There is something magical about the light in October. I can’t ever quite articulate it. Something about the clarity — a hushed, soft clarity, a dignified kind of quiet brightness…
Perhaps it’s to do with the effect of sunlight falling on the painted leaves that, while green, were merely a canopy of sturdy summer shade. Cornflower blue skies, low golden light in bars as those leaves, like the Phoenix, burst into flame and burn for a glorious turn of the calendar page, before they are gone, leaving those maple and oak limbs the same muted gray as the ashy sky behind them. The knowledge that the very quality of the light is fleeting, that the sunlight is sinking, makes me nostalgic for the summer even while I can feel my soul reaching for the early dark and deep, starry winter skies.
Murphy’s Law of Crate and Barrel Engagement Registries states that the dinnerware pattern you love the most in this world will promptly be discontinued within one year of your wedding. I am living proof: ours was discontinued before our wedding, but after enough people had purchased pieces that it was too late to turn back.
We were, as we were in many ways, stupidly lucky. We got a ton of the dishes we wishlisted, and were basically all set to go once we started unboxing. I’ve chipped a few pieces here and there, dropped a few over the decade we’ve been married. (Sh)it happens, and we’ve got a porcelain kitchen sink. Lethal.
We celebrated our tenth anniversary this summer, to very little fanfare and no exotic travel. (Paris, we are coming, I promise!) We went out two months later for a nice dinner alone, but on the night of, we went to a local casual dining place with our son. This is how we roll while the money tree is still an invisible seedling hidden somewhere on our property. I however, seem to celebrating in a weird, and not so practical way.
I’m breaking dishes.
It’s like my hands have forgotten how to put the bowls away in the cabinet, how to hold the mug handles when I stretch up to the high shelf where they live. And it’s just the wedding dinnerware. So far — knock on wood — the pint glasses and my dragonfly wine cups and the other glass and stoneware pieces are fine.
As my son and I often joke about potentially breaking things: smashy smashy.
Into every marriage a few china shards must fall, but why must they be from the long-discontinued registry pattern?
It’s been a busy summer between camp and a too-short week at the beach and work and our feeble attempts to have a social life, too busy to blog, or so it would seem.
I’ve forgiven myself. Without my life, what would I write about? Because even in my fictional towns, full of people and places who exist outside the parameters of my day-to-day, my life is present. You don’t have to know it’s there, but I do.
I’ve recharged my creative batteries on long walks during my lunchbreaks, I’ve read books. Pages and pages of falling into faraway, magical places. I’ve shepherded us through a camp schedule that rivals the school year for organizational requirements.
I hope all of you had some fireflies, some s’mores, some beach fireworks, wave swimming, sandcastles, camp songs, thunderstorms, and fried dough these last few months.
I hope that because I have had them, and now I’m ready to get down to the serious business of finishing more stories for you. Autumn (and winter!) is coming, and with it my best creative energy, all wrapped up in warm socks and chilly air and early dark.
Summer brain is a thing; thankfully, so is winter brain!
I don’t know what you objected to, specifically, about my Sunday morning run, when you chose to hurl unintelligible-but-mockingly-shouted words in my direction from the windows of your late model sedan. Could have been my thick thighs in black Spandex capris. They do not … gap. Might have been my ass in the same. There is junk in this trunk, and I choose to believe those pink racing stripes make me faster. Maybe it was the s-l-o-w pace I was using to crest a long hill? Are only willowy women allowed to run? Only jaunty, athletic runners? Only ladies with both bangin’ curves and elite muscle tone? Lord, but there are so. Many. Rules involved in running for you.
That’s why I am super psyched I am not running for you.
Here are some people for whom I am running (damn, I have been waiting to undangle that participle since the title):
Me. Because I kick ass.
My son, so he has a healthy Mama for as long as I can be around.
My husband, because I think I’m a nicer person to share a life with when I’m taking care of myself, and he deserves that.
My family for all the reasons above.
Any people who might be helped by any charities I choose to run in races for in the future.
Also, me again. Because it feels AMAZING to crest that hill, even at a shuffle, thighs brushing with every step, sweating and flushed and singing along with Britney (for the record, I am literally stronger than yesterday – how cool is that?). Maybe not quite as good as the rush of opening that first box of books fresh from the printer, but so, so good. I am a 38-year-old woman. Grown-ass, as they say. I run outside because I haven’t got a treadmill, a gym membership, or any fucks to give about your opinion or anyone else’s. I like the fresh air and the journey. I neither need nor want your approval. You don’t know my story, you don’t know my goals, and you certainly don’t know my thighs.
And I forgot to ask anyone to take pictures or record any of it. I am seriously the world’s worst marketer.
Sometimes important things happen and I’m just unable to blog about them until the dust settles. Last Thursday was one of those times. Well, that and I have no photos to speak of, and we all know: pics or it didn’t happen.
It took a few days to come down from the heady cocktail of terror and elation that accompanies any kind of public appearance, and then — funny thing — life goes on, and you go on with it.
I’m no stranger to getting up in front of a crowd. Vocal recitals, choral performances, musical theater (Dear lord, dancing. If I can do a kickline in front of my peer group at 17, two left feet and all, I can launch a novel.) … But it had been a while, and there was a zit the size of Montana on my chin. Reason enough to be a straight up mess.
Hand to heart, I packed all my books and promotional stuff, and whatnot into the back of my car, and headed out for the signing, only to have a full fledged panic in the car because I was convinced I’d not only forgotten to lock the front door, but left it standing wide open, with only a pug dog behind a baby gate to keep intruders at bay. Lucky for me, I was able to call someone to confirm that my front door was, in fact, thoroughly closed and locked. That whole interlude did not help with the racing heart, the sweating palms, or the feeling that the zit on my chin was a cousin to Rudolph’s nose.
Here’s the actual reality: People were there, some of them people who saw the feature article in the local paper. Friends and family made their way to my hometown library to listen, to support, to buy copies, to hear my thoughts on writing and publishing. I felt welcomed and loved, and it was a wonderful night. I even managed to forget the acne and the sweaty palms. I can’t wait to do it again.
Thank you to everyone who came out. I’ll see more of you next week as I take my show back to my alma mater, and across state lines!