Tuesday, August 05, 2014


1. Max is four. Max is multiple times four. Max is kind of nonstop. This morning, preschool orientation, he kept asking, "You're going to stay with me?"  I said, "Yes. I will stay. But only today. Thursday, you're on your own." "But you're going to stay, right?" He's been going to preschool/daycare for almost 4 years. You think he'd be used to the system. I think camp/summer actually made his separation anxiety worse. New camp every week in between whole weeks of nonstop mom. Nonstop mom isn't any more fun than nonstop Max except I'm always willing to find his Legos for him which is more my problem than his. If someone asks me to look for something, I'm like a Beagle. I have to look for it until I find it. Max is more of a pit bull. For instance, when I said we might go on a bike ride after swimming and then I changed my mind and said, "Actually, maybe we'll wait till later, after dad comes home," he said, "no." Nonstop. He's still saying no, asking if we can go now, while following me around as I look for Legos.  Last night, when we asked him if he was ready for school, he said, "No." He said, "Actually, I'm not going to live here anymore." When we asked him where he was going, he said "I am moving to Mexico."

2. I love Zoe's friends. But playdates. I don't love. The kids do not see me. They don't talk to me. If I walk down the hallway and one of them is running down the hallway, they look at me like, hey, what're you doing here? They're polite enough and answer questions if I ask them, but only once in awhile do they engage me in conversation. Usually, it's to ask for juice. The normal rhythms of the house are: everyone in the separate corners for five minutes, then the three of us in the kitchen or living room or car for thirty, then back to our own corners, then back together. A fine orbital system. When the friends are here, there are gravities tipping the balance in all directions. They slam doors. Open doors. Run down the hallway. Make some very large noises. I think it's a matter of tolerance. If they were here every day, I'd get used to it. I'd be able to yell, "don't run down the hallway" without feeling like I was chastising a stranger*. I'd be able to tell them to get their own juice. Still, they are very friendly humans and sometimes they play with Max which allows me to go to my own separate corner. 

3. Richard Power's Orfeo might be the best book I've ever read. When I'm reading a passage at night, I think, I should write that down. But then I'd have to type the whole book. I love that Powers already won the MacArthur. And that he still writes. Not trying to impress anyone. Not afraid of someone going, 'well, I don't know who thought this guy was a genius.' Just trying to make a new story. There is something genius about someone who can make a whole book about music and a whole symphony about a book. The way Peter Els wants so hard to be a genius and, maybe was, but then couldn't be. It makes me sad how little I know about music. For instance, this means nothing o me: "A second cello harmonizes the first in simple fifths and thirds." I can imagine what that might look like on the piano but I have no idea how it sounds. I want to listen to Mahler and Soshtakovich and read the book again. But the way Powers talks about studying and studying and still never quite getting the heart of the thing makes me feel that even MacArthur winners feel like the true art of the world evades them. 

* Chastising Strangers might be the name of my next book. 

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