Sunday, March 17, 2013

Riding Time

I’ve been suffering from lack of inspiration lately. You know how when even you find yourself boring? You turn inward to find something meaningful to say or write and you face a blank page, devoid of anything worth sharing. 

          I’ve begun research on a new book…an ambitious project that needs lots of attention. I’ve got this blog, a web site in development and a short story to shop around. There are still some 8,000 POW/MIAs waiting to be found. All of these tasks have sat stewing for weeks, gnashing their teeth and spewing epithets at me. “Get over here and do something with me, you lazy good-for-nothing wretch.” I’ve managed to turn from each of them, stuff away the guilt and put it all off to another day.  

          In retrospect I can see it started when we got ready to put our house on the market…again. This is its third selling season. Each year we cancel the listing for the holidays and manage to thoroughly trash the place by Christmas. So as January rolled around we dragged ourselves into that hideous state of mind known as Staging the House. How the attic got so full in just a few months is beyond me. And when did things in the basement crawl out from their corners? Let’s not mention the damn spices— would it kill them to stay in some kind of order up in their cupboard?

          I will say it feels good to get rid of clothes from high school that make me feel like a fat woman in the circus dressed up as Bette Davis’ Baby Jane. And I guess it was time for the broken VCR and the old bag phone to go. All in all it has been a productive experience, except that it has taken me over and sucked the creativity from me as though I’ve had an IV running in reverse.   

          As I felt myself dissolving into a pasty little blob I cast my listless mind about, wondering what might call to me. What will return me to life beyond clearing out closets and bagging up yesterdays I can barely remember? Ironically, it was death that brought me back.

          In a fit of madness I’d decided to clean up our address book because, God knows, prospective buyers might look in there to see if we secretly keep our affairs in a mess, such that they can infer the whole house is actually ready to fall down. As I turned the pages I came across the name of a friend of mine who had just died. I hadn’t even known she was ill. She was a beautiful, inspirational individual and now she was gone. Her name would need to be deleted. Another friend on the next page. She too must go. Then two colleagues, my aunt and my uncle. All had passed away recently. Delete. Their names disappeared and with them went the space they once filled.

          I took a walk and came upon a cemetery. Row after row of headstones stretched over acres. Space filled with people who are not here anymore. So many lives lived and lives ended. What difference had each of them made before they moved on? An empty trash bag blew in the wind, rambling over the graves, somehow emphasizing the nothingness of life after it has passed.

          There is a greater purpose to which I aspire, though if truth be told I’m not sure what it might be. The collective consciousness is a fine concept, but I would like to rise above the din, at least now and again. I’m not really sure why but I’ve always wanted to be heard above the crowd, maybe just a little. And here I’ve been lately just descending into it. I’m not happy with me.

          As I looked at the contingent of head stones, I thought of the hundreds more waiting to join them each day; people passing through. My day will come around the corner soon enough. I need to consider myself accountable to the time I’ve been given between the womb and the ground that will hold me. Make something of it, Donna. There is none of it to waste. We are all only riding along until we fall away and time passes us by.

          So now I’m ready to jettison myself from the doldrums. There is much to discover and much to do before my name is ready to be deleted from the next guy’s address book.