Sometimes you just move along in your life, plodding through.
You wake up. You go to work. You do homework with your kids. You grocery shop. You watch TV. You do laundry. You go through writer’s-block. You pay bills. You eat dinner. You….wait. Back up.
Writer’s-block. Ahhhh. Yesssss. The block.
Six months for me. Not so much a block but more of a crater filled with alligators and swarming hornets that you cannot jump over until you get some mother f’ing pictures of one simple f’ing event in the life of your child that you should remember and can’t and that everyone close to you vaguely remembers and makes you feel like a dolt for not remembering but cannot supply you with even a shred of evidence that it happened.
I tend to like things wrapped up in neat little bows. Pretty, frilly bows. During the last few years of my life I have learned to let go of this urge, this need, this desire. Bows, whether on top of a package or on top of life, suggest that what’s inside are perfectly planned for happenings and that they were perfectly executed…and now in order to brag to the world about how perfect the package/life is – I will exclaim it to the world with panache. And the proof is…this bow. See!
I do not believe in bows any longer. I have accepted that anything worth anything in my life has come to me in a box wrapped in the funny papers and held together with duct tape: initially you look at it and think, gee this present very likely has crap inside. But when you open it there sits a diamond ring. Or cubic zirconia. Either way, in the end it is pretty. So much good in my life has been wrapped in funny paper and duct tape.
And that is okay. It is good.
But I write in a circular fashion in my head. As a writer I cannot escape the need to beginning-middle-and-end things in my brain so I can put the bow on top.
It seems so stupid but the truth is I haven’t really been able to write anything because in my last Pulitzer Prize winning post “I Doubt It”, I kind of left it open-ended in my head. Like a “to be continued”. I thought the follow-up would be quick and painless. I would have received a flood of pictures and then I would post them – awww such a cute little tag-post to wrap everything up – and then I could move on to writing other more worthy random posts as I saw fit.
But the proof never came, man. No pictures. No video. No specifics at all about my son Boo’s baptism. And until I got that I realized I just couldn’t write a damn thing.
So, as stated before, you plod along.
Then one day just a short time ago you are demolishing your nasty old bathroom with a flamethrower and some grenades, and you get a text message.
MOM: Check your email!!
I didn’t though. I was wearing enormous protective goggles, gardening gloves and one of those little white placebo face masks which not so much protect you from Mt. Saint Helen-sized plumes of dust as filter the dust out so that what you do breathe is just super PURIFIED dust. I would get back to her.
I got back to my demo work.
The phone rang. Then it rang again. And again.
Good Lord. Someone must be dead. Off come the gloves, mask and pins back in grenades.
ME: Hello?? What’s wrong?!
MOM: Did you check your email?
ME: No, Mom, I’m destroying the bathroom. What’s going on? Did somebody die?
MOM: What?? Who died?
ME: I am asking you!
MOM: What? No one! (Excitedly) Did you check your email?
ME: No, why?
ME: Just check it! I think you will be very happy!
ME: Okay, but can’t you just tell me what it is??
MOM: (BIG sighhhh, exasperation) Just CHECK IT!!!!
ME: (arghhh) Geez. Okay, I’ll call you back.
Here is what she sent me:
And there you have it. It happened. I can see it. I can see Hippielib’s little barefooted, pajama-wearing hippie baby at the event I doubted ever happened.
And you know what? I still don’t fucking remember it. I was there. I mean I can see I was fucking THERE.
But was I really? I dressed my kid in white pajamas, with no shoes, to attend the first Sacrament of his spiritual life in a house of worship.
Those two years of my life described in “I Doubt It” , they’re gone. They are so gone. But thank you Mom, for coming through with the proof and making me think someone was dead in order to surprise me with it.
While I no longer believe in bows, and am not at all sure what that says about my spiritual worthiness, I do believe in pudding. Pudding tastes good.
I like pudding.