March 13: I made plans for my small space:
– Reactivate the blog!
– Take an online class!
– Practice piccolo every day!
– Reorganize all closets!!
– Finish some worthy books!
– Get in shape!
– Make all the lemons into lemonade!
But the lemons keep piling on. How to keep the lemonade factory going when I’m running low on sugar, not to mention pitchers and ice, plus maybe I’ve lost my taste for lemonade?
The blog’s going, kind of, but my novel is neglected. I’m slogging through my online class at half the planned speed. Capone the cat is happy that the piccolo has been uncaged just twice. My closets are looking pretty good, but my pants are way too tight and getting tighter.
Every morning I kick through lemons, ankle-deep, to reach the armchair where I write down the daily numbers, the horrible surprises and inevitabilities. I brush lemons off the notebook, uncap my pen, and search for the wrong kinds of reasons: justifications to delay, to slow down, to conserve my energy–for what? The day when this is over, and I will have nothing to show for these weeks (or–shudder–months)?
It’s a long pattern. At age 14, I reacted to the undeniable tragedy and shock of my first piano teacher dying unexpectedly by taking a 22-year hiatus between my second piano lesson and the third. When Sonny was born, another break, about 16 years, while we all adjusted to life on the autistic spectrum. In 2018, I took another rest from writing after my husband Dave was in an accident that left him with a broken neck; the writing gap lasted three times as long as Dave’s rehab.
I’m not sure I can change the stress response, but I think I could shorten the intervals between these lemon-shaped cycles of dormancy, disgust, preparation, activity, and decline. Every weekday can be New Year, week one, when I energetically write and check off plans and lists. Knowing that I’ll I fade by Friday, on Saturday I’ll prep for New Year’s Eve, heaping lemons into decorative bowls, and on Sunday I’ll slice lemons and slip them into festive, deadly drinks (no sugar required). At midnight, we’ll throw more lemons at the moon and howl late into the night.