“Music and woman I cannot but give way to, whatever my business is.”

“I hate writing, I love having written.”
― Dorothy Parker

Sometimes, not very often (I hope), I am in denial about something pretty major. This is typically when I am in some kind of holding pattern, waiting for something to change. I think that’s somewhat normal–do you want to spend a bunch of time really chewing at something if you know it will go away in a month or two? You have to decide how to aim yourself, how to prioritize.

I think that’s what happened with this court thing. It all flared up, like the worst case of roids ever, in the fall of 2011, when SeaFed arbitrarily decided it would be marvy to have Franny half of the time again. Then I had a date dangled in front of me: October 2012. That would be the trial–the final, drop dead, leave no forwarding address because this would be OVER. And then we got probably the world’s worst GAL in the history of them. I am not talking about any kind of judgement or decision against me, since I see that on legal bulletin boards around: “How do I get rid of my GAL (who is finding against me).” No. There were no findings at all. Poof! She vanished.

Felling the apple tree

So we continued, and continued…got passed to another commissioner. Franny is now so old she needs to sign the court paperwork as well, at least some of it. My lawyer, Lady Jesse Pinkman, has found a new GAL, who is also a lawyer and who I hope understands professional integrity and shit. “Yo this new GAL totally has her shit together BITCH.” I have not met with her just yet because I found out SeaFed is holding things up.

The emails that are flying around tell kind of an interesting story. Last week I get a forward from my lawyer and it’s a conciliatory communication between her and the court, apologizing that deadlines have not been met, and asking if we’ve done everything we needed to, and no, she has not heard anything at all from Mr. SeaFed. He’s missing deadlines and ignoring emails. The new trial date is set for June, but he fuffed a deadline last month for signing off and any GAL, our pick or otherwise. He did not suggest his own, as far as I know.

I think something else is going on, besides his attention span waning. I keep hearing sad reports from the other house about empty refrigerator and her stepmother sleeping until noon, which, I know at one point she held down a nine to five. I am obviously projecting so hard that hang up a sheet, I can show Life of Pi out my ass, but it sounds like 2003 at my old house over there. How can I describe to you the feeling of having a body next to you who acts human but isn’t really there? Like some kind of meat golem who can, when prompted, carpool children and make easy dinners (assuming there is more than one potato and a couple of backyard eggs in the fridge), but who you can’t really connect with. Is something missing? What could be wrong when you have everything? Is it your fault? Do you really need that intimacy with someone (A: yes).

Chickens peck the wreckage

“They talk about money, money, not enough money, I spent the money, oldest daughter over there [name redacted], money…and that’s about it,” Franny told me one night in the car when I gently suggested that maybe her stepmother was not “lazy” but sad instead. “I think my stepmom doesn’t cry ever because she knows it won’t help anything and my dad won’t do anything about it. Well, she cried when her dad died, but that’s about all I’ve seen.” I bet she cries.

Anyway, here it is 2013, and I am still in that holding pattern. I killed my cookbook in 2011 when court came up, prioritizing Franny’s happiness over creative endeavors. My heart broke over that a little, but my heart was breaking over all kinds of things, so I let it go. You know, I have not done a fucking thing since then. Um, okay, bought a house and that has sucked up some time. But I’ve had a million ideas for terrible short stories, blogs, projects, etc. And here I stew in my own juices.

So, out of denial I guess. There is a part of me that is tiny depressed because I have nothing outside of work and the girls. Getting out of denial is kind of an extra pain, like scraping yourself while shoving through a hole in a fence. I am practically a hermit this winter, which I am enjoying fussing with my house, yet, where did that extroverted asshole go who can accept social engagements and meet new people? I am very quiet and my shadow is very light. I am having nightmares about not creating anything. I think about painting, like I used to do one million years ago. I got a book on home taxidermy. My consolation right now is that I am tearing through books like a fiend, which tells me something may turn around soon. At my nadir last fall I was not even reading anything of substance. At least I am getting interested in the world again. I think I am operating at about 40% of my capacity. My businesslike self that can deal with children and bills and work and my core friendships is doing pretty well…it’s just the creative side of me that’s depressed.

