Full and happy

Los Angeleno by birth, Northwesterner by choice, Second-hander by nature. Librarian, housebound chef, father, and lowly subject ruled over by the needs and whims of a very old house.
Partial to Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese cookery but will eat damn near anything. Collector of many strange things..the result is chaos and anarchy and a very pleasant place to live.
There is pleasure in accumulation, not just "collecting": music, books and film, in all their multi-formated glory. Outsider artists and those kinds of prints you would recognize if you took liberal studies classes in college. Cooking implements and gadgets for recipes still untried or those ventured. Glasses for most types of libations. Flowers in the garden, herbs in the pot.
It's a life of the senses and a good home life reflects that. Walking helps take in all the rest. Requires no special equipment, opens up the pores, brightens the taste buds, clears the decks for further adventures, puts on the miles, widens the eyes and helps fuel the imagination.

Live boldly, play graciously and love with all your heart knowing that true love comes only once or twice in this lifetime. Speaking of which..donde estas, Empress of my Heart?


"Lack imagination and miss the better story" Yann Martel

"Life is a great adventure and I want to say to you, accept it in such spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out. To go down without complaining and abiding by the result....the worst of all fears is the fear of living." Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

"Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you
You must travel it for yourself" Walt Whitman

And above all, friends should possess the rare gift of sitting. They should be able, no, eager, to sit for hours-three, four, six-over a meal of soup and wine and cheese, as well as one of twenty fabulous courses.

Then, with good friends of such attributes, and good food on the board, and good wine in the pitcher, we may well ask,

When shall we live if not now?

-From Serve it Forth,
M.F.K. Fisher

Friday, September 25, 2009

"If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time"

Time. I've always felt it was a bit like the Bukowski title, something about the wild horses running, but, my case, not just away but over a cliff. I never felt completely in control of time, not in the way that some people seem to be. Sure, I have always been punctual, maybe not with time to spare but when the clock said to be someplace at 12:15, I was there. No messing around with that.

No, it's that other aspect of time, that use of time that says the horses, Whoa! , that slows them down, that turns them at the last minute from spilling over, willy nilly, tumble bumble, into the ravine. I want a way to brake time, to slow it down, to give me that much needed twentyfifth hour in a 24 hour day. I want somehow for my children to stop growing up so fast, for the calendar pages to stop falling so relentlessly, for the seasons to quit skipping by so quickly and just cool it for a bit, just learn to stroll and enjoy themselves in the way they never seemed to in the past.

I woke up the other morning at two thirty or so, thinking it was six. Something about that big hand in the distance made me think that the night had passed and that it was time for me to get up. Well, it must have been the cat or something but I did get up and he came in and then the night just passed oh so slowly after that. I have to wonder what the difference was right then and there about time, how time in that sense, in the dark warmth of my bed, could drag by with the speed of cold molasses, versus time when I'm at the beach or a park or in the city with my kids and I look down at my watch and see that it's eleven thirty and two minutes later I look down and find out that it's time for dinner. What the hell is the difference?

My take on it? The difference is novelty.

There's something about corralling four kids in a park, all with different needs and and issues trying to slow down time versus laying in your bed, with night sounds surrounding you, the darkness hiding secrets in the corners of your room, to give time a new twist. The other night I woke up in the back of my car in a sleeping bag in the middle of friend's field on the outskirts of Twisp. I had gone over the mountain to see an old friend of mine who had paintings to sell and we ended up at his friend's house to see them. This artist pal of my pal had a huge workshop where there was plenty of room to store my friends oversized works. After the drive and a couple of beers and a lengthy viewing of various art pieces I found that sleeping hard was my first desire, but then novelty took over at three and stood in sleep's place for a couple hours. It helped to change my whole perception of life as it stands right now, that's for sure.

There is nothing quite like waking up in a completely strange place and not really knowing where you are, who around you are friends and how close help could be found in an emergency. See, that's novelty speaking. I was safe in three season bag in the back of my wagon. I had friends close by and there was nothing to worry about. I had the whole universe spinning overhead in all it's magnificence and all I could do at the moment was worry. But once I let worry pass it was all okay. The night tripped by slowly, not too much different than it did for me in my bed the other night. The big difference between waking up in the middle of a field in Twisp instead of my bed was that I was in the midst of an adventure. When I woke up in my bed and stumbled out of it to let in the cat I missed out on working the novelty aspect of the night. I could have slapped on some Dixieland and started writing. Instead I struggled to go back to sleep. What a waste of an adventure.

Right now I don't need a clock to know what time it is. Outside of hustling for work online and working on projects around the house I don't need a watch to remind me what time it is. Right now I could reinvent time if I wanted to, but discipline keeps messing with that. I want to stay in bed some days, sleep in past eight but I find that that's impossible to do. I want to goof off something badly but when I do I fret thinking I've pissed away the best part of a day. I figure if I'm not breaking a sweat I'm squandering time, but then, I think of my drive the other day to and fro and up and over the mountains to the Methow and think, man, I need more of that. Less structure, more goofing, more enlightenment, more joy, more laughter, more adventure.

But big adventures take capital. Right now I'm all spent out. My bills are paid, my utilities doubled up and my larder relatively full. I have books and movies out the wazoo so going out and hitting second hands will just have to wait awhile. I have tools enough and supplies enough to get most jobs on my things to do list done around here, but the bathroom and tile projects will just have to wait till my ship comes in. I have time right now to write, and so my novel is underway and that's grand, too. I have unimpeded time to walk or lift weights or whatever, so long as it's close to home. I suppose that's the rub. It's hard to slow down time in your neighborhood when you've been there awhile and feel like you've seen it all. But one thing I discovered last winter when I was without a car and that's once you get close to the ground everything changes.

Now that I am "in-between positions" life has gone and done that...changed up and made everything different. Right now life is one big novelty store. And I suppose that's what I crave the most: to be able to wander around awhile, pick up this and that and apply it to my life, change my life, myself, into something new and completely different. I want new, not so much new as in consumer goods but new for me. I want to reinvent the man who found his way here so that he doesn't have to leave the same man and make the same mistakes again. I have the time right now to reinvent myself in a way that I've never had before. I have no partner, lover, wife around to make lists for me or place demands on me. My children are five hundred miles away so I don't have to meet their needs for the moment. I have no work clock or organizational expectations to face and bow before so that part is good, too. I have well meaning friends who remind that times are hard and my wait time for employment could be awhile. Maybe that's what I've been needing. A good long wait. Like waiting in a station for a train to come. The adventure is before me and all it requires is a bit of patience and a lot of imagination.

Time off. I have to admit that I found that sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. In the midst of a hellish summer reading club day I told a coworker that I really wished for a summer without summer reading. As fundamental as it is for our business it felt forced right then and there, all too much paper work, all too much noise. I felt that all that hub-bub got in the way of the joy, the thrill, the novelty of kids reading something new and exciting for the sake of reading new and exciting. Well, days later I got my wish. I didn't have to do any more summer reading club stuff and I had plenty of time off. And you know, that part, making that wish and having it happen, was not only scary but grand. I look back at that moment and think, wow, I really have some serious chops going for myself. Look what I made happen. Now I just need to apply that wishful thinking to the rest of my life and make great things happen.

And so I will.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Way to go! Amen! on the time thing. For me: having time without a price tag on it allows so much more creativity. When I don't have to be somewhere or be in bed at a particular time to be rested for the next day's people, then it opens up whole new universes of possibilities. Allows the muse free reign. A gift indeed is the gift of time. You and me: we got lucky recently. Luv ya! amigo.