The sun is out, its fullbore discharge laying the land as flat and glassy as if under summer’s hand. People are energized, unable to believe but believing. The city is in an opposite of panic, an ecstasy that still brushes its teeth. Wow, look at it, people say, and they stop and hold out hands to feel how real it is.
Slowly, the past is slow. It creeps back on us when we thought it was resolved, lumbering reanimated through the countryside, stomping the flowers and knocking the trash into the street. Have you seen the horror movie where the woman screams at the approaching husk, screaming while pausing to reload: why don’t you stay dead? Yes, you have.
April was rough. Not for any rational reason, and not, as the Puritans would insist, because I deserve it. (Though, given the culture, of course I subconsciously believe this.) The personal odometer turning over with Big Things not yet done, shrugged and rationalized for security or a sense of duty or who knows why–it’s a fact there’s that much less time to do them in. Her time in footlights over, someone in passing muses about what she’ll do for her next career. She meant nothing by it, but it did a lot for me. There is still a lot of future left, given the averages. I like her response better than that of older friends, peering down at me from the sixties, seventies. Forty-three! Hah! You get no sympathy from me, kid.
A friend has a crisis of obligation, duty and family, and all I can offer is support and listening on the phone. I wonder if I should say anything, and what it could be. Suggestions did not work well with my ex. I learned people just want someone to acknowledge their trial. This person is not my ex. I make a few suggestions, here and there: better handholding than silence on the phone. She keeps talking. I keep listening.
I am writing and it is slow. I have cut back more on the advice of the physical therapists treating my shoulder. Rotator cuff, they say. Overuse. Four to eight weeks. They give me exercises with a stretchy red band the kitten likes to fling himself on as I pull it, let it go, pull it again. The kitten world is a fabulous one. The shoulder is better, then a little worse, then better. First-thing appointments has a woman pressing and pulling after I run through more exercises. Seems like it’s a lot better, she says. I remember how much the sulfur wire glowing underneath my shoulderblade burned, how much Advil I was taking. Yes, better.
Maybe slow, but the writing is better. The second chapter is maybe half-done, an unimpressive showing for a month, but there it is. More things are coming together: the acting, the improv, life after being tossed in the waves. What is his intention? What does he want? What happens next? Things happening is key. I made an outline so have an idea, but it’s the outline I should have written three years ago, so there’s a lot to find out. Writing is about coherent discovery, making connections that are as natural as they are unexpected–even though you know every story, you know what’s going to happen, you still want to find out. That’s the mystery: how to do it all over again just like before, but different enough to make you care.
It’s a little more than a simmer, but it’s not the boil I need to get done this year. This eats on me. I know this is unhelpful. This blog is not the book.
I have long talks with a good friend, one of many. We’ve had the talks before but she insists this is okay–this is how the inner child works. The palaver about life being a journey is bullshit. You want to get somewhere! But it is a journey, and you can meander. Imagine yourself meandering. She also offers every serious writer she’s ever known is isolated and miserable. I’ve thought about this too. Your life isn’t a problem! Don’t make problems. Seems like the answer is in there, somewhere.
Eliot said April was the cruelest month, then described the muddy tumult of change. April is the month the shine comes off the new year, the excuses of winter idleness gone as Nature blooms irrepressibly up. It’s not a sprint, but it’s getting warmer and still we need to run.