I woke up a bit late this morning, as I went back to bed after feeding the cats. I like to see what happens in morning dreams, but only once in a while. (Want a soundtrack to this post? This fits.)
Life is happening, I don’t want to sleep through it.
Around 6:30 a.m., Bill texted me a photo of himself in some sort of medieval re-enactment (very kingly, I like it) and then Miss Fish nudged me up to fill the bird feeder.
The Fishstick dislikes it when the feeder runs dry, because she watches the spectacle like TV. Luckily she rarely tries to catch anybody (except nocturnal field-mice, she would never pass that up).
The birds mostly ignore the cats. You can’t really see the Uncle Albert Towhee in the lower right of the photo below, but I’ll admire him or her for you. They have the tiniest little heads, but also, black is very slimming and their faces are black. I might just believe that they have tiny heads, just like I thought that their name was Albert.
Allison told me that they are Abert’s Towhees, and I did not forget it. But I still call them all Uncle Albert, the name tinged with faint sadness for its inaccuracy but mitigated by the pleasure of knowing that I know the actual truth as well.
When I was at Carlisle’s this week, sitting in her pretty front room with spider plants and rugs and books and pictures of animals, waiting for my monthly massage (you should do this too, have a massage, I mean, the waiting isn’t really a factor in my recommendation, I was just behind one of those tedious people who won’t shut up and leave when their time is over) I put in my headphones and took out the book I’d brought along to read (Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, Third Edition) and then this poem by Hugh Prather fell out.
It’s one of my favorites, and I kind of read his little book Notes To Myself until it fell apart, so now I can carry individual pages around. They aren’t numbered, anyway; the book seems randomly arranged, so any random page is right, wherever it lands.
I only amend this poem for myself to add the responsibility to try to say how this feels, not just to do it. It’s all I ask of myself in return for a beautiful, rich life. Just to tell the truth about how it feels.
Sometimes I succeed, mostly I fail. I don’t mind about THAT. That’s just what writing is like.
The past few days, though, my head has been swirling, and some parts of the swirl shout out to be written down, like my sudden refusal to accept (and this coming directly, like a slap, after watching Bryan Ferry’s gorgeously produced video short about making the Gatsby music) the fact that I don’t have jack shit prepared as a package release for my sudden and certain vanishment from Terra.
I can and should do better.
I don’t want a sloppy exit. I’ve decided that my Love Letters project, which is the longest-brewing project of my entire life so far (and by that definition ought to the best result) should be exactly that, my celebration of everything I loved best on Terra. My co-author Doriot and I will be together for almost a month in Europe this summer, and although my official agenda is to write the text for CGB Volume II (from Barcelona no less!) I hope to also rough out a living farewell. I’ve hoped this for two years now, but it hasn’t been time.
After making CGB, though, I have a lot of ideas about this; I see no reason why a memory palace shouldn’t be alive, like a garden, and magically morph into a goodbye package at that moment of abandonment, folding outward from itself like one of our Fortunetellers, and spitting out, like seeds, a series of things.
This part of my life, it has simply got to be classed as high season.
I mean, every second of it should have been, I see that now.
But if I were an apartment, it would be now that my rent would be through the roof.