Again beginning again.
The blank page.
A million projects.
Tempted to maybe start keeping track of them with a Bullet Journal as my friend Sarah recommended here.
Beginning again with a new school-year schedule, with excessive back-to-school-year forms. The pot-luck welcome back dinners. The sign ups. The packed lunches. The new routines. The inevitable hiccups of getting used to who has to be picked up or dropped off where. Yesterday bringing the wrong child to the doctor’s appointment over on the East side. Picking Petra up early from daycare with a bit of an awkward shuffle interrupting snack time and then pushing her through the crazy scaffolding siren streets over in the stroller in the heat.
(Already I anticipate the criticism of readers questioning why a three-year-old would need a stroller, but also maybe many of those readers have cars and wouldn’t walk 2.5 miles in the heat in the afternoon for a doctor appointment? Already as I write I am racing ahead to try to defend myself against imagined attacks. Why? Is that the nature of so much online interaction that I’ve let it seep into how I think and how I write?)
It would have been so easy to run over to the doc with Wally. He was off already from school and so was Alex and they were watering the garden while I was getting an entire hour “to myself” to work (after grocery-shopping and school-supply-shopping and helping Wally organize his room with a semi-functional homework area, which will last a day. Interrupting this hour “to myself” to work to bring the wrong kid over. Anyway, it turned out fine because Alex came over with Wally and both kids got the flu shot, Wally disappointed they no longer recommend the mist and Petra happily volunteering to go first, as these days she wants to be first for everything.
Beginning again with trying to get into some kind of reasonable shape. And by that I mean jogging a couple miles at a decent pace without being horribly out of breath on the brink of throwing up when I’m done.
Beginning again with the evaluation of a teacher training program, work I’d taken a break from for the past several years. Thinking about the teachers in their first difficult years reminds me—do I need to be reminded?—of how much I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and yet I’ve never even gotten close to a classroom outside of a few months as a substitute at MS 54 so many years ago. But that is just one dream of so many. Chase two rabbits and you won’t catch either one. Another dream, a lost one, playing music.
Out on the river today listening to a song of Alex’s without any vocals I came up with them myself and thought—I have to record that tonight! Beginning again to record music? Maybe I am prompted by a totally unexpected re-stock notice from CD Baby. They want us to send in more copies of Gowanus Sessions.
That is good, because I looked at all the copies on the closet shelf the other day and wondered if I should just finally recycle them.
Daydreaming about beginnings, like the one Pip Lincolne writes about in Craft for the Soul: How to make the most out of your creative life. Her morning routine is so comforting sounding (although I don’t understand putting the TV on, even with the volume down—why?). She gets up super early. Greets the dogs. Makes coffee and toast, writes three pages (adapting Julia Cameron's "Morning Pages") and then takes a walk. Simple enough routine, right? And when I read it I thought - she obviously doesn't have kids. But, turns out that's not true! She has three of them! Amazing.
I am beginning to have some time to work without resorting to crazy acrobatics like the kind my friend Hein Koh has been talking about lately. Actually I've never had to work breast-feeding two babies at the same time, and don't think I ever could. If I managed, I'd have to add it to the list of things I learned from her.
I didn't enjoy Louise DeSalvo's The Art of Slow Writing nearly as much as I thought I would.
As I've written here, DeSalvo's book Writing as a Way of Healing has been a touchstone for over a decade, and from the name of the new one, I had so many expectations about how she would help me get away from the racing and the relentless cacophony and the feeling of being hounded by social media and up-to-the-minute news and updates. But what she says, essentially, in The Art of Slow Writing, is that writing itself is a slow art. She brings a lot of research and great examples to her work to show the necessity of slowness. (And to debunk the myths of speed, pointing, for example, to Jack Kerouac's hidden revisions.) But any of us who'd ever attempted writing have known already how long we must stare at blank pages. How many times we have to retrace the same steps. Erase. Start over. Go back to the beginning. Tandem breast-feeding at the same time or not, begin again.