[from the front of a journal]
a birthday gift from my mothership
I rarely use this space to complain. I hate complaining. At least in print anyway.
But I’ve been having a rough few days.
I’m exhausted. Mentally and physically. Creatively spent and physically taxed. Torn between two halves of my brain. Stretched, literally and figuratively, to the point where I fear I might pop.
I came down with a seriously awful cold this week and as a pregnant chick there’s very little I can do to alleviate it, pharmaceutically-speaking.
So tonight I decided to do something I rarely do when Joe isn’t home. I turned on the TV.
PS. Yes, I hit rewind on my DVR to transcribe this. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
There’s something to be said for not writing.
This. Coming from a writer.
Shut-ins who function as writers may disagree with me, but I sense there’s a fine line between writing and living.
I say this as I watch the home-schooled boy, who lives across the street from my house, ride his scooter around and around my circular driveway.
He’s about 10 or 11 and incapable of exploring our neighborhood on foot. He’s glued to his scooter. When other boys his age are tied to their desks at school, this boy is outside, tearing around Coffee Pot Bayou on an aluminum scooter.
I think he loves my driveway because it has a slight slope and provides a thrilling change in elevation on an otherwise flat ride.
He has no idea I’m watching him from my office window.
Sometimes I wonder what he’s thinking, as if I forget what it’s like to be a daydreaming kid.
It’s clouds and Popsicle sticks. Big words in poetry books. Splices of sunlight and windburned cheeks. Ankle socks and white Keds. Ease and perpetual un-worry.
Sometimes in moments of anxiety or frustration I lose sight of these things, but the flicker of memories is always there like a tingly bundle of neurons tucked inside a lock box, stored somewhere in my head for safe keeping, at my disposal whenever I need to pull from it.
As a kid, all that concerned me were the things I could see and feel in fleeting windows of time, marked by what I had studied that day in school, by what my mother had packed in my Igloo lunchbox, by what chapters I had read in a particular Judy Blume book, by what boy had captured my attention, by the pop song lyrics stuck in my head. The taste of red Kool-Aid.
I used to ride a scooter too. Around and around my parent’s driveway. It was purple. Skidding up and down the driveway, I would get lost for hours in my head, making up stories ruled by the forces of magic and imagination, not realizing at the time how these daydreams would shape me, how well these fantasies would serve me, how material things could never eclipse my capacity to think, how in my head I would always have everything I’d ever need.
Remember in the Shawshank Redemption when Andy locks himself in the jail library and blasts Mozart over the PA system? Remember how he says there are places in the world that aren’t made of stone? That no one can ever take away how you feel when you listen to music; that it will always be yours wherever you are?
This is how I feel about storytelling.
Even when I’m not doing it.
By June we’ll have a baby in this house, which means I now regard my husband’s sleeping habits with bitter sweetness.
The pug and I are on a futon because I sold our brown couch Thursday for $80 on Craigslist. (Yes, the brown couch my men are asleep on in the photo to your left.)
Over the course of nine months, I managed to save $1,092 in a mason jar to purchase a plush new sofa with an enormous seat and an equally enormous ottoman.
But that’s not the point of this post.
As evidenced by the title, I’m here to espouse the pleasures of penpalship.
That’s right. PEN PALS.
Do you have one?
Chances are you had one many moons ago. It used to be that teachers encouraged the old-fashioned art of letter writing by hooking students up with pen pals in cities far from yours. Of course this was prior to email, which I’m also a fan of but for reasons completely separate from why I adore ACTUAL HANDWRITTEN MAIL.
Check out my guest post on Rosey Rebecca: I write, therefore I am.
Rebecca dropped me an email last December, revealing that she stumbled upon my blog by Googling “boyfriend sleeps past noon.” Turns out her significant other is a Rip Van Winkle too.
That, coupled with the journalism thing, coupled with the SUNY College thing means Rosey Rebecca and I have a lot in common.
She eats way better than me, though.
This chick’s organic dietary habits will drive you to rid your kitchen cupboards of any and all things processed.
When Rebecca asked me write a guest post on writing, I thought, how on earth can I relate this to healthy living?
And then something an artist told me years ago came to mind:
“If I didn’t paint, I wouldn’t feel normal.”
Voila! I WRITE to feel normal. If that ain’t healthy living, I don’t know what is.