My Third Novel's Conclusion, My Heartbreak

My heart begins to break when I think about completing this particular book -- because this narrative has sustained me like no other story I've known. It's both more personal and more universal than my other works. But beyond memory and archetype, it's a cri-de-coeur about needing to become the person one is destined to be. And in the writing, I have met my own life's work, my own fated journey -- having the sense all the while that the pages are suffused with a resonance, an energy, an electrified field that defies explanation. Writers hope and pray to be overtaken by a work in this way -- to be conscripted into passionate service of a profound story. To experience it even once in a lifetime seems a great privilege. I still have several months before this novel is complete, and this constitutes my reprieve. Because I'm not ready for the beauty to end.

Friday, October 12, 2018

What I Learned at the Interview

       When I was two years old, a new resident of Paris, I was accompanied by my mother to a preschool interview at "L'Ecole Maternelle," in the 7th arrondissement.  My black patent leather shoes were new, and I carried a matching purse, which, in and of itself, was a gleaming testament to beauty.
       When we arrived, a teacher gamely provided me with a set of stackable cups in order to observe my burgeoning motor skills.  And I clearly remember turning them over in my hands, thinking "These could be used for cooking!  And they would float like little boats in the bathtub!  They would make perfect molds for sand castle turrets or raspberry jello or clay!  And what a lovely home for the two caterpillars I found yesterday!"
      "The little girl, she does not know how to stack the cups?" the teacher asked my mother.
       "She's thinking about them more deeply," my mother replied.
 Somehow, I passed the remainder of the interview and was accepted to L'Ecole Maternelle on the basis of my "creativity, high language and math capability, and sweet disposition."  But afterwards, my mother admonished me about the incident with the stackable cups.
        "Sometimes it is necessary to appear more ordinary," she said.
         It's a lesson I'm still learning.  When I perceive the reality of things -- beyond their simplistic appearance -- I often say nothing.  But inside my mind, I understand the nuances, the subtleties, the potential -- and yet more -- within everyone and everything I encounter.
         It brings me joy, this understanding -- like a complex piece of music, or a beautifully woven tapestry.  I perceive every note, every thread -- but I also see the work of art in its totality.
         I can't imagine what it would be like to understand less.  This is life as I've always known it -- abundant, surprising, intricate, profound.