October 13 or so
The (very tired, jetlagged, wornout, but good, healthy, and happy) eagle (a.k.a. me) has landed. As of very, very late Monday night (which was actually very, very early in the morning on Tuesday), I'm back in the U.S.
Sorry it's been so long since my last post. Of course, I'd planned to blog during our 10 days in Ireland, but--ah-hem--it didn't happen. Too much life going on to pause for the written word. (Actually I just typed "written world," which is some type of perhaps-not-Freudian-but-maybe-Freudian slip.)
So I'm here. And the sky outside is that crispy blue that blesses New England on perfect days in the autumn. The leaves are deliciously crimsony-buttery-ochre and although I had to force myself out of bed this morning, I did & was rewarded with a perfect sunrise during my walk/run/walk/run/mostly walk with a little running.
Been thinking about tons of stuff while I haven't been writing:
- Stephen Elliott of The Rumpus...whose daily newslettery notes I've missed and am looking forward to catching up on. If you don't subscribe to his daily missives, you should. And once you do, it may take you a while to connect to them cause he's really honest and raw and open about stuff we humans usually like to hide and only share with people we go to bed with or break bread with or sit next to on a subway during an extra-long ride, but after a while, I'll bet you'll be as addicted to them as me.
- How many people write blogs. This fascinates me. How many people have all this stuff in their heads that they want to share with the world.
- How weird it is that I don't have a return ticket to China. First time in five years. We're back in the U.S. to stay and I have to figure a way to (re)create a writing life...and a life-life...here.
- The five-year cycle in my life. Every five years I change my life drastically--geographically and relationship-wise. Always have. This major move back to my home country with a husband and daughter in tow is no exception. It's huge and significant. We're talking about buying a house, which I've never done, and I've been thinking about how permanent that feels to me and how permanence might scare the beejeebies out of me just a wee bit. Of course, I know permanence is a thing of the imagination and that nothing is ever really permanent, but still...
A Few Days Later
I'm thinking about China a lot. As expected. Today, Andrew, Tully, and I took a mile-long marsh walk in the woods. It was symbolic of everything I missed so much when I was in China. Trees and grass and sky and clean air and quiet and crunch-under-foot and the smear of colors and THAT smell and so on. I hugged trees, said hello to rocks, introduced Tully to various bugs, and waved to the ocean.
One thing I did manage to do during the past few weeks was read Jonathan Franzen's FREEDOM, and although I was bored and annoyed for the first 100 pages or so, by the halfway mark, I was hooked. And gobsmacked. It's pretty darn good. One of the first comments I started making early on in the book was "It is SO American." And that feeling got stronger and stronger as I read...the characters are SOOOOOO American. Perhaps this stood out so much to me since I'm in the process of repatriating to the United States after almost five years in China (or perhaps other readers were aware of it as much?).
During my time in China, I became acutely aware of what others think of Americans...how we're viewed...the positives and negatives. This is a complicated topic of which I'm barely scratching the surface...so bear with me. One of the things that hit me hard while reading FREEDOM is that in the U.S. we have the privilege of passion. In other words, we get to be passionate about any damn tiny thing we want to be passionate about (like Walter and his token bird) and we're allowed (for the most part) to act like nutcases about it. (more later)
And A Few Days Later Than A Few Days Later
Earlier this week, I got sick. Really sick. Like with a fever and everything. I felt like the stuff buried under the filthiest sludge in the world. I was in a daze and could barely function. I'm surprised and not surprised that this happened in the midst of this repatriation. Physically and emotionally, I'm spent.
A week ago (pre-fever), I got ambitious and attempted to do a bit of rewriting on the novel. That surge of creative energy lasted all of 35 seconds, but I tell you what, in that 35 seconds I finally rewrote a sentence that has been bugging me for months. And all it took was one word. One simple word: windy. So even though the surge was shortlived, it was successful. (At this rate, I could finish writing the novel by 2083.)
OMG...I love crispy green seedless grapes. F'in awesome. I missed them.
Signing off now. This surge is subsiding too.