13 February 2011

Article in the newest New Yorker by Tina Fey ("What the worst question you cans ask?") about the dizzying decisions between mom v. career. So nice to hear that even the rich and powerful, well, relatively rich and powerful, are up at night anxious about the same things that I was at her age. Telescoped out a few years, still am wondering about.

Decisions. As if I can really control much of anything that happens in time.

A Findhorn friend wrote in answer to something that I wrote last month that time had passed, that Egypt was free now, and then went on. My own little world, very little world is such a juggled jumbled, and I had never mixed Egypt into the mix. I never mixed in so much. Would more in the mix make anything easier?

And then, listening again last night to An Evening with Jon Jones, and hearing loud and clear the exhortation from Jim via David, "Just suppose you are, and have been for a long time, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing." I remember hearing that idea so long ago from Jim. Maybe David did get it. But oh, I moan and groan, couldn't we talk about it again???


When I took the thought in, I wanted to freeze and ask, so, what am I doing? Just getting through day by day? Making dinner, getting Julia ready for school, taking a shower, washing dishes. And madly scrambling to DO SOMETHING.

Long time ago, David and I had a conversation about this ambition, ego, doing something THING of ours -- art back then. I asked what if what I was supposed to do was to merely tell myself stories inside my head. Those days, my internal narrative was strong and constant. It had been since I was a very little child. As a kid, it was a good escape from a growing up that didn't agree with me, and then, be it good times or bad, it was a way of passing the days.

Has it just been a confusion ever since I gave it up -- not gave it up, but the narrative stopped when there were too much occupying my heart and soul to . . . too much present living.

Whew, I can't keep up with my own circular path. Am I chasing my tail? Both the cat and dog do it -- they never tire of it. Did I just have a good tail chase?

I have been in tears most of the weekend. Ummm, yes, slight exaggeration. Big exaggeration. Some exaggeration. As I give up this flu, my high and low notes are coming back. A full keyboard -- not necessarily a good thing, but my thing. No where near enough patience with Julia as we repeat ugly scenes with my getting too angry and not doing her or me any good at all. She is forgiving when not being frustrating. Again, I wonder, how much is for her, how much for me? As if I could channel my behavior to be good for her, as if I had as much control as . . . okay, another tail chase.

I had a terrible/lovely time on Friday night when I went to see the monologue festival. It was the first time I was in the theater, that theater, since last March when David's Kiritis was produced. I went in the same door, a back door, on Friday. Planting my feet and pulling open the big, heavy, metal and glass door remembering the overwhelm of finding the in-theater wheel chair, getting David from the car, leaving the car with flashing lights, while I maneuvering David to the theater space, and going back to park, and get to the theater myself. I don't mean that any of this was hard, damn, it was hard. I remember the physical feeling of it -- fighting through the fog of fear, of possibility, of eggshells, of just wanting to go back and get my old life back. On Friday, I remember viscerally. My cells remember. I tear up for that simpler time, the time when it didn't seem simple, but yes, it was.

I walked in alone of Friday. No one need feel sorry or guilty for my being alone. I would have been alone no matter who was beside me, and it was good to be that alone. Warrior like.

The artistic director met me with a rose -- okay, just typing that tears me up. Hugs from everyone connect with the theater in the front of the house. I keep gulping, I let myself go a bit. I know I have to walk this gauntlet of kind regard.

I walked in with the rose and sat in my seat. The strangeness of going to the theater alone. With a rose. I felt people look. No one looked. I had time to read the program -- a page of the festival being dedicated to David and I teared up again, wondering if anyone was watching the rather anxious woman with the rose tearing up. Just one part wondered, the other was just there, hurting, but being there. The lights dimmed and Jenn, artistic director, came to the front to speak. Welcoming and thanking, and then talking about David, how he died, how shocked they were, how wonderful the gift of his last monologue in amongst the monologues submitted for the festival. More tears. I was going to be dehydrated by the end of the night.

An Evening with Jon Jones was fifth or so. A chubby man in a navy silk bathrobe came onto the stage and started talking. He was more Nathan Lane than Willie Nelson. Jon would have been closer to Wilie, a mid-west boy still deep inside the NYer. But Jon would have loved being played as slightly Nathan Lane. I think so anyway. There are still those who remember him, who might/could comment, but that night, no one else was there who knew him, so he was as this actor, Tom, portrayed him. I listened and heard only some -- songs and intonations -- maybe a thought or two. Then it was over. Way too fast. Not quick enough.

Intermission came and I was of interested to the kindly regarding people. Sweet. Tough. I wondered if I should have stayed in my seat. After the show I asked to meet the actor, met him and the director, and told them that Jon was a real person. Of course, David had submitted the piece and had not talked to anyone about that. I told them of Jon and Jim and NYC and us -- just a bit. Now, I wonder if David would have done that, or left the Jon Jones of the piece as the character that he now is. Words on a page, and the ghost of a performance that echos in at least my head.

They were all so sweet, supportive of me. And I had nothing to say to them. I have no touch with them. I wanted to be all their friends, because they knew David like my circle of friends -- PTO, LEND -- don't.

Last night, Saturday, I went again to see the monologues. No, not a glutton for punishment, but something that David and I would have done. And after much resistance from myself, I let myself go twice. It was better last night. Three friends came -- funny, we could not sit together, and sat spread over the house, getting together for intermission and afterwards.

There were hugs, but no roses last night. Thank God! I could take hugs. I guess I could take roses, but not together. Again, the program said what it said, and Jen said what she said, and the pieces began. I could hear last night. I enjoyed more, I took in more. I remembered Jim saying what he said. I remember brunches, supers, late nights at the Crab House (where Jon and I were singing waiters) talking and talking more. And I longed with ragged breaths for those conversations.

After the show, my three friends, from different parts of life here in Madison, went out with me for drinks and tapas. How now. We talked awkwardly at first, I was not expansive in making the conversation easy, I was not up for finding the common ground. But they are resourceful women and did it for themselves.

What if we were doing exactly what we were supposed to be doing . . .

I am ungrateful enough to say now that I would have rather have been in conversation with Jon and Jim and David, but I didn't think of that then. I did realize that these friends from different parts of Madison life could find connections, and it was not hard to imagine that I could build some sort of web of meaning right here, right now. It was fun, ending on talking of travel -- how I love travel -- one to go soon to visit her Peace Corp sister and the rest of us plying her with stories of Peace Corp friends and traveling in third world countries.

On the way home, I was groaning about liking those theater people so much. I wanted to be in their company and yet, David was my way in. I was no artist any more. And my friend laughed, and told me to start writing.

I was hoping for a catchy ending here. Nothing comes. I am chasing the ghosts who ask what if I was doing just was I was supposed to be doing. Then what? I ask. Then what? And surely, you don't mean this. This life that I am living. This could not be it. Could it? Really? Could it?

1 comment:

Traci said...

It might be. From this view it looks like you are pouring every ounce of your being into a very lovely, hurt, artistic, caring, & deserving little girl. Seems to me that it could be the perfect job for you.

They may look like dishes in the sink AGAIN, but to Julia they are the task that her Momma' takes care of as she pours out her care and love.

Care for yourself gently, Suzanne, and allow yourself grace. You've been through quite a lot and you need a gentle hand, a gentle tongue, and kind words to see you through.

I'm thinking of the impatience with Julia. I wish that I had advice, but I've never lost my husband, never grieved as you are grieving, and I can't know what you must be going through. I sure am here listening and loving though.

You are genuinely loved my friend.