This letter is for Heather, but read it too, if you want to. Written in response to her letter challenge post, below.
I know, this letter could have been to anyone, and we don’t know each other at all. I could have written something ethereal or poignant or witty or revealing, but I’m going with authentic. I wanted to write, and see how you are. Yes, others might read this, but I’m writing from me to you. You see, I heard bits of what you said, and thought “yes, oh yes, I know”, but then of course I recognise that I don’t know, do I? My kids are a little younger than yours, and there’s only half as many, but dear lord do they keep my busy. And I don’t mean just the ferrying about or the feeding. I mean the negotiating, the deescalating, the worrying. Some days, I feel like I’m getting it all wrong, and maybe I am, but the truth is, some families are soaking up troubles other families know nothing about. Probably most families are, in different ways. Then you add the extras in – the big stuff on top of the every-day stuff, and you realise how little capacity you had left. But that’s what I’m struck by with you, it seems to me that even when you’re feeling full to the brim, you make space for people. Family, yes, always I’m guessing, but also I felt like your letter was a little tap on the arm saying “I know you’ve not seen me around so much lately, but I’ve been keeping an eye out, and I’d love to catch up just as soon as we are both free.” And you had the generosity to make that an open invitation. So let’s catch up.
How’s the novel coming? Have those parallel worlds taken shape in your mind? Do you know how it ends before you start, or are you waiting to see what comes? I mean, you’ve got to be an expert by experience on the art of a good read, the way you devour books. I’m finding it so hard to read much lately. Partly it’s the being busy, partly it because I keep reading things here instead of picking up a book. Getting really pulled into a book is such an amazing feeling though, isn’t it? Just to lose yourself, be somewhere else, sometime else, someone else. I love it. I do think it can stop us learning to sit with our own horrible feelings though. Why sit with them, when we can go elsewhere? Pain once removed is kind of easier to bear. But sometimes its adventure and sometimes its avoidance, for me at least. What’s the difference, really? I guess one is going towards, one is running from.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that maybe I do have a clue what you face in your life, maybe I don’t, but I do feel like I know you’ll navigate it. Shit happens, and we get knocked off the path we thought we were on all the time. Sometimes I think we can burn up so much energy trying to get back on the path we thought we SHOULD be on, instead of building the things that matter to us on the path we ARE on, and I feel like that is something you know how to do, keep what counts, and head out onto the next path, making an adventure of it along the way. Maybe pulling out that novel is part of that. But others who KNOW you know you, what do you think they would say?
I’m starting a new adventure myself soon. Got a new job starting in about a month, and SO much to do wrapping up this one before I finish, alongside the general ongoing family shit show. On top of that, we are dog sitting for my parents. They were due back last night but their flight got cancelled, and talk about outstaying your welcome. This morning, I took the beast out to walk in the cemetery round the corner. She seemed to be lingering a little too long behind the chapel, so I amble over to see what’s going on, and she turns to me…with a human fucking poo hanging out her mouth. Oh dear lord, revolting creature. To be fair, who expects to find a human poo in the cemetery, but we don’t live in the nicest area! I’ve just come home from chasing this dog between the grave stones yelling “DROP IT” while she zoomed around looking delighted with herself. She’s not shy with the kisses, either. Eugh. God knows what any passers-by thought.
Right, I am off to make lunch, not that I feel like it now. But Heather, whatever it is you have going on, I want you to ask yourself one question…what would Maverick do?