Sunday, November 23, 2008
"Do you need to be...uh, excused?" I said uncertainly. Because, honestly, I can do without the apple fritter if you are about to birth a child next to the bean-grinder. "Is this just Braxton-Hicks, or is a big day...imminent?"
It was the former, it turns out. She's got a month and a half to go, though her other babies came early; she's trying to stay active and work, but I guess certain strains and indulgences--like stretching for my donut--trigger a response. So we were all amused, and enormously relieved, frankly, and people scuttled away with their coffees and got on with the day, somehow enlivened by the near miss, the possibility of a new person blossoming into the world. I am still thinking about it, somehow, like we we all weathered an exciting, happy accident together.
I'm thinking, too, of Holly, who's been plagued with false labor herself for days on end. Three weeks to go, little Secondo! Turn yourself around, there, get pointed earthward for the journey. Auntie Him is waiting here with the rest of 'em, so eager to meet you.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
But for a few days, it has been like living in a bright glowing parallel universe. People smile and make eye contact, share their tables and their newspapers in the coffee house. I went to the blood bank this afternoon and it was packed, a madhouse of volunteers eager to give something of themselves, to endure a quick needle stick and then some cookies and apple juice, in the name of civic responsibility. And for a few days--before we all pick up the rope again and pull, before we put our shoulders to the wheel--the news is only sweetness, a refuge where in every headline and on every channel we're all picking out puppies, puppies, yaay, OMG puppies!!1!
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
I was raised by a single mom and, effectively, by her mom; my grandmother was inarguably a far more influential and active and engaged presence in my life than my father ever was. I referred to her often as "my third parent." This is far from the only parallel that leads me to believe that Barack Obama understands something of my experience, can speak to and for me...but this among many things strikes a deep chord.
My Grammy weighed less than 100 pounds soaking wet, and upon every visit would ply you with lemon-poppy seed cake until you begged for mercy. She was also fiercely protective of her family, proud of our accomplishments to a mortifying degree, and unabashedly liberal in her politics. Like Obama's grandmother, she would have been 86.
In November 1992, I was in my first quarter of graduate school and had just moved into my own apartment, so recently that I was still assigned to the polling place nearest the house where I'd grown up. On election day I stopped by "home," and together Grammy and I walked down to the defunct middle-school library, cast our ballots for Bill Clinton, and went home to cross our fingers and bite our nails, because there was no Internet to hover on. I had an afternoon class that day, and most of us adjourned to a campus pub afterwards, where Democratic bedlam rolled out in expanding waves from every announcement of poll returns. At some point I called Grammy--via pay phone--to shout my joyous, tipsy disbelief, the entire bar roaring "Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye" to George H. W. behind me. Here's what she said: "The bars are open, on Election Day?" Apparently, the blue laws in Washington had been more draconian in her time.
Tomorrow morning I'll go alone, to the basement of United Evangelical, probably in the torrential downpour the weather peeps are predicting. I am casting my vote for Barack Obama, and I'll be thinking of my Grammy, and his, and my aunt PJ, who was a devoted campaign volunteer before cancer swept her under and away. Of all the people, these few among them, who dreamed of and fought for this moment but did not live to see it. And I am awed: by how privileged I am to do this. By the epic significance of this instant in American history. By the future that I am putting my hand to, there in the booth. By the hope I have clenched in my fist.
We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
On the plus side, I clocked just over 2,000 words of unintelligible mess today, so for 24 brief gleaming hours, I am ahead of the game. Two things convinced me to subject myself to this again: one, Erin, who noted that, while she hasn't always hit the 50,000-word novel goal, she has always come away from the experience with at least a good short story. I'm thus trying to look at this as a mining operation.
And two: the lady profiled on the front page of the NaNo site today, who finished her 2007 novel with minutes to spare and immediately after expelling a tiny brand-new human being from her body. My excuses are made of far flimsier stuff.