I received the most remarkable thing in the mail a few days ago: a letter. Not a bill, advertisement, magazine, or postcard. A real, handwritten letter. First, I was bemused, then amused, and then, at last, delighted, rejuvenated, and quite resoundingly prodded. I left this blog hanging on a dour note, for which I apologize. The autumn, as it often is for us, was difficult. Moods shift downward as our span of the sun's nourishing rays diminish. Troubles mount. There are dinners to plan, children to tend, and writings to write. And, alas, sometimes the dinners spoil, the children get wild, and the writing, well, the writing pauses, waiting for wistful moments of wonder and inspiration. Those moments, by the way, don't come. Not even when you bribe them. Trust me, I've tried. Instead of waiting then, I have found another piece of wisdom, of which the letter (mentioned above) reminded me. Be mindful. Do not wait, but mindfully work. Step by step. Inch by inch. If my infant son waited for the perfect moment to crawl, he'd never leave my lap. Instead he wobbles, wiggles, and does everything he can think to do (and that his clumsy, but terribly cute physical form will permit) to reach his goal. We don't walk from the womb, and we don't write without work, failure, and practice. Endless, aching practice. I have practiced. In my own quiet space, reveling in my own words, and terrified of sharing them, even the little ones with outsiders. There is something personal about one's writing, something embarrassing. Like underwear. Everyone knows you have it, but you don't really go around showing it off. Well, then, here is a bit of boxer, or brief, or, well, I think this metaphor has stretched sufficiently.
We spent a delightful Christmas here in Maryland. My parents, beloved abuela, and Fox's parents, brother, and we spent the weekend here in our little apartment, snacking on the cookies my mother lovingly prepared, and the dinner I hesitatingly offered. I cooked too much food. All agree, and so next year I must plan a different menu with more care to portions. Either that or invite more people. Part of me leans toward the latter, since I like food, and food in very great quantities seems a wonderful holiday tradition. Still, there is room for improvement and adjustment. After all, I didn't really need a ham the size of my Christmas turkey, did I?
Fox and I also attended the American Philological Association (APA) meeting in Philadelphia this year. The boys stayed with my parents in New York. A wonderful time was had by all. Fox and I dined at Alice's Tea Cup in Manhattan (Chapter II), and we spent far too much money on books in the APA's book room. The APA is good for many things. It prods, but for some reason not as effectively as the letter I received. There is something remarkably powerful about a personal letter. Perhaps it was always so, or perhaps it is a product of our instant, demanding society. I cannot say, but I loved receiving a letter. I have begun to compose my response, and I will send it out with Tuesday's mail. I, unlike my good friend, will type my letter. His handwriting stood the test of travel, but mine will not. It has devolved to the point where even I am hard-pressed to determine its meaning. My handwriting is a cipher, and I lack key cryptographic skills.
Kit is learning to crawl, and he has started to babble "da-da, da-da." This cheers my heart. He has also become a ravenous little creature, eating two or three times within the space of an hour. Only then will he settle for the night. Is it a growth spurt? Possibly. Whatever it is, it is impressive to watch. Where, I wonder, like a kid before a skilled magician, does he put it all?
Thorn is, well, two-and-a-half. "No" is his favorite type of expression. He even yells at his computerized devices. "Press the button," one device says. "I don't have to," Thorn exclaims! Such are the shapes of his moods. Still, he is my happy, little man. Full of verve and life, bouncing like his much beloved Tigger. His vocabulary increases daily, and the fears I had that he would not speak, or would not speak well, are allayed.
Fox, well, I'll let Fox write her own update. This was mine. Time to close up shop.