"If writers possess a common temperament, it's that they tend to be shy egomaniacs; publicity is the spotlight they suffer for the recognition they crave." Gail Caldwell, from her book "Let's Take The Long Way Around"

"To look life in the face, always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. . .always the years. Always the love. Always the hours." From the movie "The Hours", based on the book of the same name by Michael Cunningham

"Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly." Baz Luhrman, "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)"

"A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls." Walt Whitman

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant or talented?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson

Saturday, November 20, 2021

A Retrospective of 2021, or Brushing Off the Past

Today, while I was trying to locate my Shopping List document in Google Docs, I came across this piece I wrote in December, 2020. I had intended it to be the first post of my return to Splitting Poles but was never published due to technical difficulties.

What is a life? A life is made up of pictures, of snapshots of memories, a collage of things that are important, representative of who we are. I had a feeling yesterday, a memory, of a friend that I made back in college, the first friend I ever made and who happened to have the same birthday as me. Sadly, she died many years ago, but somehow the memory of our moments together stay strong. Why do some memories stay with us more than others? Hopefully, we can count the good ones more than the less pleasant ones. Nina, my friend, was so important to me. We lost touch - twenty-somethings are wont to do impulsive things until they realize 20 years later that none of that stuff matters. We started to write to each other - actual letters - for which I am so grateful for it was not much later that she died too young. Thanks to my friend, L, for keeping me in the loop about such things.

I’m thinking today about the new year, how the hype is that suddenly 2021 is going to erase everything that happened in 2020. The words that resonate with me this year are these: “Let go of the things that don’t matter, and focus on what’s important.” That’s a quote from Robert Herjovic, one of the sharks from Shark Tank. During COVID, Deril and I watched the series twice (don’t ask). Strange thing to glean from a “reality” TV show, but it resonated with me, and I haven’t forgotten it. I hope to follow this idea in the year to come.

In the meantime, my NY’s resolutions look to me more like a to-do list rather than a “these are all the things that are going to change my life and then I’ll be happy” list. Minor things, like buy some ceiling fans, learn how to make béarnaise sauce and crème anglaise, make an appointment to get my mammogram. And possibly, go back to NYC, a place I should have lived in a long time ago. I love my job and my husband and my baby, Niko. I’m very lucky. I have food and a roof over my head and people who care for me. When you peel all the layers of everything else, that’s all that really matters.

Happy new year, friends. It’s taken me a while to formulate my return to Splitting Poles. I hope to return more often.

End note: I did buy ceiling fans and had my mammogram. I did not learn to make béarnaise or crème anglaise as I am still trying to master brown butter sauce :). I haven't gone back to NYC yet. Perhaps my next trip will be when I go to Paris via JFK airport.

I continue to aspire to "forget about the things that don't matter, and focus on what's important." Thanks, Robert.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Six Years Later

I am a writer.

It's about time.

I guess.

I've been spending the last million days since I started this post trying to expound on those three sentences. I had an idea when I wrote those sentences where this post would go. It has been more than a million days ago since I even posted on this blog. Here I am today, tentatively, reviving this blog. This effort reminds me of a time in college when my friend, Jen, and I decided to try making a "flaming Rum drink" we'd heard about. So we went to the store, bought some Bacardi 151 and took it home. I don't remember what else was supposed to be in this "flaming" drink. In spite of being just/not quite 21, we were not experienced in the fire-inducing qualities of alcohol. We poured the 151 into a large pot, set it in the center of the kitchen and then circled as though we were the witches from MacBeth, teasing it with a lighter until it ignited, hopefully without burning the house down.

Well. Not only did we avoid a renters' insurance claim, we were resigned to non-flaming shots of rum (there's no way we wasted our hard earned cash/credit). Successful or not, the memory doesn't fail to elicit (semi) hysterical laughs from the two of us, and others, if we tell the story correctly.

So. Circling the pot.

I thought I had a pretty profound idea going when I wrote those first three lines at the top. And then I forgot what that profundity was. As such, I'm taking a new approach, albeit less aggressively sure of myself, and it's this:

We'll figure this out.

Not as glamorous, but this has to be the mantra because just as I wrote this, in front of the TV, someone on the show said, "we'll figure this out." No kidding, this happened. It's like, as my friend recently pointed out, the moment you hear about cooking "sous-vide" on Food Network, sure enough, your mom and your neighbor are sous-viding (not a word) their Thanksgiving dinner and everything else.

That's it. I don't have anything more far-reaching to say. I am just figuring this out, this return to writing, a return to me. Here I am! I say to myself, looking around, as though for someone else.

And so.

Here I am.