July 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

Picture 1

I haven’t been posting lately because I have to focus on the novel I’m writing. When it’s going well, it shuts down a lot of the rest of my brain, leaving just about enough to feed the cats, clean up some, and take a walk a few times around WS park, (which is looking gorgeous these days, amazing swathes of tall, brilliant flowers, pristine lawns). It’s not that I work a lot of hours—not compared to most people—but my imagination needs to stay underground, so I just pop up to take a little nourishment now and then. Phone calls. Facebook. Coffee with Rachel tomorrow.

I went to see Barbara sing and dance flamenco on Monday, in a restaurant just down the street: very beautiful. I had a nice time talking to Lisa, who had invited me there, and pissed off Amelia (Barbara’s mother, my friend) because I was at her table being ignored and let myself be lured away. So far, so good, but I didn’t want to go back or say goodnight. The background and story of all this is complicated and not of interest to others—what I’m talking about is that when I’m woven into a novel I’m more easily tripped up by social awkwardness and the older I get the less willing I am to sort it out. It starts feeling strange to go to so much trouble, even while I’m appreciating the trouble others go to for me.  And I also realize I create or encourage the awkwardness to begin with, because part of me is angry I can’t be home with my book.

All this sounds worse to me as I write it. Especially because I know my mother will read it and she’s the one who did her best to teach me manners. At least she taught me what they’re for and how to use them when I want to. Thanks, Mom.

I got the cats to reduce my loneliness once Philip got caught up in Christine’s problem, but they’ve done their job too well. Now I find myself able to go several days without social interaction and don’t mind much. It makes it easier not to spend money. Garcia Marquez didn’t see any of his friends for the eight months he was writing A Hundred Years of Solitude. Proust only saw the friends who were willing to visit him in his apartment at 1 a.m. And there are countless unknown and terrible writers who never see anyone at all. So I’m just kind of in the middle, coming blinking out of solitary now and then.

But the cats think I’m God. And that pig in the water looks happy, doesn’t he?


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