Thursday, October 18, 2012

Where do the wishes go?

I wish. I wish too often. I wish on birthday candles and an eyelash on my face and the clasp of the necklace that made its way to the front and on the first star of the night. Despite all logic, I always make a wish.

Maybe it's real. Maybe there is a force in the universe that grants wishes. Maybe it's not for everything: the birthday candles might be real whereas the blown eyelash is just a puff of air. The thing is, I don't know, so I figure I better be safe and make all the wishes. And, just in case, I better make the same wish, over and over. What if that universe force decides to only grant the most recent wish? Better be sure I'm getting the wish I really want.

Although there is a part of me that knows that these wishes are simply hopes I'm casting into the air, there's another part of me that thinks it just might happen, so I better wish carefully. But there have been times when something happens, and I see that a certain wish will never come true. And I can't help but wonder where those wishes went.

You might think that when that wish is gone, it might shake my faith in making wishes. I suppose it should, but, then again, what if I'm wrong? It always comes back to that. What if there was a reason this wish shouldn't come true? Maybe the universe is looking out for me or has a plan that I can't see right now. Maybe someone else's wish somehow trumped mine or maybe I didn't do it right. But I want those wishes. I want those wishes back. I earned those wishes and I need them back.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

And you're working on something good

He's gone into his Little Room on what he calls a writing bender. I've never been with someone who is an artist-type before, and, even on regular days, HWM doesn't work normal work hours. But when he wants to really get in that creative groove, he takes a writing bender. He stays in the room, day and night, for a few days. He's at home, but he's also away.

HWM has a place to work that he calls his Little Room. It's not a study or an office, but it is where he works. He surrounds himself with things he loves, his pictures, his buddhas, his mementos, art he has created, whatever he needs to inspire him. He lights incense and candles and listens to music and gets to work. When he goes on his benders, he immerses himself in the Little Room, sleeping in there, only coming out for a few minutes to gather some food or go to the bathroom. Days later, he comes out, exhausted, needing a shower, but with a glow of creativity in his eyes. These benders push him forward, and I love to see this.

When we we first together and he would do a bender, they confused me. Why was he going away for so long? Why didn't he want to see me? What the hell was he doing in there? Everyone I know works "normal" hours, what did he think he was doing in there? Why was he sleeping in there, why not be more comfortable with me? But now I get it. I see why he does this and how they help him.

When he goes on benders now, I smile. I will miss him, even though we're in the same house, but I know he's creating magic. I smell the incense, I hear him moving around, and I can't help but smile. I plant a couple of kisses on the door and I hope he knows I am thinking of him.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

There is something exciting and romantic about the whiff of cigarette smoke. These days, I don't smell it very often. I'll be out walking (you only smell smoke outside now; there's something almost scandalous about the idea of smoking indoors these days), and someone will walk by, and I'm transported to a different time.

When I was growing up, smoking was all around. All of my grandparents smoked, as did most of the grown-ups I knew. You could smoke in bars and restaurants, you could even smoke in college classrooms. I had a professor who would puff his way through 4 or 5 cigarettes during his 50-minute lectures at 8 in the morning. When my parents would have parties, the house filled with smoke and laughter. Sure, the house stunk of old smoke the next day, but while the party was going on, cigarette smoke meant something was happening.

The first boy I kissed beyond a simple peck on the lips smoked. He was the older brother of a friend of mine, and seemed mysterious. Until I met him, I thought only bad kids smoked but he seemed nice, not a "hood," as my mom would call the kids I wasn't allowed to hang out with; however, he didn't say much, so maybe I didn't know his secret life. I met him as part of a group and we seemed to get along. I got those first kisses at a dance club for teens, during a slow dance. Our next (and only) date was to meet to watch the next high school football game. I don't remember much about that night except being terrified that we'd run into someone who would tell my parents I was with a boy who smoked.

We didn't have a lot to say to each other but when he kissed me, it was exciting. I could taste the smoke on his lips. I can't say that kissing him made me feel grown up, but it did make me feel like less of a kid and more like a teenager. It made me wonder what dating and meeting boys and falling in love would be like.

When I got older and went out with friends, we would go to places where smoking was all around. Pizza places, bowling, concerts, anywhere people hung out, there was smoking. Going to bars in college meant you came home with your clothes reeking of cigarette smoke. Most of my friends smoked, and I was jealous as to how effortlessly they'd handle their cigarettes. The tapping of the pack, the cupping of the end around the flame as they lit up, that first inhale and exhale, the different ways they blew smoke. I'd be lying if I said I didn't find the way people smoked as cool. People look cool when they smoke, they just do.

(Of course I tried smoking in college. However, I have a chronic cough and even one cigarette left me with a hack so deep in my lungs even an idiot 20-something knows that's not a good look. I was left to admire others for having something to do with their hands when we were just hanging out.)

The smell of cigarette smoke takes me to nights full of possibilities. It takes me to a time when we didn't text to know who was going to be where. You showed up and looked around and hoped. Smoke was where things were happening. Smoke reminds me of going to breakfast with my Nana, and just taking your time with your coffee and cigarettes. To me, smoke is still the scent of excitement.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Birds singing in the sycamore tree

I am afraid to dream. I believe I am. This isn't to say I don't have goals or hopes or plans. These I have. But dreams. I'm not so sure.

Dreams are different from goals. A goal is "I will lose 20 pounds." A dream is "when I lose those 20 pounds, I will be discovered and become the world's first over-35 super model!" I'm pretty good at goals. I can make the plans, make a list of things to get done, start crossing those off. But dreams often require a bit of faith, a bit of hope, a bit of counting on chance. Dreams need you to be able to picture a new way of looking at your life. I'm not so good at those things.

I view myself as a practical person. Maybe it's my anxiety, maybe it's because, at heart, I am a scientist, but I when I make plans, I'm not comfortable with taking chances. It's not a bad thing: I have a steady job, a 401K, the sorts of things a responsible adult should have. But I don't really have dreams. When I try to dream, I see where it can go wrong. I see that I might need someone or something to come through that I can't control. And so I hesitate, afraid to commit to a dream.

On a recent episode of "Treme," someone criticized New Orleans, saying that it was nothing but "drunks and dreamers." And with that, I understood why I love New Orleans. When I visit New Orleans, I get to see the dreamers. I hear the stories of how they just packed a bag and moved there, or came to visit and just never left. Maybe it didn't turn out like they planned, but for a moment, they had the courage to give in to a dream. I think to myself, "I could never do that." I wonder what it would be like to believe in what could be over what current was. Is that enough? It seems to be.

Here's the funny thing: I have given into a dream. And it was the best thing that ever happen to me. So, why am I afraid to dream now?

I want bravery. I want bravery so that I can dream. I admire the dreamers because they have a bravery that I can only hope to have. One day, I may give into a dream, and you might shake your head at that crazy thing I just did. But don't worry; I'll still have my 401K.