Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Make a Very Good Cup of Tea, but Nothing Else

I've come to realize, on the late end of forty, that I don't do anything remarkably well. There are many things I enjoy doing, and some I do with some amount of competency, and many more I do like a five year old in kindergarten. The trouble is, I want to be extraordinary at something.

We all want to think we're remarkable in some way; I once thought I was a very lucky person. What great luck I had. Looking back, I was deluded, completely wrong, or perfectly right. I'm not sure I know the difference anymore. And if I was lucky, what sort of skill is that?

At any rate, time goes by quicker and quicker each year, as many of you know. How did it get to be the end of July? How is it that 41 will soon be upon me and I am not extraordinary? I find my greatest joy in actually doing those things that I am less than competent at, but when I am finished with my self-imposed joyous tasks, I frown at the results. It was as if I took great pleasure in building the world's flattest, lumpiest mud pie. And worse, while I was making it, I thought it was a raspberry-lemon creme cake with coconut icing.

It is not entirely true that I'm terrible at everything. I can make a cup of tea that is perfect for me. I cannot buy this cup anywhere, and even my beloved, observant B cannot make me a cup of tea that is just right. (I don't complain, because while I'm often impatient and critical, I do have some grace and thankfulness in me) But if I am tomorrow--or tonight, or in an hour--lying on my bed or on the floor or in the bloody wreckage of a terrible accident, what will I have to think about? "At least I made a good cup of tea for myself."

This comes around, you see, to the fact that I'm not even good at thankfulness, as we all know that in our final moments, we are wracked with guilt or remorse or, for many, consumed with love. And it's that love that is what life means. I should know this. And yet I wave away that love, take it for granted. "Yes, yes, I know, they love me; Yes, I love them too! Of course!" But god damn it, I cannot write a wonderful novel. I cannot, it seems, write a passably tolerable novel. If you asked me right now, I could barely write you a beautiful sentence. Scratch that. All I can think about is unicorns and glitter, and that would be a horrible sentence.

There is a moment each day, after I've been hanging upside down for twenty minutes listening to guided meditation (this is no joke here!), that I do feel the infinite power within me, and within you all. And that power is love. Everything is right there, everything is tangible, reachable, and then it is gone. Brushed away by dogs with their heads in the litter box or mailman at my door with something to sign. But I swear to you, today, again, I will try. Regardless of what I've said before, however anxiety continues to toil within me (it is a jewel-green snake), I will try again.

Here I go.

1 comment:

  1. I'm late to this post, but thought you should know, you do write well, very well. Even Ellen Datlow thinks so: