Sometimes life is so busy, I can’t find time to post here. But always, thoughts about this blog are at the back of my mind, gathering steam, until I can’t hold back any longer, I have to write to you. It’s not that there’s anything vital and earth-shattering to tell. It’s that it’s TIME. So – Tuesday evening. Time.
Snow. That’s the first thing to tell you about – much much snow, a true winter storm coating the city and all of us. It is hard to live in such a brutal climate, and it’s especially hard when you’re old, or even approaching old. Two friends have had falls this week and hurt themselves on icy sidewalks.
But – in order to counter the possible effects of a fall – I learned to do something new today. I stuck a needle into my own stomach and felt very brave. I’m supposed to do this every six months – inject Prolia, a drug that helps with osteoporosis. I kept it in the fridge for a week before daring to try. But it’s easy, if you don’t mind pushing a needle into your own skin. Especially into the belly, where it’s nice and flabby and soft. Heroin is next.
Saturday night, the francophone group dinner next door. Such amazing discussions, one about the causes of international terrorism. Jack, who grew up Jewish in a village in Siberia, said all religions have had the extremist “virus,” as he put it, of intolerance and violence, but most had outgrown it; only Islam, according to him, still fosters the virus. We discussed the extent of French anti-semitism, if and why the authorities failed to protect French Jews from jihad – if, in fact, it’s possible to do so. The failing importance of laicité – secularism – in France. How to convince Muslim immigrants to adapt to the country they now call home instead of retreating into the more violent and isolationist aspects of their religion. All fascinating, and in French, while eating a gratin of seafood.
Sunday, eight writers arrived at 10 a.m. and stayed till 5. We talked about writing, I gave them various kinds of writing prompts, they wrote and read, wrote and read – or didn’t read; we stopped for lunch – my one concession to the Superbowl, we had chili – and went back to work and ended with a glass of wine and more talk. Eight writers ended up feeling as honest, warm and close as sisters. A good day. But exhausting, because I was hostess, teacher, editor, coach, writer – writing alongside them when I could – and also chief cook and bottle washer. Worth it.
I was supposed to meet with my own editor yesterday, but the snow got in the way. So I have another week to work on the memoir before our meeting. I may be wrong, but it already feels as if she’s my midwife; that I’m pregnant with a new work, new ideas, and she will help me give birth safely. I have never had someone play that role. Friends have helped enormously, reading, commenting, encouraging. But this will be a professional relationship; her job is to help me get this book into the world. I can’t wait to see what she has to say. Next Monday.
As my student Mary said, when I told the group about the editor, “What you mean is that you need someone to be YOU. And you’ve found her.” And I guess that’s it. I am writing coach and editor and cheerleader for students and clients. It will be good to have someone do that for me.
P.S. Amazing news about Harper Lee finally publishing a new book, 50 years after “To Kill a Mockingbird.” And I thought I was slow!
PPS. oh – and since you haven’t had one of these for awhile – here he is. His mama said he told her, about his furry friend, “We is bof kitties.”