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Tuesday, January 03, 2006


The kids are back in school, Tom is back at work, and I’m at the coffee shop with my lap top, finally. I’ve been looking forward to writing for at least a week, feeling like a plane in a holding pattern waiting for the go-ahead from traffic control to land. Now there’s finally some space, though there are still plenty of potential distractions. We have plumbing issues and a dent in our car that we postponed dealing with in December. The house is a mess, and I really need to get it organized before I start bringing in things from my mom’s apartment, which is of course the big project for the month. In addition to sorting out her legal affairs, I have to sort through her old stockings, her piles of papers, her drawer full of purses, her clothes, and much more. I’m assuming that this process will help me to sort out my feelings which have also been kept on hold while we celebrated Christmas with Tom’s family and friends in Wisconsin.

Yet, for my first free hour back home, I choose to write with the hope that I’ll soon get back to writing more than this blog. Last year I had several different ideas for another book and started a few computer files with notes and ideas. But it was clear I needed to keep my emotional energy focused on my mom, so I never got past the brainstorming stage with any one project. Now I have no clarity about what I should write next, but a smoldering creative impulse. My first priorities should be to sort out my mother’s affairs and sell the book that I’ve already written, but I’ve taken the semester off from teaching to make space for whatever else is next. Space is what I’ve been lacking for the past few weeks, and it feels good to have a little. The one morning in Wisconsin that I tried to write, Megan came and snuggled up next to me so close I could hardly move my shoulder as I typed.

I think the children are ready to get back into a routine, too. The day before we left Wisconsin, Luke looked at me mournfully and said, “I want to go home now.” He missed his Legos, which is his primary form of creative expression, along with the piano, which we also had to leave behind.

On New Year’s Day, as we were discussing our hopes for the year, Luke and I agreed that we wanted to make more music as a family. (Megan wants to sneak less candy and go to Australia; Tom wants to read more and go to Italy.) At the end of last year, we worked on "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on piano, guitar, and recorder. Then in Wisconsin we got to visit a musical family and play a little with them. They had a student visiting from Belfast, another musician who happened to know my favorite song from Northern Ireland, "There Were Roses" by Tommy Sands. Together we performed this sad song about the tragedy of war on cello and guitar. I had been missing my guitar, which until last month had been collecting dust for years. Now, along with the urge to write, I’m feeling the urge to play, maybe even to get back to writing songs, which I haven’t done in decades. Who knows? I just have to keep some space in my schedule to see where my creative impulses will lead.


Anonymous mik said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog ...just came upon it tonight...and will continue to check in and see how you are doing. I love hearing about your mom and her delightful sense of humor. I enjoyed reading the eulogy. I am glad you posted it. It was beautifully done. I am always amazed at how wonderfully warm funerals can be ... more so than weddings. There seems to be an openness that happens... and it really amazes me when family can get up and speak and do all of this preparation in a couple of days. I liked how your mom helped with the phone book. She reminds me of my grandmother who also had so many people come to her funeral. She just had friends nobody knew about.

10:50 PM  

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