Friday, 15 August 2008

Frankly, I don't give a damn

mainly sunny, warm, temps 27

Another beautiful day. Went swimming, sat outside, read People Magazine and ate cherries. Went into Cowansville to the bank and stopped at a roadside vegetable stand for fresh corn (doing BBQ steak and corn for dinner)...and noticed a diner we'd never seen before. Danny's Diner. it was lunch so we wandered in. Through a porthole, into the 1950's. Everything but a waitress on roller skates. And the best burger. Homemade.

Having an odd sort of day though. Writing/Editing went very well this morning. Solved the problem. Added tension, pivotal scene now zips along and is full (I hope) of dread, emotion, cliff-hangers. But - having solved one problem I've created another one for a little later in the book. But I'll solve that one when i come to I've mentioned before, I belong to the Scarlet O'Hara school of writing. tomorrow is another day.

I don't know nothin 'bout birthin' no babies!

Yves came and gave us a loaner TV for the haunted TV room. Haven't had it on yet - but I suspect this one, like all our other ones, will show Canada not winning medals at the Olympics. Mongolia has more medals. In fact, any country that had won a medal has more.

I was a little annoyed about this, and embarassed, but now I really do think as long as they do a personal best, well that is genuinely fantastic. Who could ever ask for more? It's when they don't that I get confused. I used to be an athlete, and quite a good one. I am stunned when an athlete doesn't perform at the very top for the Olympics. Now, I know accidents happen. You lose your grip on the bars or your balance on the beam. Absolutely. But in the running and swimming and tumbling? When it's just you? No.

But, as I say, today's an odd day for me. Morning was OK - but then suddenly all these things started happening. Phone calls to return, emails, people asking for things...books to sign, books to donate, events to go to, talks to give, bios that need to be sent, right away. Tributes that needed to be written, endorsements, speeches. I just wanted to scream.

Then i felt bad and thought I should have more grace, more gratitude. Then I wanted to scream even louder.

I was raised to know how lucky I am. And I do know it. What a blessing that is. But it can be a burden too. Not feeling I can also be angry at times, unhappy. Complain. Feel stressed. Cry. Want to run and hide and curl into a ball. Eat chocolates and ignore the phone. And tell everyone to go away. And not feel guilty, and ashamed of myself.

I've had one of those days. Tomorrow, though, is another day.


Jo said...

Louise, I'm a devoted lurker but I was literally compelled by the universe (and guilt, but I'll get to that in a minute) to respond. Today I brought my 96 year old father home from the hospital where we have spent the last five nights. It's been touch and go and now it's touch and go at home.

He has had 96 wonderful healthy years. Even now, he's in no pain, just very tired. While I was with him in the hospital, I saw babies who had been broken by their parents and at night I listened to Alzheimer's patients calling for children and spouses who weren't coming. And I thought, "I should never get off my knees from gratitude that I am able to be here with him and see that he is comfortable and for having so long with him."

And I am filled with gratitude. I am also sleep-deprived, stressed out about how I will juggle caring for him with a busy career and family, and generally pissed off at the universe that I have to feel sad, scared, and, at some point, grief.

My point is, we get to be both. Grateful and pissed. At the same time. All of us. You, too.

I am emerging from my fetal position to say write this to you because your books have gotten me through three hurricanes and the other assorted little funballs life throws at all of us. A trip to Three Pines is better than valium, and you are the splendid source of that magical goodness.

Now, I've said my piece. I'm going back to the fetal position in my favorite chair with chocolate and resume answering the phone with a two word greeting that might even make Ruth proud.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Jo,

Well, you brought tears to my eyes, sister. Thank you, thank you.

And you made me laugh. What a gift your comment is. And I send chocolate energy to you as you look after your father. I surround you in sauce.

Thank you for what you say about Three Pines...and I'm so glad it had held you through the hurricanes.