I suppose that most bloggers, in their heart of hearts, would love to be the next Julie Powell of the blogging world. Why not? She writes exquisitely. She has a tremendous following. She works as hard on her current writing projects as she did on the Julie/Julia Project. She’s deservedly sitting pretty and on top of the world, and I wish I had her stock portfolio or her royalties. Hell, I wish I could afford her grocery bill!
Being a foodie, I of course saw Julie & Julia (http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/). Posted on my wall above my computer, I have the now infamous movie still of Meryl Streep/Julia Child smiling at me from between the wings of a roasting hen. I have not yet read the book, but I’m sure I will. When I taped the Venue cover with the photograph to my wall, it never occurred to me that I’d start a blog of my own one day. Perhaps somewhere in my mind I entertained the possibility, sure. I used to be a publicist and I wrote press releases and jacket copy. I have always loved to write an old-fashioned letter. I love the whole of letter-writing, part and parcel. Stationary, stamps, and even post offices have always had a place in my heart. Have you read the Griffin and Sabine series by Nick Bantock? (http://www.nickbantock.com/Gryphon/Griffin_and_Sabine.html) He’s an extraordinary artist and designer. I remember the design department’s director swooning over the thought of having the opportunity to design such books. I’m not sure that I have the words to describe it. Imagine what it would be like to enter the mind of one of the most talented artist/story-writers of all time, to live in that person’s head and see the images and hear the words. Bantock describes it by saying, “One evening I was talking with a friend about personal mythology – that internal world of characters and events that constantly runs inside us like a movie.” What would it be like to be able to express that through art? To have the talent to recreate on paper what you see in your mind’s eye? Render superlatively gorgeous art of the story that runs through an artistic mind? (Oh, and I’m not completely crazy! The books center around the correspondence of Griffin and Sabine. There are envelopes to open and stamps, little miniature works of art, to appreciate and so much more).
I went to look for my copies (okay, back to my reality, did I really expect to be able to find them?) and you’ll just have to take my word for it, they are a book lover’s/artist’s/romantic’s wet dream. Get thee to thine local independent bookseller and purchase thine own copy!
And I digress. My original point was that I love to write quaint little beautiful letters. I was born in the wrong era and of the wrong class! My life would probably best be served by being of the time and class where upper crust women planned menus and wrote letters and managed large households. Now you know one of my secret, guilty pleasures–Stamps, rubbers stamps, colored inks, stationary, Eaton’s 9lb paper, air mail envelopes, postmarks, colored pencils, fountain pens, brown paper packaging–these are a few of my favorite things!
I recall reading somewhere that people always make all kinds of excuses for not writing a book, the number one reason being no time. But this particular person said that “no talent” was never among those excuses. I never tried to write because I was afraid I had no talent for it. And to some extent, perhaps that is true. I don’t know that I have the talent to write fiction. I’m good at making things up! The little twists and half-truths that turn one thing into something else! I’ve got spin! But to actually sit down and write a book based on a plot? Maybe, but it turns out that’s not the kind of writing I’m interested in. I don’t yet know what writing means to me. When I was younger, I wanted to be a reporter. I wanted to be a columnist. I still have that (no longer secret) desire. Everyone believes they have something important to purvey. There is a part of me that wants to share my pleasures with like-minded people. If you were to pick up one of the Griffin and Sabine books and it spoke to your soul, I would be pleased immeasurably. But those are just tidbits. Simple pleasures. I want to be more meaty, more substantive.
If I don’t have the ability to write a novel, I do have the ability to relate my dance with a diseased mind. This is a recovery story. It’s not complete, by far, it’s a journey. I don’t have a magic pill or pills. It’s a lot of hard work and what I’ve gained, it’s taken an effing long time to do so. But I’ve reached the point where I know that while I’m not over the pain, I’ve reached the crest. There’s no such thing as smooth sailing when you have mental illness. My therapist told me you have to work on it every single day, there’s no such thing as a day off. I’ll tell you how it’s been for me, and where I’ve been. I’ll tell you what I’ve learned and what I’m learning. I’ll share my journey with you. I’ll share my demons with you. And I’ll share my triumphs, especially, with you. It’s therapeutic, you know? Even if there’s no one out there listening, it’s therapeutic to write. I don’t care if I’m not the next Julie Powell. What I care about is that I live a life worth living. That I’m the person I want to be, so long as those standards are reasonable. That I’m someone my children love and respect and cherish. That I’m someone people can trust. That I have integrity.
I need to contemplate how to go about telling you my story. I began before. Time to pick up the story where I left off, incorporate the old with the new. And keep track of what I need to do and my progress and think about how to measure my progress. I’m still dealing with the same mundane problems. And going about things in the same old way that didn’t produce results previously will not provide progress. My cousin Kathleen* told me it’s and 80/20 split–spend 80 percent of your time on the big picture, and 20 percent on the detail.
I haven’t even finished cleaning the kitchen! Christ on crutches! If I apply Kathleen’s method, I need to wash the dishes, scrub the floor, and clean out the bottom of the fridge where something died a horrific and smelly death, and something parasitic and even more disgusting, is gaining life. I need to wipe the counters and put things away. I don’t need to wipe off the fronts of the counters, clean out the drawers, or clean the oven. On second thought, I do need to clean the oven. But not today. That will be enough cleaning for today. I have a ritual to complete! No need to worry, no creature will be used sacrificially! (See December 31, 2010, For the Love of Thesauri for details). There is much more than cleaning that awaits me today. All pleasurable. Even the cleaning I have to do is pleasurable, except for the refrigerator. Ugh. But sometimes the pleasure does not derive from the task, but rather in the completion of the task. Yeah, baby! I can spin!
But I will let no ill will, no unpleasantness, taint my day today. Today is going to be my perfect day. I am in a perfectly great mood, I have a perfect plan set out before me, and I will not even allow myself to become upset, should I not complete my ritual. No, I will let it spill over into the following days, and remember that it’s part of my perfect day today, that perfection can exist even if it’s not complete, even if it doesn’t last the whole day. Part of the day can be sensational. What will I do for my children? I will spend this day emitting good will and being happy. I will job-hunt. I will start up Jan’s* rock tumbler. I will finish watching Avatar and pass it along to Che* so we can have a future discussion about it. I will think of them throughout the day and imagine what it will be like when we are together again so that I can put my visualizations down on paper, therefore beginning the process of giving them life. I’ve been waiting for this year and preparing for it for a very long time. My horoscope confirms it:
“We have to believe in free will. We have no choice.” So said author Isaac Bashevis Singer. I encourage you to adopt that puckish thought as your motto in 2011, my fellow Cancerian. According to my reading of the astrological omens, this will be our year to supercharge our willpower and intensify our ability to carry out our plans — but always with good humor and a highly tuned sense of irony. In fact, one of the best ways to deepen our command over our own unconscious impulses and the caprices of fate will be to take ourselves — and everything else, too — less seriously.” Rob Brezny, Free Will Astrology, 23 December, 2010
I hope your day is as perfect and pleasurable and productive as mine will be.
1.) My children to love on
2.) Trey* for his humor, energy, and warmth
3.) Life to live, air to breathe, the world to be part of
4.) Dogs, mine specifically
5.) Good food and good books
“Nothing is worth more than this day.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe