WGBH will call to tell me what time the tow truck will pick up my beloved Jetta JuniorMint. (Sigh. She’s been a good one.) Eric the Car Guy will phone me from the auction grounds, where he will choose a new-used car for me—most of my friends, my priest, my neighbors buy cars from Eric, but the process is new to me. He’s a professional, he assures me, but his public tells me he’s a car psychic, reading and assessing what car will suit the buyer best.
But the bottom line is, I need to answer the phone if it rings.
This graduate school quarter started in January, along with the colds and the child sicknesses, and the car breakages. Each quarter requires ten books, a critical paper, and sixty pages of creative writing. Because I can read while sick, can read while children argue that they do NOT have a fever and they will NOT lie down, I’ve kept up with the reading requirements. But my writing!!! Ay, ay, ay my writing has suffered miserably. Writing works best when the stories have a chance to rest quietly over many car rides, to nag at me. This quarter, every waking hour could be sucked up by need and interruption. It begins to feel like a conspiracy.
I remind myself, January and February often feel like a conspiracy anyway. The house fills with things that need to be sorted and culled, all the packrats packing their cheeks and caves with more and more stuff, and the mama Un-Packrat cannot keep up with the stuff.
My Lenten resolution to “be a body” has not gone as planned. Usually, this means eating low-carb, cutting out sugar and grains for a few weeks, remembering the supplements that bolster health, walking. So far this Lent “being a body” means a two-week ginger ale-only fast, followed by the slow reintroduction of food and a cough that still cries out for ginger ale and orange juice—not exactly low-carb. I’ve walked a few glorious walks, when the wind is not too brutal. I am nowhere near “fitness.” I spent the February Break, last week, sleeping and reading and writing as much as possible, to catch up with reading and writing deadlines.
Today I need to dive into my files and thread together some essays to edit and rewrite for the next deadline. I’ve determined to ignore reading until after dinner each evening.
It’s been a good day for rewrites and edits, and getting back to older writing.
And I’ve started arranging childcare and play-dates for kids for the ten days I’ll be gone. Suddenly, I have a lot to do, not only for them and for deadlines, but for me! I need to pull my knitting projects together, and buy those wool slippers I’ve been putting off. I need to get stuff together to hem a pair of pants and buy a second pair of pants…
The Jetta JuniorMint car is long gone, with the tow truck, and the license plates await the next form of transportation. The lasagna pan is soaking from dinner. The snow clothes tumble in the dryer so they will be ready for tomorrow. Kids were writing possible breakfast menus when I forced them to go to bed, and the lists are still waiting at the table, with pencils and pens. Time for me to put my thoughts aside, too. The car will work out. The writing is good work, and it works out. Soon the calendar will read March and the light is already stretching later into the evening. It will all work out.