Yes, I wish that title meant I was body surfing in some magnificent ocean right now, but it doesn’t. The title refers to the ever-existent and ever-changing waves of life. I work really hard to maintain the simple details, while at the same time keep cognizant of the bigger picture at the heart of it all.
It’s not easy. Focus becomes lost in the compulsion to escape into delusions of what could be. That’s what the writing used to be for, but as I start to garner some modicum of success (thank you emerging fans!), my knee jerk reaction is to hide. Success requires expectations. I’m not great with expectations. Being lost in ambiguity means never having to live up to expectations. That feels safer. And so it goes…
For the rest of May, I’m focusing on my script. I worked on more of the outline for Book 5, Blonde in the Backwater, Copyright 2013. It’s always in the back of my mind. But I think it will help to get this script accomplished.
Giving myself a break from the book will allow me let some of the several plot strands ruminate in my head and give them a chance to make more sense together. A script is quick, only 60 pages. It forces me to sharpen my focus. And I think I really need that right now.
Life is never really stagnant. It’s always moving. That movement can feel more abrupt at some times than others. I feel like it’s looming over me right now. I need to maintain my balance. I need to just ride it out. Drowning is not an option.
I was granted many blessings and abilities (though I don’t always see or appreciate them) in my life. I was not granted patience. I hate waiting. Microwave popcorn takes too damn long. Stoplights are maddening. And Wisconsin’s usually procrastinating spring is just plain torture.
As I’ve stated earlier, we just lived through one of the coldest winters in 75 years, the coldest for many of us in our entire lives. And spring is whimpering in like a beaten dog. We’re so despirate up here for spring, that we are looking at highs in the low fifties (twenty degrees below where we should be right now) and saying, “Well, it could certainly be worse. We had snow this time last year.”
For gardeners it’s an added aggravation. You know those pretty pictures you always see of crocuses blooming with a ring of snow around them? Yeah, we had that; more enjoyable in the picture than real life.
Finally the snow is gone. The carcases hiding in the snowbanks have been exposed and finished off by starving eagles. Emaciated deer are chewing whatever they can find. The robins are finally able to indulge in fresh worms.
And the many leaves that blew in from other yards after mulching was done last fall are covering my garden beds, mocking me. I see little green shoots peeking out underneath them. I lift up the leaves in a few spots. And the rationalizing begins. “Theses are perennials, right? They’re suppose to be cold hardy. They wouldn’t be leafing out right now if they weren’t suppose to be uncovered. They need the sun.” I swear I can actually hear the rake in the garage calling me, “Come and get me. I promise to be gentle. You know you want to…”
But past experience has taught me otherwise. It’s too soon. So I put at least some of the leaves carefully back, and then I sigh despondently, and I walk away. The old adage up here is, you never uncover the garden beds until after Mother’s day. You don’t plant annuals until Memorial weekend. One little dip in the fickle jet stream, and the damage is done.
I always laugh bitterly when I watch the news in Washington DC and they are showing off the cherry blossoms around the Capitol in April. This year it was more painful than funny. This year it was just mean.
I wonder what it’s like to be present and aware all the time. I honestly wouldn’t know. My mind has a ridiculously short attention span. It wanders off at a moment’s notice with little encouragement. It just goes, and the rest of me must stay on task in the mean time. I could be driving, or cooking, or working at a job, or showering, any number of things while I’m conscious of a completely different place and time, and I’m speaking and thinking for fictitious people who are not me.
The constant multitasking can be irritating to the people who have to interact with me. I try to be present for others to the best of my abilities, especially when I’m getting paid to do so, but I don’t always succeed. My husband bears the brunt of it, but he likes my writing, so his understanding has increased. After a decade of marriage, I assume he’s gotten used to it by now and has lowered his expectations about my undivided attention accordingly.
The problem is that I like being someplace else. There’s so much going on, and I’m in control of it, unlike reality. I don’t feel in control of my own life most of the time. In reality I’m usually just hanging on and trying to appreciate what I’ve been given in the time I have. In the other place (or places) that occupy my mind, I have a better feel of direction and purpose. There, I get to make sense of the senseless. I get to expose hidden motives to the insanity going on in whatever drama I have chosen to occupy my time with.
In a nutshell, reality is overwhelming. An overactive imagination is liberating.