Thursday, April 22, 2010

The New Me

It's a week now. Officially. I've been reassessing in light of the news I got last Wednesday that, yes, I had finally done it. It was a story, it was what I wanted to say, and it was said well.
I've molted the old restricting skin of the writer who thought she could do it, but hadn't done it to her own satisfaction yet. I'm morphing into a new form now, under a wet and wrinkled skin, no idea what the new shape will be. I'll be as surprised as anyone.
I have no idea either if this is the more significant turning point, more significant than publication. Could be. It feels almost exactly like finding out the difference between fake love, the one you took for love because you didn't know, you didn't have any idea--and then the real one comes along. Suddenly it makes no difference that nine out of ten classmates had no idea what I was on about, because liftoff has been achieved and I'm flying now, waving to all those still on the ground. I probably won't understand when most of them achieve liftoff. After all, a great deal of published literature is not to my taste. My earlier frustrations can be seen in a new and brighter light. They now make a weird kind of sense.
I have to think about this more.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Early Morning

I have no trouble falling asleep at night. I only wake if the bladder presses or if the noise level sharply rises to my left. Recently the poor fellow has a sinus infection and this is bringing his usual low-riding street rod muffler snore into the trumpeting elephant range, so at 1:30 or 2 am, I find myself gently awoken, then the bladder will keep my from digging back down into sleep. I stumble to the bathroom, then the kitchen for half a glass of water (no more, or I'll be up again in an hour), check the time just for reference, then back to bed. A gentle nudge of his top shoulder and he rolls slightly, the snoring abates and it's back to dream land. After another long sleep with various kooky visuals (closets full of halter tops and miniskirts, none of which are suitable for me to wear to the wedding--whose wedding is it, again?) the scenario repeats itself. Hours seem to have passed, empires conquered and lost, screenplays written, filmed and discarded, yet when I hit the kitchen again, only 2 hours have passed. The sky is still dark and dawn nowhere near. This time when I return to the warm blankets, he is moaning, not in pain, but because the codeine-laced cough suppressant has flicked off some autonomic nerve switch that keeps all our moans inside and silent for most of our lives. I touch his temple with my fingertips and he stops. But when my fingers lift from his skin, he starts again.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oh, To Feel Hungry Again!

Every holiday and vacation with the extended family has become an endurance test. How many specialities and treats can be hoarded for the delectation of the tribe and then how many can you refuse before your elders take offense? They stocked up just for you! How can you be so rude as to decline to indulge? Especially since your indulgence allows them to sneak just a little off your plate. They shouldn't, they really shouldn't, but just a taste, a nibble really. Here in New York, the only activity my in-laws still have energy for is eating lunch at restaurants. But does that mean we can have moderate suppers? No, it does not. It's all-you-can-eat buffets for lunch and then the emotionally freighted comfort foods prepared especially for us in the evening.
I haven't felt hungry since 8 am ten days ago and won't again until two or three days after we get home, because after a week in New York being plied with Chinese, Indian, Mediterranean and home-cooked foods, we land right into Easter dinner my parents. They haven't spent the last week being wheedled by overeaters to try a little more, just a little more, why won't we please them and eat? My parents want us to want to have a big holiday feast with them. But it never ends. The cycle is so tight that there is no downtime between special days anymore.
I know very well that it is the very cemented nature of my family rootedness that makes me want the freedom of anomie. If once I got some anomie, I would probably run straight back into the entangling arms of my family.

Monday, April 5, 2010

In Search of Anomie

Yesterday was my day off--my vacation from my "vacation"--the one day while we're in New York that I get to do what I'd like. Well, within certain limits. I leave the apartment at 9 am and usually go to Times Square to look for a half-price ticket to a Broadway play. So that's what I did, but the big board didn't have much I was interested in seeing, the lines were very long and I didn't feel like waiting in line for something expensive I only half-wanted, only to get to the box office and find they were sold out. The two shows I almost wanted to see were "God of Carnage," about the crazed behavior of the nouvelle riche of Paris, or "Looped," about the nutty, outspoken Tallulah Bankhead. Well, I hardly needed a $60 reminder of the varieties of bad behavior in living rooms and restaurants on this earth. Contradictory and over-emotionally charged dictates from people you feel you must please (or at least humor)--the comedy in those situations has worn extremely thin for me. I made the mistake a year ago of going to "August: Osage County" and spent three hours in a parallel universe of dysfunction that was far too realistic.
So yesterday, I left the ticket line and walked south until I reached the West Village. Trees flowered on the little side streets. I walked until I was tired, found a cafe and read the New York Times. Then I walked some more until I ran across an Italian restaurant that appealed, so I spent my time and my $60 in a quiet solitary lunch without the hissed recriminations, or the forced feeding that reigns at my in-laws' dining table.
What I could not have: time alone with my husband. His parents assume we get plenty of that at home, but they're wrong. Whatever time we have is sucked up by his job, activities at our son's school, other family events. I can have a little break in New York, but my husband can't. His parents have no compunction about playing the guilt card on him as often as they like.
Walking alone, eating alone--I had a brief experience of detachment. What if no one knew where I was, no one waited for my to come home? For a moment, it seemed an enviable freedom, and one I might choose if I believed that it was that or suffocation. I did have to get back, though; if I don't return to the apartment by (latest) 6 pm, the anxiety goes off the charts. Thankfully, we go home in two days.