I’m eating ice cream in my office. I have never done this before. Indulged, alone, during the work day, with ice cream. I mean, I’ve indulged with cheese puffs and chocolates, but never ice cream.
I’m at a lull in work, two assignments handed in, waiting for edits. Six stories to research, at the very beginning stages. Not a lull, really, but time enough to take a walk and eat ice cream and curse and wonder at the date: October 1.
I’m at that age where cursing the calendar is cursory, but it’s really not cursory, it’s almost automatic. I hear I should be thankful every day that I have lived this long, approaching 50. And I am. I hear I am young. And I am. And I am not young. I am at the age where I can’t bear to go on Facebook to see one more post about my 30th high school reunion. Not while I am raising a 16-year-old because I need not one reminder of how I felt in high school.
I am pausing after I eat my ice cream to write about where I am at in my life. Maybe because I have asked my writing students to write for ten minutes every day, a free write using my prompts if they want to use them. But I’m not free writing every day. I’m chasing deadlines for work, teaching writing, working in a bookstore, buying groceries, soaking in my kids who are no longer kids every single second that I can. While wondering what comes next in my writing life.
All I can say is I am not writing my memoir. That last week I tried to write a story for work that involved special needs parenting and it triggered every last emotion that I experienced when Liz Annie was small and hating school and not learning to read or count because it wasn’t being approached in a way she could understand.
This is what my friend Jane was talking about when she said I had to decide what I want to work on, where I am at with memoir. I almost can’t write that I am tired of the past. I am tired of the past.
I love memoir.
I am tired of the past.
There’s no real deciding. There is just my time and how I spend it. No matter how many hours I give to thinking about what I want to work on next, I am already working on what I am working on next when I make my way through every day. Poetry. Work assignments for parenting magazines. Blogging. Teaching. Bookstore working. Making dinner. Buying groceries. Walking the dog. Walking myself. Being with the people I love.
I’m trying to listen as I go about my days. I am trying to ask myself clearly: what do you want to do next?
I want to count my breaths. Take in the sky. Write a few perfect lines every day. Stop worrying and just be. Just be. Just be here now, eating ice cream in a lull, working on taking care of myself. I want to be enough whether or not I ever finish the memoir I started with every hurt in my body singing loudly. I wanted to make grace out of my pain. I did make grace out of it: I learned how to parent my girl, one minute at a time.
I’m breathing in this in-between time. The sky is October grey. I’ll continue to write it all down.