Fear and Loving in Petaluma

July 2, 2014

I missed writing my blog last week because there was a lot going on: several days of crushing despair also known as PMS, a lost and found cat, some mysterious piles of poo that have appeared near our garage and back door. (Either a serial killer with Chron’s Disease is stalking us or a very, very large raccoon is in our midst. If my family turns up dead from knife wounds or rabies, the mystery will be solved.) I also had to go to the dentist. Going to the dentist is like going to the mechanic. I have no idea what they’re really doing under the hood but it’s always expensive. And painful. Dental pain is worse than labor.

 

The other thing that made me procrastinate is that I’ve been trying to write about love. I wanted to expand on one of the prompts used during last week’s Mornings with Moms group. Even though I could categorize much of my life as a disaster—my flossing regime, the number of VolderMom episodes I’ve had this week, that stubborn belly fat my Facebook feed ads keep reminding me about—the one thing that feels fundamentally right in my life is love.

 

Trying to boil it down, however, into a few scenes without sounding like a Hallmark knock-off has been totally impossible. There are moments of our lives together that stand out in my mind, like in the early days when I was in grad school and we lived in our little apartment in Fair Oaks. We had so much free time back then. We could read the newspaper together in bed while drinking orange juice from a carafe. (If we had had a carafe back then. Now that I think about it, we didn’t even have a bed. We slept on some sleeping bags piled on the floor for months.) Talk about true love. There’s no way in hell I’d sleep on the floor these days. Even with our primitive sleeping arrangements, the lack of lumbar support, and my even-then sketchy oral hygiene, we were happy. We had love.

 

I still haven’t figured out the gist of what I want to say about that, but while trying to write about my love for Andrew, it occurred to me that for some of us, writing itself is an act of love. Giving one’s self the quiet and space needed to siphon off some of the thoughts rolling around in the old noggin is an act of self-love.

 

Ron Weasley once said “You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” For me, having the nerve means working on my book, no matter how terrible the first draft seems to be. Maybe it’s like that for you too. Picture, it, there we are, with our pens and papers surrounded by mountains of unfolded laundry, just doing it. Writing badly about love. Or whatever needs to be written.

 

The characters we create, the memories we exhume and scribble down, they’ll be there for us long after those piles of laundry are folded and put away and dirtied again. Maybe we can’t hold on to love or freshly folded towels forever, but with enough nerve we can write about it and have something substantial that says I was here. I lived. I cleaned up a strange person’s (or very large raccoon’s) poo and lived to tell about it. If you have stories you don’t want to forget, or that you’ve been longing to create, join us and give it a try.

 

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