Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Another Limited Commodity From The Dead
My mother used to make lists all the time, lists of things she had done, needed to buy, operations she had gone through (even her "brief medical history" list that she carried to various doctor's appointments was not anywhere near brief), money she didn't have (each of these ended with a "in the hole" section marked in blood red), and more optimistically places she wanted to go and things she needed to do. I found one of these recently titled "Company Menu" (she always titled her list) that listed all sorts of things that I could never make in her tiny child-like writing which always struck me, if writing can have a personality, as tense and sad and a little tentative, a side of herself she almost never showed. The list fell out of a pad of paper she'd given me many years ago because the color of the paper annoyed her. The pad contains "XTREME Colors!" according to its front cover, and she'd bought it because she was always losing her lists in her her purse and knew she'd be able to see the loud pinks, purples, blues, and greens. "Now they just fucking get on my nerves," she said. "But maybe you'd like them?" I took them, of course. I love paper of all sorts and have stationary from almost everywhere I've ever been, my only collecting compulsion. Delighted, she passed off her bad paper onto me, and I've had it in my top desk drawer for a very long time, hesitant to use it because, let's face it, I like the story and am loathe to part with yet another limited commodity from the dead.
But the other day, I needed to make a grocery shopping list (I hate this activity so very much) and thought about my mother and how she would approve of her paper being something of use instead of stale decoration and that's how I came across her again, once more in the world of the living. I could see her making her lists and imagine that's one of my biggest heritages from her. Nobody loves a list more than me! I remember what I was doing this day six years ago -- everyone does. My love life was in a shambles, my car wasn't working, and then the world exploded and changed. People I loved were still alive for the most part and like that song that always gets played at second weddings, "The Best Is Yet To Come," I wasn't buying it for a minute. These past six years have brought more horror to the world in the form of endless war, more damage, more misery. As for me, they haven't brought the kind of clarity and wisdom to my life that I had hoped for, the supposed spoils of living through hard times. But if I bring out one of those colored sheets of paper, maybe I can make a list, not of what I think I need, but of what I have which is so much more than I deserve. I'd like to be the kind of person who doesn't need to write it all down to know it, but I can't imagine my life any other way.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I've had a wonderful and terrible life. I wouldn't cry for myself, would you?" Tennessee Williams
Drinking memoir suggestion: Memoirs Tennessee Williams
Benedictions and Maledictions
In Memoriam, September 11, 2001.