making the grooves worse!) in irritation, deep in the center of my gut, I am not irritated. It's an honor to live this life.
Oh, gah. That does NOT sound like me. But it is me.
Back to making things.
In 2010 (starting, really, at the end of 2009), I baked more than usual. I baked bread, cookies, pies, all from scratch. The last thing I baked, though, my daughter really baked. We made mini-blueberry pies for Thanksgiving....
(My girl Skypes with her friends who live less than three minutes from our house. The boy who invited her over to hang out (her "fake brother") is upset because she canceled on him. "I'm sorry!" she said. "You're makin' me feel bad." But she chuckled. I love eavesdropping on these kids. They are lyrical and disgusting, frightful and kind.)
We made the pies out of the usual - flour, oil, salt, labor, love, heart, blueberries, sugar, something else I can't remember.
Even the pies that burst and dripped blueberry guts all over the bottom of my oven were perfect (I forgot to put a protective sheet thingie under the muffin tin).
Everything my daughter touches turns into an art project. The pie crusts had to be perfect. She worked them until they were almost too dry, but she is magical, so they were successful, little pies.
When I watched her working on those crusts, this sense of wonder rose up in me, unquenchable. Every time I watch her make something, whether it's a pie or a friend's sketch or a power point presentation, even when she paints tiny designs on her chewed up nails, Wonder consumes me.
Who made her? How did she become so creative? Why haven't the schools dampened her desire to make art yet? How did we get so lucky?
I wonder all these things for a little while, and then I let go because this kind of wonder (in me, anyway) sometimes turns to worry (I'm afraid to lose her). I let go and let myself feel gratitude.
I did let go of other things this year, commitments, but if I let myself focus on writing about the letting go and the activities themselves, I won't actually feel that I've let them go. It's been several months since I've fretted about that decision. I've accepted it, and it was the right thing to do.
As I was writing this (it's taken me two hours), I realized that I'm going to let myself keep this blog messy (hey! That's another thing I made this year - Tons of Messes). This is how I work. I work around things, around snow days, my cat barfing, my daughter needing a ride home so that she can warm up after being brutalized by that Bitter Wind. I write around fixing dinner and doing laundry. This is part of my process.
I will have days next week after she goes to her father's when I will have the luxury to focus solely on me.
But, really, what fun is that?
The thing I let go of has allowed me more time to do my real work. If I can find time to do more than simply raise my kid, write creatively, find work that pays, I'd like to:
take more photographs
make my home into more of a home
create a regular teen poetry group/workshop (that won't happen in 2011. not quite ready for the commitment)
(it is now 7:49 p.m. We have started watching Iron Man. The Girl draws (she says she's going to bed at 9 though the school district has already announced a two-hour weather delay). The cat curls up close to her on a throw blanket. I write here. In this way. Around and through my days. I think it will work for me. And does it matter if it works for anyone else? Not much.)
The movie is over. It's 8:52 p.m. This post is over, too. Finally.