Wednesday, April 16, 2008


And the little bears growl to each other, “He's mine,
As soon as he's silly and steps on a line.”
And some of the bigger bears try to pretend
That they came round the corner to look for a friend;
And they try to pretend that nobody cares
Whether you walk on the lines or squares.
But only the sillies believe their talk;
It's ever so portant how you walk.

-- from “Lines and Squares,” When We Were Very Young, A. A. Milne

How do you know when it's time to make a change? Do you make changes or wait for them? If I want to leave behind the psycho Western frenzied tradition of do do do more more more, do I solve that by hurrying up and doing something? I can only change myself but I seem to be in a marriage with someone else. Must he be informed of the change? Agree with it? Embrace it too?

How do I write about a restlessness I can't really define? How do I explain the feeling that has followed me for several years now that something big has to shift in my life for me to feel like I'm living it? How do I find my peaceful, slower pace in a home surrounded by natural beauty without becoming even more isolated from the friends I already have to turn myself inside out to manage to see at all?

I started my job two years ago. So much has changed for me in those two years and my heart isn't in the writing the way it once was. It takes away from my time to do poetry and essay writing and submitting and revising and and and. There is no dedicated time for any of these. How can that be? In 38 years I haven't figured it out? Why don't I just quit my job and write? (I can answer that in 3000 words or less, but is it a valid answer? I may be forced to address this in another entry.) But this newspaper writing job, it's crept in to lend me a type of identity again. It feeds me free tickets to other people's evenings of creative expression and I want that to continue. Is that good enough? Is it good enough a reason to not do my own writing?

How do you know when it's time to make a change? I've actually caught myself on more than one occasion while looking at the pile of dollar store writing pads I use to scribble interview notes from my discussions with would-be stars and unquoteable executive directors thinking that maybe I'll only keep doing this job for as long as the paper lasts (double-sided of course, we love our trees). Once that runs out – that's it! I'm not buying any new ones. Like my vegan friend who, after his inspired conversion, continued to wear his leather shoes until they wore out, then – no more. His philosophy makes a hell of a lot more sense than mine. The infantile notion at work in my brain here, makes me think I am some bizarre form of human or at a stage of arrested development I could only dream of before or maybe just totally screwed up. I imagine watching the paper dwindle, judging the right time to give notice by the thickness of the pad on my desk. But how do you know? What do you do? What do you not do? Will life spin me around when it's time, like whipping me through a revolving door, on the other side, a new universe for me, my path through the singing daisies clearly marked? Doubtful. This isn't really about whether or not I'll write next year's Beer Festival article. How do you know? Active? Passive? Contemplative? Meditative? Gradual? Sudden?


Dianne said...

Oh I wish I knew how to know ...

I try to nurture my spider senses and to live moments. always looking for a clue.

I suppose that's the journey.

bobbie said...

Like Dianne - I wish I knew how to know - about so many things in life.

And when you are a mother, it's wishing how to know and advise and help your child. But the child usually has to find the way (or not) his/herself because it is the same struggle for each of us. It is the journey, as she said.

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