Sunday, September 20, 2009

A new year

On Friday, my yoga instructor spent our whole class talking about sweetness. It's Rosh Hashana and it seems apples and honey are both literally and figuratively on the tip of nearly every tongue.

"Sweet," she said, guiding us into our first forward bend. "Sweet," I whispered to my tight hamstrings and cranky neck. "Slow," she said. "Like honey."

I bent over, thought of dripping honey, the slow undulation of syrup and the guy next to me popped down into a quick push-up before bobbing back up. I was working on languid and he was pumping away with the regularity of a piston. I breathed slowly and he exhaled loudly and did a couple more push-ups before lowering down into chaturanga dandasana.

I tried to channel sweet and slow, but eventually, I found myself going fast and loose. In the way that my chewing grows more rapid when I eat with my children, I found it almost impossible to slow down with this machine next to me. At one point, he and I rose to standing and spent a good two beats with our arms in the sky looking at the relaxed, folded bodies of our classmates.

I started to develop a very un-yoga-like hatred for this guy.

Of course he turned out to be my partner for stretches.

The first stretch had me on my belly, knees bent, my hands around my ankles. He was to sit on my feet and pull my shoulders back. If it's tricky to imagine, it's trickier by far to do comfortably when the grumpiest guy in the world is sitting on your feet and pulling your shoulders back as though he were reining a team of runaway horses.

Still the hatred.

And then we switched. And he was confused and I could see how tight his shoulders were. And he mumbled something about "not knowing why he was even there." And then, I put my hand between his shoulder blades and helped him slow down. Anusara yoga is about opening up your heart. A sweet sentiment if ever I've heard one. Sometimes I'm kind of grossed out by all the heart opening, but I get it. It's not easy for to say "soften your heart," without feeling a little silly, but when I actually do soften my heart, I feel better. My shoulders, tight little monsters that they are, relax. I feel calm. It's all good stuff. Perhaps because of that open heart, I suddenly liked this guy.

And, more importantly, I realized that his rhythm didn't have to be my rhythm. And that can apply to lots of things. Not just yoga. My kids can run around and scream their heads off, but it doesn't mean I have to. Just because there are folks who have found their "in" to writing at twenty or thirty does not mean I can't do it a hair past forty.

These are good things to remember at the new year.

The Jewish new year coincides with my children's return to school and is therefore a kind of double new year for me. I am back to work. Trying to practice every day. Sweetly some days, fast and furious others. But trying to set my own speed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

One of these days...

So, I got this note from my agent and she says she's a bit "stymied." We've sent my book to lots of publishers and though they've all been incredibly complimentary and encouraging and impressed and excited, not one of them has been able to see clear to publish my book.

I got pretty darned sad when I read her note the first time. The next day, I read it again and I felt disappointed. I went to the bookstore and right there on the "new arrivals" stack were memoirs by a cat and a dog (sure they were told to humans) but for the love of Mike, cats and dogs can get their furry little mugs on a book jacket, while I, the woman who helped look after her dad AND her grandmother while they simultaneously suffered from Alzheimer's disease can't catch a break. This is where the wallowing in self pity part began.

But then, a couple of days later, I started to think more clearly. I can do this. My Dad was the guy who boasted about building his own roadside attraction without a government grant. He was the King of DIY and, that said, why shouldn't I take a page from HIS book when trying to sell my own. So, I'm looking at other options. There are lots of possibilities.

All I can do is keep writing. All I can do is keep moving forward with an open heart and the belief that what's supposed to happen will happen. All in good time.

So, I've started another blog. Yes, it's true I'm not so regular with this blog, but the new blog has a theme! It's called Dearest You. Borrowing from Neil Young, "I'm going to sit down and write a long letter to all the good friends I've known." One of these days might as well be today.

check it out

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First day of school. Whew!

Immediate relief followed by a wave of nostalgia, longing and generalized weepiness.

My daughter walked into Kindergarten like Sarah Bernhardt taking the stage. Despite an unscheduled fire alarm, despite a weeping mother (nope, not me) leaning against the door frame of her classroom, Sadie was fine. We saw her through the fence, heading out for the fire drill, hand in hand with some tow-headed fella in a striped shirt. She looked like she belonged.
My son, dove into second grade head first much in the way he dives into everything. I could see his big smile clear across the playground.

Afterwards, my husband and I drove to a strangely silent house. I swept and vacuumed. Paid those bills I've been trying to get to and organized the closet and then I just sat. The next nine months opened up wide to me. I'm filled with ideas. I've got seeds in the raised beds and stories in my brain. I'm ready to go.

We picked up the kids after school and celebrated a successful first day with frozen yogurt. Sadie said a boy had "snatched" some of her crayons and Theo wished he could take the walkie talkies to school so she could alert him to bullies.

"What would you do if she called," I asked.

"I would come and tell that guy to give back her crayons," he said.

I got misty eyed. My husband did too and then he ordered an extra sundae for us to share.

It was a great, great day.