I have been writing, I swear. It’s just that what comes out won’t please, won’t make you laugh and lollop with llamas and fit into the mold of lighthearted fiction. What I’m writing wakes me in the morning and makes my fingers fly, roars forth, rips tears from my makeup-from-the-night-before eyes.
I’m expelling, I’m sure. Vomiting forth grief, and shock, and bemusement and fear for the future. I thought this grief would be quick. I thought the horridness of my father would make for a smooth transition to fatherlessness. I thought the equanimity of my divorce, the already-deadness of the marriage would mean I wouldn’t feel the loss.
But I guess not.
Mother’s Day approaches, and I remember how Mom liked flowers as much as any woman, and probably more. How she’d point out every bulb bursting forth from every tree planter on our block from Third to Lexington, every first forsythia cascading yellow over the grey-brown walls of the Central Park transverses, and ooh over the roses in the Conservatory Gardens.
I thought I dispelled my grief for her over months and years and therapy and trips to Kripalu to cry and commiserate and breathe deep yoga-scented breaths. But by damn, a little dose of Mom would go down smooth right now.
What to do, Mom? Buy a house and settle here, alone? Make no sudden moves, stay in my less-than-special rental, or move back to the city you loved and a love of which you instilled in your kids ‘til neither of us could imagine an identity other than New Yorker?
I still get Dad’s subscription, forwarded on to Santa Fe with the rest of his estate-of mail. And I still let it pile up, too precious to dump, and only read it for the cartoons or not at all, shameful I know. I suspect the New Yorker is the most shame-inducing, least-read periodical of all time. Even you were backlogged three issues on the nightstand, Mom.
Anyhow, I thought I’d be better by now. Ready to date, ready to commit, ready to write lovely llamas and hot tub hippies and heroes with a twinkle in their eyes. And I’m trying, I’m doing it by drips and drabs, though damn the work is slow. Only forgive me, gentle folks, if I need a moment still to let the “what the FUCK?!” flow. I’m still in it, whether I wish or no. And I guess that’s how it’s gonna be a little while yet.
My friend Pam asked me to describe my writing process. At this moment I’m in my living process, and what I write won’t be bent to my will. It just needs release, so that’s what I’m doing, whether or not the rage and pain and sadness ever see the light of day. Bear with me, friends. The llamas will come.