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Entries in book (3)


The Word: A Story

I pull the wool cap down over my ears and knot the scarf.  Swallow the lump in my throat, jam my hands deep into my pockets and step out into the searing blue sun of a late winter afternoon.  It is time, finally, to be honest with each other, something I don't always believe in, the truth being so slippery and easily obscured by obstacles in our own hearts and minds.  It is hard to see things as they really are and to name them correctly in the moment.  It is hard to hear each other well.

I let this wash over me, stinging my skin like ice crystals: You didn't do it right.

Draw back the arrow and release: Why did you change?

Frozen ground crunches under our feet and there is one truth I believe as it swims up in front of my teary eyes: you are you and I am me, and there is no talking either of us out of that.  I can see my breath.  I see our story stretched out on a gossamer thread, behind us and before us.  Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  This is only the middle, I see. 

So we do this:  accept, and keep creating our story.


This is the word that keeps coming up for me, as I contemplate what to set as intention and guide for 2013:


This is a year to own my own story, and to receive others' stories in nuance, acceptance and fullness.  It is a time to study the elements of story and to improve my facility with them.  I aspire to strengthen my storytelling both in my professional life and here, in my personal work.  I will return to my reading life, my bedside table stacked high with books waiting to be loved.  I will write and shoot in an effort to illuminate the threads that hold us together. 

I am afraid to make any claims about honesty but I believe there's truth in the story, and I hope that will guide me through the coming year.


How Fast to Go

the first rule of Camp

I've been worried a lot lately about my timing.  That I'm late to all the parties.  That I don't even know about the parties until they're practically over.  That this obtuseness of mine will get in the way of ever creating what I really crave.

My mom sent me a present yesterday, one of a long string of books that she has a way of presenting at exactly the right time.  I thought about a book she sent me during my years of avoiding the onset of adulthood finding myself in Asia in my 20s.  I can't remember the name of it now, but it was a series of letters between two best girlfriends in their 20s, one who was trying to start a publishing career in New York and the other who was in the Peace Corps in Africa.  The one who was striving to create a big-time professional career wrote something that has always stuck with me:

I have realized that I am too old to be a prodigy.  So, since I'm apparently never going to be the best or the first at something, I'm just wondering how fast to go.

I get this.  I so get this, especially now, in my own big-time professional career, as I consider whether I could actually be the best at something.  Or great, anyway.  Or is it already too late?

But as I hurtled myself through this week at breakneck speed, the idea came to me that maybe I'm not too late.  Maybe I'm just laying the groundwork for my own party.  Maybe I'll look back and realize that my timing has been absolutely perfect, all along.


Edited to add that I stopped being lazy and looked up the book, Dear Exile.  It's been years since I read it, but I recall it being completely charming.


A Classic

106.365 50mm f1.4 1/200 ISO 200Some friends gave Ez this book before he was born and in the past week or so it's become one of his favorites.  He keeps saying I wanna read the green book.  How could I resist that?  I want to love this book.  It's Shel Silverstein for crying out loud.  It's a classic!

But I am ambivalent. 

It's supposed to be about the satisfaction of selflessly giving.  At least I think that's what it's supposed to be about.  But every time I read it I'm struck by the notion that it's about the danger of losing yourself completely if you give too much to one who is undeserving.  And about the futility of us humans looking for happiness externally.  And aging alone.  Oh, and thoughtless deforestation.  And did I mention that it's really sad too?

Maybe I'm thinking too much about it because I haven't read a novel in months, but that's heavy for a two-year-old, no?  Or maybe I should take it as a sign that he's ready for me to tackle something bigger.  Think it's too early to read some Mark Twain aloud?