It’s a quirky, wonderful world when my second husband’s late first wife’s sister and her husband will be our house guests for three days next week, culminating in a big family hoe-down on Saturday night with in-laws, ex-laws and kids of all ages, and we’re all happy as cinch bugs about it. Can’t wait, in fact.
And it’s a wonderful world when a 19 year old granddaughter comes for lunch during an infrequent day off from both university and work and stays all afternoon, the three of us decamped from lunch in the bar (Diet Ginger Ale, mind you), to the foyer, where we wind up talking so long we variously drop into a nearby chair, lounge on a step, or sit cross-legged on the floor (me). It was a “just because” time. Just because there’s so much to talk about, so much life — past, present, and future — and because there’s so much connection and love.
I stumbled onto your site from Richard Gilbert’s Narrative. At first I thought, oh boy, here comes another homey diary, an adult, country version of show-and-tell.
I replied to the visitor who left this comment sometime last year that his first instinct about my blog was right: it is at heart a “homey diary, an adult, country version of show-and-tell.” He had been relieved to find a reasonably well-crafted turn of phrase somewhere in that particular post, something he found free of low-brow sentimentalism.
I’m smiling about that this morning as I empty the dishwasher, spray cleaner to sit for a while in the oven, contemplate going upstairs to begin preparing a guest room for our visitors who will arrive on Thursday, jot notes about the menu for next Saturday night’s family supper, and look up hours for the University of West Florida library so I can run out there, take an elevator to the third floor (fiction), and fill up my canvas bag with some of the books on the mental list I carry around in my head.
I’m smiling about that as my sleepy husband comes into the study for a warm morning neck nuzzle, and we mosey (the only word for it) to the kitchen, arms entwined, to share a bit of breakfast. He is weary with effort, but purring with a lovely growly intensity as he moves to his writing space, where he is into the final scene of the first draft of his book. I try not to disturb him when “the fever” as I call it is on him; when the blue pen is spilling ink like a cut femoral artery; when he turns pale and his hair is on fire.
And I’m loving the sweet air in this space where some of the most authentic humans on the planet come to say their piece and share their world in all its exhilaration, loss, playfulness, discovery, ennui, courage, inventiveness, fear, poetry, falling down and getting up again, adventure, art of the written word, love, creativity, passion, lazy bones, knowledge, and wonder. People like Wally, Elizabeth, Richard, Dick, Jeanne (Gullible), Kathleen, Deanna, Denny, Verna, Patsy, Gale, Jane, Flo, Stephanie, Loretta, Susan, Charlotte, David, Kate, Mira, Meg, Dave, Rick, and others.
The only ones of you I know “in person” are Wally and Flo, because they’re my brother and sister, and Patsy, Gale, and Jane are local friends. But if any of us saw each other in an airport or hiking in a forest, we would meet, talk, probably hug, and we might say, “I’d know you anywhere.” And I would say the same. There would be no daylight between the person we know on the page and the person before us, because each of us is genuine, honest (sometimes painfully so), and congruent. (Not to mention complex — oh hell, yes. That’s a major part of the delight of our interactions.)
In the closing months of 2012, I went through a periodic time of “discernment.” That’s one of those words my fellow Episcopalians may smile over. “Period of discernment” is a phrase sometimes used to give folks cover when they are asked to do something they don’t want to do, or are going a different way, as in, “I’m not ready to commit right now. I’m in a period of discernment.” I felt overexposed on the ‘net. Always using my real name, for heaven’s sake.
And so, I pulled back: deleted my Facebook account along with the timeline — the whole shebang. Deleted and erased profiles from any and all online writer groups whose door I had ever darkened — legit places, but more vanity than value. Began to think more intentionally about the “live” relationships in my life, their care and nurturing. I deleted my Goodreads account and instantly regretted that move. It’s reinstated now, but my earlier book lists (that I would like to be able to peruse again) are dead, killed by my own impulsive hand.
The books I’m reading about the internet and hive mind stuff, have more to do with authenticity and how to separate the wheat from the chaff than whether being electronically connected is positive or negative. In my own life, the connectivity and reach is not only positive, it’s joyful and an incredible tool, a huge amendment to my quality of life.
I’ve returned to Facebook, but only as a sharing with family and a very few close friends; only people I know in “RL” (Real Life). We share photos, cartoons, music, books, videos and other cool stuff, kudos when someone gets a promotion, or graduates from school, or when the family soccer keeper star, Ariel, gets written up in the local paper for saving the day for her team. Like that. Warm fuzzies. Keeps us all in the loop.
In my end of the year thinking about thinking, I found a few nuggets to keep: I finally learned to love Google Reader, and follow your blogs and other feeds of interest to me there, such as Open Culture and Smithsonian Magazine’s Food and Think blog. I also finally learned how to fully utilize EverNote, and now it’s my favorite place to put all my stuff and be able to go back and retrieve it seamlessly.
So here we are. We use our own names, we’re authentic, we work hard, love without stinting, play hard, learn like crazy, and never get old even when we do.
Buck would be the first to say, “Okay, then, let’s get after it.”