I’m sitting here in the living room, flanked by two snoring and obscenely languid cats. I’m trying to listen to a new album by one of my favorite artists, but because I’m technologically impaired, I’ve accidentally blended the new album with an older one, and I don’t know how to separate the two playlists. I’m afraid I’ll delete something permanently. I should really not be let near computers. And maybe not cars, either. I would never go into woodworking. So here I am, waiting for the new songs to pop up, out of order, on their own.
As I’m listening and waiting, I’m doing the really grotesque task of going through some old writing. What do you do with it? Once in a while, I think, “Oh, that’s nice! How in the world did my brain come up with that?” But even then, those instances are tempered by the more prevalent thought of, “Oh, this is such crap!”
What do you do with old writing? Do I hang on to all of these aged yellow legal pads, chronicling the way my handwriting mutates over the years? Or do I burn them in a Dumpster? Merely toss them out with the used kitty litter? These are not rhetorical questions. I do expect an answer. If I died tomorrow, would my soul cringe if others were to read these 30 page starts? Maybe that’s my answer. Burn, baby, burn.
I’ve never been through my own divorce, but I wonder if this extreme ambivalence is similar. Tossing the legal pads away means I’ve failed. Those characters, those plotlines, those ideas. I’ve failed them by not seeing them through to fruition. Setting them ablaze or tossing them in the trashbin acknowledges my failure, and I don’t know if I’m truly ready to do that.
On the other hand, it’s not my imagination. A lot of it is really horrible. I really wouldn’t want people to read it after my (unlikely!) demise and think, “Well, no wonder she was never published. Thank God!”
Sigh. I’m my own worst critic, I know it. I think it’s why I have such a problem sticking to it. There is a nearly full yellow legal pad sitting on my kitchen table, and I am thinking of cheating on it with a graph paper notebook full of other ideas. The graph paper notebook is fresh and new, with none of the problematic bits (yet), and is all new territory.
This must be how some people are with other people, but I am so introverted, I am cheating on myself with myself! I am going to make a strong pot of coffee and shove that graph paper notebook into a drawer and stay faithful to the yellow legal pad.
In other news, my daughter is acclimating to school. Her desire to please her teacher and follow the rules is overruling the disappointment of not having her friends in class with her. When I think of Iso at school, I either imagine dramatic moments of Sibelius, or Zez Confrey’s Kitten on the Keys.
Poor kid. I was always mortified at school, too, but it was different. I was so quiet and invisible, that I didn’t get teased very much. What use is teasing somebody too quiet to react? I was just as averse to showing a reaction as I was about receiving any attention. The kid at the end of the line, head down? That was me.
My kid, on the other hand, strives for that attention. She raises her hand in class– I avoided that even in college! I’m totally proud of her, but I have to say, it does open up a set of problems for her that I am not fully equipped to deal with. I know how to sideskirt problems and problematic people. Invis-O-Girl, that’s me! My daughter runs headlong into a problem, gives it a smack and then worries about it afterwards. She’s teaching me how to confront problems simply by existing, and hopefully I’m teaching her a little about choosing her battles. My dear, dear girl. I feel like she’s cavalry, on a white horse, and I’m a foot soldier or maybe a page trying to keep up. I wonder when she will figure this out, or if she already has. I wonder if she knows her mom is always trying, always on the lookout for when she will need my help to get her back up onto the horse.
No new cookie recipes today. I made sugar cookies again, and we are finishing them up. My husband did buy yet another box of plain, unfrosted mini-wheats again, though, so I’m going to have to come up with some kind of baked monstrosity to get rid of all of them!
Oh, speaking of husbands! The Quiet Americans were on yvynyl yesterday! He kicks major ass on the guitar, don’t you know. And it is funny that the reviewer compared him to Vince Noir, because just the other week we were on the couch watching The Mighty Boosh and he was lamenting (maybe that’s a strong word choice) that he was not one of the Vince Noirs of the world. I told him that Vince Noir is the flashy dresser, but it’s Howard who is actually handsome. I don’t think he knew if he should be jealous or not! Ha! I wonder if he ever is, really? I sincerely doubt it.