“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.