Choosing My Times and Places

In the last few weeks I have found the perfect, uninterrupted time and place to write what gets distracted here at home. It is the local cocktail bar when hardly anyone is there. And besides that, no one wants to intrude on an old lady with a legal pad and pen.

The respectful bartender brings my drink, a Manhattan, and then she leaves me to it. I have been working on a new short story and what the characters want to say comes easier for them in this setting. I can listen in here.

I needed to know how the Dewey Decimal System actually works. It is a curiosity that might play a part in the new story. So I went to the local library to ask. It is all decorated for the holidays.

I loved seeing all these different newspapers laid out for the patrons who come in to kill time waiting for the one they came in with to make a decision on who comes home with them. Anyway, the librarian and an assistant were very helpful with my questions. But as usual what happens most times is that too much information can dilute the passions of inquiry.

So here it is Saturday. A dreary Saturday. I am way overdue for this blog. I looked out the front door and found I still avoid looking at how close the houses are.

Lee’s ashes are on the way to the stone place. They will be returned in assorted sizes for us to place around as of February 2…Groundhog Day! I am all settled up with the funeral home and reminded the director that the next time he sees me I won’t be talking much but he now knows what to do.  I reached for his hand and was reminded again how hard their profession must be at times.

I was trying to tell someone recently that I am sorting my life into “then” and “now”. Just because so much is in the “then” does not mean it’s effects are not part of the “now”. It only means that I don’t live there anymore. My “now” place is filling up with the things I want to be involved with. New neighbors who are so much more interested in who and what I am. The other night I asked the new young couple, she, a doctor, he, a home care giver, over for red wine and pizza. So refreshing it was. Both interested in art and their new neighborhood. We plan on meeting up again over a nice red. I catch up with other neighbors on my walks or at tai chi classes. It is a nice place to be and so much more accepting than the “then” place left behind.

The other day, looking for my address book that has the contacts I send Christmas cards to, I found no less than three business card books of everyone Lee and I needed to count on to make our lives easier….repairmen, window washers, tax helpers, in fact loads of helpers. All of them part of the “then” , even the “way back when then”. Today I will not lose myself in those memories and thoughts of who might not be with us anymore, but will simply toss them out. The little desk Lee made for me when we were first married made an audible sigh of relief when I pulled them out.

When Patrick and Marla were here for Thanksgiving, I had them change a couple of boats on my shelves. I wanted The River Lethe closer so I could peer inside at the passengers and read their words, all in the past tense. I loved making this boat when Lee was first diagnosed with dementia. It is based on the Greek mythology of the river of forgetfulness, Lethe, flowing to the river Styx where the boat passengers would be taken onward to Hades for judgement. What I loved about the story was that the water from Lethe encouraged the passengers to forget who and what the were, where they came from… In my interpretation, the passengers enter below decks, dropping their baggage before going down further to find a seat. They have all drunk the water. But so has a rather forgetful ferryman who has lost track of whether he is coming or going, so ties the boat up and joins his passengers. All of them in a forgetful state of waiting for what comes next.

I just noticed that a small sculpture I did is directly on the shelf underneath. It is an old tin box with pages made from sandpaper sheets students in a woodworking class gave me when I was teaching at Arrowmont several years ago. They could not understand why I wanted sandpaper that was no good anymore. I told them it was for a sculpture titled, The Irritations of Aging. When a sheet is pulled out it scratches those next to it like dry old skin. On the back of each sheet are snips of writings on the subject of aging from my journals. Only one page has a small copper jingle bell to remind us that there is sometimes a bit of joy to be found in getting older. I rather enjoy fumbling through the pages.

I also took a picture of the autobiographical heads of right and left brain thinking. they gather and confer in the corner of the living room.

My last load of laundry has dried. I will fold, iron and put it away before spending the rest of the day filling the house with the smells of homemade soup.

Til later….