Thursday, November 3, 2022

Mini Adventures and Nostalgia

I'm trying very hard not to start this email with a banal statement like, "Can you believe it's already the end of October?" Because I can't believe it. Where did the month go?

I've been trying to buckle down and focus on my new book project this month, but it's at that big, unwieldy stage where it's hard to see where I'm going or how I'll get there. So instead I seek distractions. One of those distractions is going on mini adventures--a trip to the beach with friends, a hike on a nearby trail. I read in Laura Vandercam's newsletter the recommendation to have one big and one small adventure each week. I can't remember why she recommends this, but for me adventures serve several purposes: getting me out of the house and out of my head, exercise, time with other people, and a teeny bit of excitement. C and I have been watching the TV show M*A*S*H lately, and during the opening credits, I feel this little thrill in my chest when the helicopters come in and the medics run up the hill. I want that, I think, although I definitely do not want to either be in the army or work in the medical field, but I want that surge of excitement, that urgency, that sense that there's something so important that I need to run to get to it (is that why people take up jogging?). While there's not, and not likely to be, anything of such urgency in my life, I can at least create a little excitement by getting out on mini adventures.

Today my method of distracting myself was less exciting even than a hike--I spent the morning reading my old zines. Back before I wrote e-newsletters and blogs and books, I created a print zine--producing 13 issues over seven years. In the back of every issue I included a roundup of amusing things my kids said (which were no doubt more amusing to me than they were to my subscribers). I pulled the zines out because I remembered that one of the boys had invented a new word for one type of rain. (I swear this was related to an essay I was toying around with.) I found the quote, which had come from from E: "It was not dribbling, pouring regular rain, or sprinkling. Might have been twizzling." But I couldn't stop there and started reading all their adorable quotes and then looking at my hilarious cartoons, and then reading bits and pieces and whole essays, and pretty soon, an hour and a half had evaporated.

The funny thing is, I don't feel like the same person who wrote about trying to get three little kids to bed or deciphering toddler twin talk. Did any of that actually happen? To me? If I didn't have a written record, I wouldn't believe it. And if I didn't have a photographic record, I'd hardly believe the boys were ever so small. Last week I got the prints of E and Z's senior photos and, for the last time, did the annual tradition of taking apart the picture frames and going through all of the photos stacked behind the current one, from preschool to now, laughing at the various stages (Jack-o-lantern teeth, tough-guy third grader, suit-n-tie sixth grader, crossed eyes, crazy hair, the year I forgot about picture day and they were dressed in rags with bird-nest hair). Although there's a glimmer of familiarity between those earlier photos and now, it's hard to believe they're the same people as these big, tall men I now live with.

I've heard that all the cells in a person's body are regenerated every seven years, so in a way they really aren't the same people, and neither am I. But if that's so where have those other people, the ones we were then, gone? 

A version of this post went out recently to subscribers of my newsletter, along with some bonus material. Subscribe here and receive a free PDF of my illustrated short essay "Eleven Ways to Raise a Wild Child."

1 comment:

  1. Having a morning of reading about mothers and writers, I guess. This made me think of you, your zines and photos, and C's YouTube-ing.


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