Monday, January 23, 2006

Happy belated New Year?

I haven't written in a long time -- over a month -- for reasons that snowballed. First, I went out of town and spent two weeks in Brazil alternately swimming with the fishes and shaking sand out of my hair. There was no internet where we were; the nearest town, in fact, only got electricity last year. There were no newspapers (or, I should say, none that weren't three days out of date and in Portuguese), no telephones. Robert spent an inordinate amount of time (hours! every day!) chasing hermit crabs around the beach. I floated on my back in the ocean, eyes closed, thinking, "If I ever see another hypnotherapist who tells me 'to go to' the most relaxing place I've been, I must remember this." We went for long, long walks on the beach and we held hands and kissed and drank aqua de coco in the morning and ate slices of papaya and mango and plum. At night, we went to the beach and looked at the stars and tried to guess which ones were planets and on New Year's Day we opened a bottle of champagne that Robert had brought along from London and we sat on a beach chair with my back against his chest and his arm around me until I got too cold -- and then we wandered back for dinner, fish and vegetables and cashew fruit for dessert. We talked some about how different this year's vacation was from last Christmas -- running from the tsunami in Thailand, visiting death camps in Cambodia -- but it was more than that. It's not just the destination; we have changed. Time makes us stronger. I love him more and more. Which brings me to the second, and primary, reason that I've neglected to write here since last year.

With the exception of my mother, this relationship with Robert has been the most challenging of my life. My friends know this. If you're reading this blog, then I can only assume that my romantic travails in the last two and a half years have presented themselves here as something that...I've devoted a lot of time to. And, on that note, I should add that more than one of my friends has been fairly disgusted with my (oh lord) single-minded focus on my boyfriend. My resolution this year is to treat my friends and my sister the way they deserve to be treated -- with time and attention and care, as much effort on all three fronts as I have given to my love life. That resolution extends to me as well. I want to treat my own endeavors and interests with as much respect as I have shown for Robert's work. It's been easy sometimes to put him first not only because I love him but also because that way, I wouldn't have to deal with my own messes and talents.

Not anymore.

Between now and the end of May, I am going to:
1. finish my graduate thesis (a collection of autobiographical essays)
2. send at least three essays out to various publications each month
3. celebrate my friends' birthdays like a respectable adult and not a shirking, shrieking person who arrives a month late to the party with a card that includes the word 'belated'
4. train for the Vancouver Marathon on May 7th (which I am running with my dad and Robert)
5. speak to my sister every week
6. find an apartment in New York with Robert
7. find some sort of job/plan for post-May
8. begin putting together a book proposal

I started running five days a week two and a half weeks ago and am in a constant state of soreness. It's wonderful and, truly, I can't recommend it highly enough, this feeling of my heart pounding while I run -- strangely enough -- puts me in a good mood. This is maybe absurd and definitely surprising coming from someone who's always prided herself as being the anti-athlete of the family. But I want to run a marathon; it's on my life list; I want to do it and then, if only for the sake of my breasts, I never want to run again. I've also been doing yoga regularly and I can't remember ever feeling so enamored of the stretching. Stretching! It's so much more my speed.

What I meant to say before I distracted myself was that I didn't feel like writing because I was judging myself. Even before I finished a sentence, I was pressing Delete and editing. Now, I've decided again, the most important thing is just to get it out onto the page. I just finished reading, fifteen minutes ago, the novel Lucy Gayheart, by Willa Cather. It's wonderful.

In it, Lucy falls in love with an older, married musician who subsequently drowns and, as she grieves, there is a passage that describes Lucy's wondering if "Life itself were the sweetheart" and then, in a letter, she writes, "I have found that I can't run away from my own feelings. The only way for me, is to do the things I used to do and to do them harder."

Perhaps it sounds melodramatic and too precious, but me, I read those words and I know they are true.


Anonymous Camille said...

Welcome back!
I've missed you.
If there was an L train I'd come see you.
I am going to a gallery tonight. Wish you could come.
Talk to you soon!

1:02 PM  
Blogger MaRougeChausseurs said...

nice to see you writing again.
it's me...the friend you met in london...i'm anonymous now...
your list is very ambitious!

6:28 PM  

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