Sunday, March 04, 2007

Contrapuntally

Over the last week or two, I've been surprised at how me, myself, a person who prides herself on being able to handle disruption and chaos, in fact, to some extent prefers it, how I am longing for routine. The routine of the MFA program was something I had to enforce on a life structured with too little time--I don't necessarily miss that routine--I miss the program in a sort of satisfied alum sort of way.

But life feels altogether too fragmented, too disrupted with doctor's appointments for Robert, an ever-changing work-for-pay job schedule to accommodate that and snow days, and other such things. Then there are upcoming family events and a fundraiser. Then comes the summer with its absolute dearth of routines for adults, anyway.

My life is filled with these overlapping routines, that often get in one another's way: the work for pay job, the kids' homework and school, the routine of the checkbook (the ebb and flow of paydays and bills), the bigger arcs of Things that Must Be Fixed (like roofs and cars and toilets), the arc of holidays and of entertaining. And, as these routines ebb and flow and collide and overlap, they either put pressure on the writing or they usurp the writing time.

I think I may have quoted this before on this blog some time ago, I'm not sure, but this is from a 2003 NYTimes Book Review article on the late Edward Said's autobiographical memoir. The reviewer is Jill Ker Conway (of The Road to Coorain and True North):

"'I occasionally experience myself as a cluster of flowing currents . . . These currents, like the themes of one's life, flow along during the waking hours, and at their best, they require no reconciling, no harmonizing. They are 'off' and may be out of place, but at least they are always in motion . . . ' We should see our lives contrapuntally, he thinks, without a unifying central theme."

Everything is 'off' and out of place for me right now. This bothers me, but not dramatically so. Maybe it's more a matter of listening carefully for the new measures and new rhythms--if I can hear them, then the world will get back into frame again.

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