When I’m tired, my memory is less sharp. This is perhaps obvious and yet it surprises me.
This morning, I remember that 1994 was the year my grandmother had a stroke and the year Sam and I began our Tuesday visits with her.
This evening, as I’m writing 1995, I realize that it’s this ski trip when Sam cried and cried.
1995: We all go skiing except Sam, who stays with the baby nurse and the housekeeper. He cries the whole time. We won’t go skiing again until he can go too. Over the last couple of years I’ve been reading more and more–mostly novels. I’m mesmerized by the way these writers mesmerize me. My favorite book is Ellen Gilchrist’s The Anna Papers. On one of the Tuesdays that Sam and I drive to Atlanta to visit my grandmother, I have the urge to write something. I pull over and write a paragraph. On March 26th, for the first time I can remember, I have some free time and the thing I most want to do is write something else. The same thing happens on March 27th–the free time, the writing. The spring is crazy–Kathleen is playing soccer, and Bobby and Jack are on two different baseball teams. They each have to be at practice at a different place at five, and Cal tells me their coaches will not be happy if they’re late. But Bobby and Jack are too young to drop off. I have a panic attack. I get a therapist. She suggests I find ways to relax. I start getting a regular massage. In May Amandah and I decide we want a challenge. We have no idea if we can do it, but we decide to hike all 23 miles of the Pine Mountain Trail in one day. We drop water because we can’t carry enough. We have various spots we can bail, but we don’t. We make it in 8 hours and 10 minutes. Cal and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary by returning to Italy–to Le Sirenuse, our favorite hotel from our honeymoon. Microsoft releases Windows 95 and we buy our first computer. On September 3rd, for the third time this year, I have some free time and nothing that needs my immediate attention. I write a little more. It’s women I’m writing about. Different women, different lives. Later that same day, my grandmother dies. In October I go to Seaside, Florida, for a few days to myself. But there’s a hurricane and I have to evacuate.
Loved this! In 1994, I gave birth to a son who grew into a man waaaaay too quickly! Here today, grown tomorrow.
Thank you, Lady G!
How do you remember the exact dates when you had free time? Journal?
If I knew you didn’t start writing until late 30s, I’d forgotten. I’m so glad to be told now. I’m going through another of my little pity parties about how I wasted so much time re my writing. I didn’t start writing seriously until I was 37, but I’d started a semi-regular flirtation at 30. Of course neither of us wasted a speck of time, you start when you’re called, and everything you’ve done before gets poured into your stories. So it doesn’t matter in the least when you start. That’s what I always say to myself, and today b/c of your post, I’m believing it.
I once briskly walked a 10-mile course with zero training and it was murder on my (very young) body (oh, the impressive size of those blisters, I wish I’d taken a photo). I’m in awe of the distance you and your friend covered. What an accomplishment!
Are these posts making you feel like you’ve lived at least 3 lives rather than 1? That’s how they read to me. I need a nap after every 3rd post or so….
Haha. The main thing these posts are helping me feel is HOW MANY YEARS I have lived.
The free time was so astonishing that I wrote it down on a credit-card-sized notecard and stuck it in my wallet, adding to it as it happened. For the first couple of years, I just wrote when free time appeared. Then writing got hold of me and I made time. Although now that I’m writing this, maybe it wasn’t the free time I was recording so much as the beginning of the new journey of writing…