Recently I steeled myself and finally walked into Book Larder, which, yes, is a very Seattle bookstore that sells mostly cookbooks. I dreamed of having my cookbook in the front window as they were opening. I walked in and I immediately encountered someone’s books who had broken out chapters of Beeton’s book in an small and easily-digestible format. Beeton’s Book of Desserts, Beeton’s Book of Meats, etc. It was okay to see that. I found a terrible update of the book of household management that was Frankensteined into something 1920sish well after her death. It was very expensive as it was a collectible and irritated me, as if someone was selling paintings done in shit that were supposed to be reinterpretations of Sketches of Spain. SIT DOWN, syphilitic Samuel Beeton.

But something good happened there at the Book Larder, and it was this painful week that I was crawling out of denial that my creativity, at least, was depressed, when my eye lit on a book about beekeeping for beginners, which is something I have been thinking about since I lived in Fremont. I think this is the year. I have energy to give to bees, and in a couple of years, they will have honey to give to me. And someday this whole court thing will be over and I will be on fire again.

The apple tree’s rot went through to the middle. But I am resilient as ever.

Love,
SJ

Coda

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9 Responses to ““Music and woman I cannot but give way to, whatever my business is.””

  1. Brigid Keely says:

    I’m glad you’re pulling out of the morass.

    Nesko’s been in a bit of a holding pattern lately, too. I had to verbally kick his ass out of a rut this morning about a shelving issue… a shelving issue, of all things!

    Are you on goodreads?

    I’m looking forward to reading about your upcoming bee adventures. We might be moving out of state to a big wad of property and if we do I’m stipulating that we get bees.

  2. Amanda says:

    Most of your stories of your marriage sound way worse than any relationships I ever lived through but suddenly I recognized this:

    “How can I describe to you the feeling of having a body next to you who acts human but isn’t really there? Like some kind of meat golem who can, when prompted, carpool children and make easy dinners (assuming there is more than one potato and a couple of backyard eggs in the fridge), but who you can’t really connect with. Is something missing? What could be wrong when you have everything? Is it your fault? Do you really need that intimacy with someone (A: yes).”

    Rock on with the bees and keep on keeping on.

  3. MFA Mama says:

    OMG GET BEES YES!!! I love my bees. I wish they were friendly and I could just drill a hole in the top of the door and leave a bowl of simple syrup out at mealtimes and and and Hotter says that’s the stupidest thing ever. But bees are so cool. Even if you do get stung a few times (and you will). It’s like a very weak tattoo needle in one spot so whatever.

    You will lose hours watching their tiny civilization. SO cool.

  4. SJ says:

    Brigid: I am not on goodreads. Should I be?? I tried Librarything but it seemed stupid. I was going to track all my reading last year and then I didn’t end up reading much so I am kind of glad I didn’t. :/

    Amanda: Of course the dramatic moments in a relationship stick out, but a lot of it was this icky autopilot. Glad I am making sense with my fingerwords at least.

    MFA Mama: Thanks for the encouragement. I think Numba One Daughter will be helping me some and neither of us are allergic. I don’t love getting stung (more because of the surprise factor than anything) but I do have a pretty high pain tolerance, lucky me.

    When I was about Strudel’s age I thought I would be an ant scientist. I love hivey/hilly bugs.

  5. Lauren says:

    YEAH, bees are so cool. I don’t know if my hives survived the winter but I can’t wait to find out.

    Have you read “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess (dot com)? I just finished it and enjoyed it very much. There is home taxidermy. Among many other things.

  6. iasshole says:

    Ah, no, not a fan of the Bloggess really. Congrats on the bees, Lauren!

  7. Lauren says:

    Ah well, as soon as I posted I thought “of course she either knows her personally or doesn’t dig her style at all.” So it is.

  8. Brigid Keely says:

    I really like goodreads. It’s a useful tool for making lists of books I want to read (our library system is kind of shitty, I can only request 3 books a time and can’t que up requests), for keeping track of what I’ve read, for getting recs based on books I’ve read/rated, for seeing what my friends think of books, etc. I’m also aiming to read 200 books this year and it’s a cool way of seeing if I’m on target or not AND to see how my fiction versus nonfiction measure up. I have a lazy tendency to just read fantasy books but I’ve been getting all kinds of great recs and suggestions for books outside my comfort zone. I’ve also been winning books via the goodreads first reads give away.

  9. dorrie says:

    I am so feeling this. I think at this time of year (when it is grey and dull outside) is when I start to evaluate my creative side…or lack thereof…bees sound fascinating, my sister in law in Corvallis has many hives and I love to hear her talk about their keeping and cycles.