By Diane Pershing
I like to think of myself as a responsible person, with the occasional Oopsâ€”that-one-got-past-me episode, one of which occurred yesterday. It was Friday, April 4, and I had a small list of things I had to do on that date, one of which was to write the OCC blog for the 5th. I got a lot accomplished yesterday, Iâ€™m pleased to say, but I didnâ€™t check my list until last night. A definite Oops. When I write an article, I like to give it a day to rest before editing and then submitting it. But I donâ€™t write much at night as Iâ€™m too tired and last night was no exception. So I set my alarm and now itâ€™s 5 AM on the 5th and Iâ€™m writing. And itâ€™s going out today, no matter what.
I had a great idea for this blog the other day. Problem is I didnâ€™t write it down so itâ€™s gone. My head hops around a lotâ€”most of us writers have that kind of headâ€”in a sort of free-associative state, and once in a while something terrific surges to the front of the brain. For me, if I donâ€™t have a pad and pencil right there or if I donâ€™t call my home phone and leave myself a message, itâ€™s gone. Vanished. Never to be heard from again. Which makes me sad; think of all the solutions to the worldâ€™s problems that never saw the light of day for lack of a pad and pencil.
But I digress. Or actually, I free-associate. Because from there I pull back and say itâ€™s not my job to solve the worldâ€™s problems, only to do my little bit. Raise good kids, be a good friend, be open to learning all the time, whatever my age. Speaking of age, Ken and I saw the marvelous actress/cabaret singer Andrea Marcovicci a couple of weeks ago and she proudly announced that she was turning 60 and was going on auditions for â€œolder women whose faces still moved.â€ Loved it. Loved her. Watched her singing, so assured, her acting background so evident in the way she approached each song. My next career, I decided. Cabaret singer. Gather a list of songs you love, I told myself. Keep a pad all the time. Write them down. Jot down ideas for monologs in between songs. Be different from all the other older broads who are doing one woman shows. Be different.
Different is good, but itâ€™s hard when youâ€™re young and trying to fit in, or when youâ€™re rebelling against absolutely everything. Knowing who you are and celebrating whatâ€™s different and unique and special about yourself is most of the time reserved for those of us past middle age, who have now experienced pain, rejection, loss, again and again, and realizedâ€”hereâ€™s the good newsâ€”that not only did we survive but we are now stronger. So being rejected? Big deal. Belly-flopping? So what? Dive right back in. One of those ironies of life; just when youâ€™re the strongest mentally and emotionally youâ€™ve ever been, your body is giving out. Ah well, canâ€™t have it all. Shouldnâ€™t have it all, in fact, because then why bother going on? Isnâ€™t life a constant search for answers and if you know everything, it has to be boring. But I wax philosophical, and others have said it better.
Which brings me to, and donâ€™t ask my why because I don’t know, The Dress. For my sonâ€™s wedding. On April 26. Itâ€™s perfect! Kind of a beigy-platinum, lacy, feminine, elegant, not at all matronly. Going for an important dress is a huge thing, not to taken on by the faint of heart. But hereâ€™s what happened: On the first day I decided to shop with my friend Peggy for the mother-of-the-groom dress (heâ€™s walking me down the aisle, the sweet thing), I tried on one dress and one dress only, and that was The One. I tried on one pair of shoes and one pair of shoes only and they were The Ones. I ask you, has that ever, in your life, happened? Ever? My mom says itâ€™s a reward for being such a good daughter. Donâ€™t you just love a mother who, having just survived a severe bout of pneumonia at ninety, has the spirit and generosity to say that? I mean, seriously, how could you not?
And did I mention that my daughter who just got her Masters in Library Science plans not to go into academia or work for private foundations, where there are generous salaries and benefits, but to go into the public library system and devote her days to bringing literacy to underprivileged teens? Sheâ€™s a pretty swell person, my daughter, Morgan Rose. She was the one who recommended I read â€œEat, Pray, Loveâ€ by Elizabeth Gilbert, which I had avoided when it first came out because I seem to run the other way whenever thereâ€™s some sort of I Have the Spiritual Answer to Life book. I am allergic to self-help books, â€œwoo-wooâ€ writing, anything that breaks down the complexities of life to a How To list. No, Morgan insisted, this is really good, mom, well written, funny, and making me think about my spiritual life for the fist time. Sheâ€™s 34 and has never been much for the god-thing. Okay, I said. Iâ€™ll get to it. Soon. And then I got sick. Good and sick, for three weeks, and while in bed I read â€œEat, Pray, Love.â€ I adored it. It is well written and funny and quite profound. Iâ€™m on a bit of a spiritual journey of my own, but it is my own and not anyone elseâ€™s. Ms Gilbert says the same and says it so well and entertainingly that I was filled with light and happiness when it was done, even though my head was exploding with a major sinus headache.
So now that Iâ€™m actually writing, a whole bunch of things pop up that I could talk aboutâ€”Sullivanâ€™s purr, the election, to-hybrid-or-not-to-hybrid?, the fact that Iâ€™m still not writing on my book and if I donâ€™t get to it soon, Iâ€™ll never get to it. Lots of things. But you know what? All of that can wait for another day, another blog. Have a lovely, loving day, all of you. And take a pad and pencil.