I just watched Life as a House, which I've seen a dozen or so times. I'm not sure why I watch it as often as I do. In reality, it's not a stellar film. It borders on scatterbrained and melodramatic at times. But I think what draws me back - or who - is Kevin Kline. His performance is stellar, as any classically trainer actor of his caliber. But there's something about him in this movie. Or maybe it's in general. But in this role in particular, and no, I'm not calling him old when I saw this - he reminds me of my Granddad.
It's not the cancer. Or the untimely death. Though that's part of it. It's something of the elegance in his nature: the way he speaks, the way he gestures. The tenor of his voice. His expressions. Something about how he switches from beautifully serious to wonderfully comical in a flash, and back again.
Forgive me for this entry - it, too, will be scatterbrained. Bordering on melodramatic.
I've been sick all this week. Came down with a cold that I thought was just laryngitis at first, having stayed up until 7 a.m. on New Year's Eve. It turned into a full blown cold as I worked from home all week (thank goodness my job is flexible enough for this). Last night I crawled into bed at 8:15 but wasn't able to sleep until I'd read for over an hour, taken a shower to try to clear my sinuses, and tossed and turned for another 15 minutes. I had strange dreams: some funny, some sad, some random, some were nothing at all. Some I don't remember. I hit snooze on my 6:30 a.m. alarm, planning on starting work at 7 as I had all week so I could work out around lunch time. At 6:55, I changed my alarm to 8:00 a.m. I fell asleep again, and had more dreams.
In the last one, I stood at a precipice, in a doorway, maybe leading into a balcony. And I had a version of a dream that I have every so often, where I get to state my
peace piece. But it's always different. This time, as I said my chosen words, I lost them in a sob. In the dream - whether as the dreamer, or as myself in the dream I'm not sure - I wondered why, wondered if the tears were real or a ruse, some attempt to get something that I thought I wanted, or needed. And just before I did, I woke up. In another minute as I lay on my back, catching my breath, my cat crawled across my stomach and stared at my face, breathing and purring, as if asking me what was up, if I was okay.
We're a week into the new year. I haven't set forth my resolutions officially yet, so I'll do that now.
I resolve to write or edit every day.
I resolve to take several steps towards getting my first novel published, the one which I am now editing. I resolve to find an agent or a publisher this year.
I resolve to travel more, to see friends and family and explore.
I resolve to read more.
I resolve to put myself out there as much as possible - to make friends here, to make a life for myself here.
I resolve to try to fix things (again) with my dad. To stop trying to fix him, and just fix us. Accept him for his limits. He will not apologize, or understand. And I have to learn to live with that. And not give up showing him how much I love him anyway.
I resolve to be better about things like sending cards and calling people.
I resolve to run often, at least three times a week. And do so more without music. Just listen to the sounds around me. To the sound of my feet hitting the ground. The sound of my breath - however ragged from however many miles, over however steep a hill.
I resolve to, if I'm ready, run my first full marathon.
I resolve to go to shul twice a month as I had been doing for a bit (but fell to the wayside near the end of 2010).
I resolve to be the best girlfriend, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, friend... that I can possibly be. Every day.
I resolve to sing more.
I resolve to write down every piece of story fodder. I resolve not to forget anything worth remembering: any character, any voice, any sound, any moment, any touch, any memory - sweet or painful, light or dark.
I've spent too many hours sitting in this apartment. In my tissue-filled misery, I thought I may be getting sicker, rather than better. Until I spent an hour and a half after I finished working for the day cleaning the apartment and when I stepped outside - twice - to take out the trash, the fresh, crisp air after the snow fall felt wonderful. Moving around felt amazing. Having a clean apartment... even better.
So much happened last year, it's hard to believe. I took a class with James McBride. I ran all year long. I graduated from NYU. I got a job. I moved to a different state. I got my own apartment, which I found by myself. I now live in the same city as my boyfriend, whom I've been dating over four years now (four years, three months months and two days, but who's counting). I ran my first 10-K, 5-K, 5 mile race and half-marathon. My brother was deployed to Afghanistan. My friend Sasha is engaged. My Grandpa turned 90. My mother was proposed to for the third time in her life to a man I think is very good for her. The second man who proposed to her died suddenly and tragically in September. My father...
Last year was such a transitional time for me, but I don't know if that feeling will ever go away. If I'll ever feel like I'm a real grown up: with a real job, making real money, living in a real apartment. That it isn't all a dream, or an act. Like I'm playing with Monopoly money. Like this job is just an internship. This apartment is just a dorm my parents pay for. That I really am building a life for myself. I'm on my own - completely. In ways that are equal parts thrilling and scary. If I'll ever stop feeling like a little kid playing pretend.
A girl with a notebook and pen, pretending to be a writer. Who will read me? Who will remember?
It's getting late, I know, and I still need my rest. I'm on the mend, but not there just yet.
I guess that is really what it's all about. Not being there yet, but being on the mend. Keeping pace with the change, even if just barely. Even if you never realize it. Even when you look back on a memory that feels like yesterday, or last month. And realize it was a year ago. Or even six.
So here's to that. Here's to waking from the dream, even with a pounding heart and racing mind, and finding truth or fiction there. Here's to stepping out each and every day, and seeing what the day will bring.