Monday, January 03, 2011

Consciousness is a Turbulent Stream

Frankenstein wanted to pick flowers. Dracula wants a meaningful relationship. Aliens are just satisfying an innate scientific curiosity when they abduct and probe humans. And me? I'm just trying to work some things out aloud.

Someone mistook me for a budding author yesterday. An easy mistake since I did write a novel in November which I am editing now. There are forty-some pages of a memoir started years ago, and hundreds of pages of sermons that I try to pretend aren't taking up every inch of filing space. But I am not a budding author.

Here's how this works. As far as all that written on paper stuff - it's just a phase I am going through (like Frankenstein's lab destruction phase.) Some people do marathons. Some try eating contests. Some dabble in kama sutra. Me? I just write stuff down every now and again. I will grow out of it at some point. Probably when the weather warms up.

The blog on the other hand is my ongoing conversation with friends, family, former congregants, and myself. (As far as you strangers go, you are welcome as long as you don't weird me out, but I do strongly suggest you figure out what on earth brought you here.) When I wrote back in June about my clothing failures we all got to know each other REAL WELL. You write and say, "What do you think about..." and I respond. It isn't writing - it is just talking while saving our vocal cords.

Two friends whom I've known for over twenty years recently confessed to keeping up with the blog. Both did so a wee bit sheepishly. Let me put this out there once and for all: YOU ARE NOT STALKING ME IF YOU READ THIS BLOG.

The guy with the webcam outside my kitchen window? Stalking. The friend who sends me postcards? Not stalking. The one who drives by my house on purpose but does not stop to say hi? Stalking. Readers of the blog? Not stalking. Facebook and Google searches? Let me get back to you on those.

My friend Michelle published a critically acclaimed novel and she has to go around and read from it all the time. I was sort of hoping that writing it down would mean I could move on and do something else. I would rather read your grocery list aloud than to read aloud more than once something I've written. I haven't even re-read any blog posts of my own in years. It would be like replaying a telephone call. (This is my way of getting off the hook for being redundant in my posts. I forget that you have been on all my trips to rebuild the Gulf Coast, funeral conventions, and the funerals of my friends and loved ones.)

Enough of that - what did you get for Christmas? Is that not the weirdest question ever? In my house we did 16 days of Hanukkah because I flunked the first go round. We did the winter solstice, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and Day, and my husband's birthday. Somewhere in there I hosted a mini-reunion for my high school friends from out of town. Over the season I saw over sixty of my family and friends. What did I get? Great memories and indigestion.

I have been over conspiculous consumption so long I don't think I was ever under it. It was an easy step for me to take part in Yes! magazine's "No Impact Week" this week. It is set up in a way that seems inspired by Kwanzaa. Each day represents a different principle of reduction of our impact on the environment. Yesterday was consumption. Today is trash.

Those are two issues I think of often. It was impossible not to think of them during the holiday season. The blessing of a difficult economy is that we all were pretty creative in gift giving this year. There was not a giant pile of trash at the end of it all. As far as consumption is concerned, the days when I did not have to buy anything were the best days of the season.

So this is what I am up to this week. I am writing just for the hell of it. I am thinking about my family's impact on the environment and ways to cut back even further. I am still making resolutions for the new year. The number has gone up again but getting organized, losing weight, and stopping smoking are nowhere on it. Oh crap. I forgot to start smoking in 2010. Another lost opportunity for growth and change.

It would not be me if there weren't something kind of depressing: I am thinking about my uncle a lot these days. He died less than five months ago and some of the pain is really just hitting now. Much of the pain is not my own personal feelings but due to being part of a network of family who love each other and hurt for each other. My parents are sad. My children miss him. My extended family are all dealing with his absence in their own personal ways. But at the heart of it we are all wishing he did not have to die alone, even if it was his choice. We thought so much more of him than he thought of himself. And that just makes us sad.

Six of us went to a church service yesterday which included a ritual for those who died and were born in 2010. It was painful for us to stand in his honor wishing he had chosen life and not fully understanding his long struggle. But just as we were seated and passing tissues down the aisle, we had to stand up again in honor of my brother's baby who was born this year. And the tears that came with that one felt more refreshing than the earlier tears. She is an adorable addition to the family and we are lucky to have her.

Yesterday I was supposed to keep my trash for No Impact Week. I had panty hose packaging (recyclable), hard candy wrappers from keeping the kids occupied during the service, twenty used tissues (all mine), a receipt from the comfort lunch I dragged everyone to, and the tags I took off the new PJ's my mom gave me that I put on at 5:30PM. "For where your treasure is, there too your trash will be."

Happy New Year!
May you have more blessings than heartaches.
May you fall in love with the world all over again.
May you see something amazing in nature.
May you have moments of bliss and inspiration peppered in with meaningful work.
May you push yourself to be your best and forgive yourself when you fall short.
When it is time for you to leave us, may you be missed. But may that time be a long ways off.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to send your grocery list.

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