Thursday, February 25, 2010

Plum Pudding

Just finished a chapter of my book. It is the scene where everyone participates in group therapy in the hospital. 51 pages of group therapy. Now I go back and re-write it changing the point of view from first person (my heroine Rachael) to third person omniscient. That is what my dream told me to do. I have never done this type of exercise before and I have no idea how difficult it may be. Once the chapter has been re-written I will show it to my husband to read. That is the real test I'm curious about; will the chapter sustain his interest or will it bore him? Don't want to think about the horror of boring him. It is the same as crashing failure. So far I've managed not to do this, even though, I'm writing the type of literature that my husband never reads. Oh once he characterized my writing as something like a book you get assigned to in school. It was both a compliment (good literature) and a complaint (boring literature).

We've been having snow, that at the current moment, has turned into rain. It is predicted more snow tomorrow. The dog is having problem with snow falling off the roof. I assume that from the dog's point of view it is like the sky is falling. She shakes, she whines, and she tries to get up into the bed with us sleeping in it.

It is of utmost importance that my husband every night get his 7 hours of sleep. He earns the paycheck that we both survive on. I have a memory that one night when he did not get enough sleep he called in sick to work. So lesson learned. I don't want him to lose pay - sick days are days of no pay. I try, in my wifely way, to give my husband no excuse not to go to work. And I honestly think that my husband's days of tireless energy are gone, both as a result of his mental breakdown eight years ago and simple old age. He is not the man he used to be. He has his limits, and sleep apparently, keeps him feeling sane.

So when the dog acts up I turn on the heat in the rest of the apartment and take the dog with me to sleep on the couch in the kitchen. Last time we did this I had to put a chair in front of the bedroom door. The dog was determined to get back into the bedroom where my husband was sleeping and get into bed with him or perhaps, crawl under the bed. The dog obsessively worked at tipping the chair over and getting at the bedroom door. When the chair tipped (this happened twice, and a dog never forgets when it has succeeded at something) I had to wake up (the chair would bang when it fell over) and pull the dog away from the door and put the chair back. That night I got 4 hours of sleep.

The next day, after my husband had left for work, I tried to go back to sleep to make up for what I had missed. This time I slept in the bed and let the dog hide under the bed. Eventually she heard some snow fall off the roof and woke me trying to get up on the bed. This time I let her. She would curl herself near my head, some part of her trembling, panting, body touching mine. It was too foreign a sensation, I couldn't sleep again. But I existed in near sleep, and I find, that there is something very romantic about having a big furry body so close. While sleep eluded me, I felt very tenderly toward my poor dog. Apparently I, and the bed, is a source of comfort in her mind.

Tomorrow night, while we are expecting a storm, we will try a new tactic. We will move Plum's kennel (a large wire cage) from the mud room which is unheated into the kitchen and cover it with blankets. We will create a large, snug cave for the dog and lock her in it. My husband reminded me that we have tried this before with success - it allowed me to sleep through the night on the sofa. Hopefully Plum slept in the kennel. That I am on the kitchen sofa and not in the bedroom with my husband is for the comfort of the dog, to give her some creature company.

I am currently reading a biography of the poet Emily Dickinson. I was pleased to read in the introduction, that the man writing the biography, finds some of her poems incomprehensible. So do I. But I had always assumed that this was simply because I was not smart enough to figure them out. The biographer seems to believe that she really did write for herself, a diary of her interior experience, and that incomprehensibility is a result of trying to record a subjective and very personal view point.

It further amazes me that incomprehensibility does not turn me off. I am intrigued by what I don't understand instead of bored. Some of Dickinson's poems are tantalizing, they are like the soft focus of an impressionist painting. I am content with half understanding. I am content with mystery. I can love a poem even not knowing exactly what it is about. This gives me a further hope - a long shot - that I may become a more spiritual person in the future.

The two most spiritual people I know, my mother and my husband, both possess a degree of certainty that I don't have. They simply know that there is a God and they feel the presence of God in their lives every day. From my perspective they are beyond having faith. They don't question, they don't seek, they don't fumble very much. They feel guided. They feel accompanied. They feel a whole range of emotions, and they do have their difficult times, but religion is not something that is on the table to be messed with. Other issues perplex them - not religion. To me this is like having a safety net. You can walk on the high wire of life and know that if you fall something will catch you. How much anxiety this would take away from me!

I am an avid collector of other people's religious experiences. I wonder at stories of wonder. I love near death stories, and psychic stories. I love what some would dismiss as the wanderings of an unconscious mind. I want to believe beyond Freud and beyond modern science. I want to break from the traditional narrow minded teachings of my doctor father and become a daughter who has moved into uncharted territory. I wish to leave childhood I was raised in behind and find a childhood of new thought to play in. I was once a believer, than an angry atheist, and now, am I a believer again? If I could be a believer I think I would not struggle so with painful thoughts of suicide. All clues point toward a relationship with God having as part of it a zest for life. I wish to choose life and choose God. It would be so much more easy for me if God came nearer to me and showed a little more of Himself to me. But until then (an it may never happen) I have to be satisfied with seeing God through the lens of others who He is immediate to.

Emily Dickinson was a very religious person. I hope her biographer goes into this part of her personality. So many of her poems are about life after death and celebrating life in Nature. Nature really tickled her fancy. I think Dickinson was primarily a positive person.

I believe that I have come to a position in life where I am surrounded by positive people. Many of these people come through church, although, some are in the sub-world of the mentally ill.

The most positive of them all though is my husband. It shows you how stubborn depression is when it is so difficult for his cheer to rub off on me. Although usually, eventually, it does. He does have the knack of eventually making me smile. Every day I am so eager for him to come home from work. When he comes home from work he breezes into my life and lifts me up with joy. Oh, how I watch the clock right before he comes home. Even as I write, I'm doing it right now. Calculating the time before I see him again!

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