This morning is better than yesterday, I can tell you that right now. Some creeping doubt moved here in the middle of the night, though, and it keeps telling me that Men in Caves is a novel best kept in a drawer. A good first effort, but maybe not worth finishing. But maybe the creeping doubt voice is lazy. Maybe my energy is taken up with other matters and I can’t wrap my head around polishing something as large and rough as Men in Caves yet. Maybe I should shut up, take it one fragment at a time, and get it finished.
Have been just terribly fascinated with everything lately. Modigliani, Elkmont when it was a resort village, art and films and music and everything. A long time ago I wrote that summer was a time to gather up details, to write them down as they live and go back to them later in memory. When the sun cools its heels then you take all of your wool and knit something pretty.
I’m addicted to relocating. Have I told you that? Ever since I was a little girl and my Dad got transferred often, I’ve seen life as a magical gypsy caravan where the scenery should change often and completely. When I was in the first grade we moved from an apartment to a large rental house. On the day that the UHaul had been rented and the furniture had been transplanted, I unfortunately missed all of the theatrical box piling and heavy lifting because I was in school.
My teacher that year was Mrs. Carroll, an angel sent down from the clouds and had a smell of fabric sheets and hair spray about her. I remember her squeezing my hand gently at the end of the day when we were lining up to go home, leaned in so close that her blonde hair tickled my cheek, and whispered,
“Today is the day that you move into your new house! Are you terribly excited?”
I remember trembling a little in my excitement, my stomach swirling and my feet levitating a little bit, “Yes, it is! I’m getting off the bus at my new house today and my bed will already be in my new room! My new house has a big backya-“
Before I could finish, I bolted from my place in line and ran fast into the bathroom, which blissfully was only a few yards from the classroom door. I threw up neatly and efficiently in the tiny toilet, washed my hands, and returned to my place in line. Tears streaked my face and I brushed them away (the more I brushed and rubbed my eyes the faster the flow of tears). Mrs. Carroll ran to get a washcloth from where she kept them in a cubby by the bathroom, ran it under the cold faucet, and ran back to me. She wiped my face, then folded up the washcloth and placed it on my forehead. I remember looking at her hands, which were starting to show signs of age. The skin was a little dry and wrinkled near her perfectly polished, perfectly glossy, perfectly mauve nails.
“You should sit down, sweetie.” She said daintily. Some of the kids around me were saying, “Ew!! Chrissy threw up!” and “I can smell it!!”. Others were quiet and looking slightly green. Others were picking their nose and completely oblivious.
“I’m okay. I’m just excited.” And I was SO excited that I was ready to run around in circles for an hour or throw up again. I had already moved three or four times by the time I was six and a half and I loved it. I didn’t see the difficulties and the pain and inconvenience of uprooting a family of four. I didn’t mind leaving friends (though this time I was staying in the same school district so no change there). I didn’t mind saying goodbye to familiar neighbors, trees, streets and skies. I just wanted to see something new.
I still feel that way. I feel like places and views out of windows have expiration dates. My family doesn’t feel that way, so I have to sit on my hands.
Must cut this short (as I usually have to do lately!). My focus seems to crumple and die late at night lately, and that’s the only time I have alone to write now. So, I sneak these bursts in when I can.