Springtime. Or something like that.
New beginnings, housecleaning, baby green vegetables, floaty dresses, cleanses.
Oh, and I live in the Hoelzen House now.
I haven’t checked in with you kids for a while. I’ve been a little more shoegaze than is my wont. Blame spring. The time of new beginnings, et al. I think of things to say about it and then as soon as I start to put them down, I forget them.
The immediacy, you see, is not there. The frantic urgency of both pleasure and pain, security and worry, under which I’ve lived since getting on the road two Septembers ago.
Maybe it was my winter solstice stay in Joy’s lovely little pad between Belmont and Hawthorne. Certainly it was during that time, if not occasioned there directly, that something turned over inside me. Something that suddenly tired of professional self-deprecation.
Financial insecurity started feeling like too much work.
It’s not like everything turned over, overnight. Indeed, only last month, I had to ask Laurel to hold my rent check an extra week. That was embarrassing…but only this, and nothing more. Not panic-inducing. Not furious-making.
And in the meantime, I’ve been flown to Harrisburg, PA (and expense-accounted throughout my stay), I’ve guest-lectured to a college classroom, I’ve guest-blogged, I’ve been sought out for participation in more than one publication on the basis of this very site, and I’ve successfully pitched an article to Salon.com.
And continued to meet with my personal and professional heroes.
It may or may not be incidental that throughout this process, I’ve been keeping regular work hours.
I’ve also been cleaning the shit out of the Hoelzen House–it’s just the right size and just the right amount of “mine” to strike the perfect pitch of domestic bliss.
I never intended for this project to be one that kept me moving every two weeks. I envisioned that as the exception; the norm would be living in places.
You know what? That’s what’s so weird about this spring. It’s brought me to my desired norm. Da fuk?
Yes, yes, it’s exciting. Exciting to the point of paralyzing. Like when you throw a surprise party for the wrong type of kid. They just stand there, trembling, looking out at everything they ever wanted, shown up when they weren’t expecting it.
No longer am I paralyzed by fear that I’m not good enough, or that my work isn’t worth much. Now I’m more paralyzed by inability to keep up. My life suddenly outpaced the dreams I have for it.
I never realized how much energy went into being on the road…just being on it. It always felt very natural, even with all the anxieties that attended it in the early months.
Settling–temporarily, I insist, though who really knows?–has been attended by anxieties of its own. One of which is the anxiety of getting back on the road, which I did yesterday. I’m writing this, in fact, from my folks’ place in San Diego, where I’m spending a week.
It felt great to once again paint a line across the blank canvas of road, to keep pace with the Union Pacific, to feel the bitter pang of missed photography opportunities (like the old, leathery man riding a bicycle laden with bedrolls and baskets past the highway exit to Dateland) and the burn of sun on the south side of my face.
Nonetheless, I was a little emotional about leaving the Hoelzen House, and missing two whole weeks of church and of dancing at the Duce and of chatting with the Golos at the public market and of the languorous mornings in the kitchen before the outside warms up…and all the other things Phoenix has in store, that I don’t even know about yet.
One of my first mornings here, I was having a frantic attack and in the shower demanded of God, “What am I doing here, anyway?”
The answer came so immediately that I didn’t think to question it:
You’re here to wait.
For what, of course, is the question I can still get hung up on. But really I feel convinced that it’s not for something in particular. Maybe it’s for a lot of things. But the real payoff is going to be a new power of patience.
Patience enough to stay somewhere, and patience enough to take a break from it.
Here’s what I think: patience is the ability to be fully where you are, when you’re really somewhere else.
That phrase could use some refining, but you know what I mean.