Saturday, May 28, 2005


Last night, when Erik got called in AGAIN at midnight, I thought about how much time I spend in crisis mode. Early pregnancy is nonstop worry. Applying for fellowships. Finishing novels (I still think of things I should add to the novel--the word "quenelle" in the food, a speech by Simon post "realization," Mr. Heraldson saying "Simon sure is one for Damsel's in distress," Vastar telling more stories while Quinn lies comatose...... . Applying for jobs. Traveling. Wondering will I ever write a poem I like again ala the Darwin poem? Will wolves move to Utah? Is my neighbor across the state a pedophile? Will I be able to teach AND stay awake? Money. Money. House. Remodeling. Will the tomatoes get planted? Will the Cialis spam ever cease? (I do want to please my wife, I really do, but...) Will Erik come back from Vernal ever? Breaking news has become anaethma at my house.
I don't mean to imply that crises are bad. In fact, I'm sure I somewhat thrive on them. Living is that crisis energy running through everything. But my nature is fear and worry and I always have to counter that with some more optimistic balancing perspective. Fear is paralyzing. So I look for ways to incorporate the crisis into something positive--hence the writing, I suppose. As if you can transform the energy from one thing into another.
My little sister Paige got car-jacked last night--her car, her wallet, her purse, her books, her i-pod are all gone. And on a teacher's salary, she must replace all this. Our family has a tendency to just deal--get the insurance check, buy a new car, wonder what one could have done differently....
I hope something good comes out of it (which is my optimism speaking), but I can't imagine what (which is my cynicism speaking).
Here's a cynical statement. And I swear I'm not in as bad of a mood as this sounds but : I've decided pessimists are the happier people. They don't worry because they already know that everything will turn out crappy. If something good happens, they are pleasanly surprised. Optimists are eternally disappointed. I'm working on being more of a pessimist but I just got the Life of Brian song stuck in my head--"always look on the bright side of life."
On to crisis number 8 of the day: What to make for dinner.
Perhaps it's time to hand of these major issues to the pizza delivery man.


Dr. Write said...

Yikes! Car jacked! I hope her insurance covers everything. (hope: am I an optimist?)
I think having a child is getting REALLY in touch with worry. Right now, for example, Son is at the park with a friend and his mom. I'm sure he's fine. But part of my mind is occupied with a little scenario that goes: while his friend is getting attention because he fell off the swing, Son runs over to the slide, creepy man off to side sees him....etc, etc. This (almost) never happens.
After Son was born I couldn't watch the news for about a year. Too many stories about kids that aren't happy.
The good news is, the longer Son survives the less anxious I become. After all, MiddleBrow and I made it to adulthood. Some scars (like MB's rock throwing gash) but alive. And just think, I have fourteen more years to worry and fret before I send him off to college. And then I can worry and fret from a distant.
I think I'm a hopeful pessimist. I pretty much know things will turn out crappy (for example, my short story collection didn't win and contests and will remain, for now, unpublished). But then I keep entering contests, applying for grants (what are my odds for the NEA? about one in one million? I should buy a lottery ticket!), letting my son play with friends. You know, wacky stuff.
The good news is, when I'm not worrying about Son I'm letting him entertain me. Yesterday morning he came downstairs (I was watching the French Open) with a plate and half a cucumber. Why? He was hungry. God Bless the cucumber. So with the worry comes infinite joy. Let's just hope there's no more breaking news anytime soon. Here's to the slow news week.

Nik said...

Dr Lynn is right. Worry is compounded by child exponentially. But as you imply, having a sense of humor is the only chance one has of buying a perspective. Perhaps worry is as good as playing crosswords and riddles to staves off alzheimer's. Thinking of all the myriad possibilities of the diseases, car wrecks, bad choices you yourself can make is mind-stretching in itself. Doing it for your kids must make you a genius. Plus, you have to put off all that writing worry in order to spend time worrying about your kid. Which must bode well for the writing if not the anxiety of the kid.
Thanks Dr. Lynn for the perspective.