“How do you never run out of things to say?”
My comrades ask me that, quite a lot, these days; and most of the time, they follow-up with their ready theories:
“You’re just so disciplined!”
“Maybe this means you’ve found your calling.”
“But you’ve never done anything half-assed-ly!”
And then, the voice of my most beloved soul that has witnessed my hustle from the East Coast, for over a decade, resonated on the phone last night:
“V! You’ve never procrastinated! Not even in college.”
Damn it! Well, today, you just watch me: I’m gonna do some serious procrastinating, as if I have nothing to say indeed.
It’s an experiment that rings true considering my feet are so swollen from my weekend’s work, they’d look better on a cartoon character (or on the Michelin Man, if he were drawn barefooted). For the last few morns, it’s been a slow start. My sleep has been dreamless, so I find no material there. And once awoken, I’ve been opening my shades to cloudless, clear skies outside. So, even the weather can’t justify my proneness to heavy pontification today: Oh, it’s summer alright! No doubt about it.
As for the little break-up related chaoses of the last two months, they have quietly slipped out. Finally. Yes, there had to be a lot of work — and so much agony! — with all that self-searching in the name of growth, and lessons, and my future, better relationship. (Lord, Shiva! It was starting to feel so excessive.) The Zen peeps say all human misery originates from a refusal to recognize the impermanence of things — a refusal to surrender, to let go.
And if it weren’t for the previous break-up related chaoses, I could’ve carried on like this for years: with this love, coming and leaving the affair, then cradling my misery as if it were my lovechild. Holding on. Refusing to let go. But no! Not this time around. Yes, it took me a while to acknowledge my partner’s decision to quit; but once I heard it: Oh, it was over alright! No doubt about it. (But then again, I hear I’ve never done anything half-assed-ly; and that must include my new ability to let go. To surrender.)
So, you see: I have no readily available material this morn. So, you just watch me: I’m gonna do some serious procrastinating!
Here comes — my morning coffee! It’s the first thing I’ve done every day of my adult life: Turn on whatever device is going to deliver my wake-up elixir. It could be preceded by the whistling of a tea kettle or the laboriously percolating of my rusty drip machine; but the smell that follows is enough make me want to start. Start what? ANYTHING.
So, is that it then? Is that why I never run out of things to say: Because despite the losses and the regrets, the suffering and the unpredictable strife ahead — I adore the very act of living? Because I’m not done yet, with any of it: art, craft; love, worship, discovery; friendship, camaraderie, motherhood? And because it is a quality of my own motha’s spirit: to be in awe with every activity, however new or habitual?
Armed with my chipped Starbucks cup containing about a liter of caffeine, I proceed to my laptop. First stop: The New York Times. I roam, I skim through, click away. I proceed to the NY Region section, linger on this summer’s production of Shakespeare in the Park. I can already hear it: The sounds of that City poorly absorbed by the man-made strip of nature running through its middle. I surrender to the feeling of immediate gratitude: for having lived in so many places; for having lived so much and so well. So, is that it then? Is that why I never run out things to say?
The side column is flooded with editorials on this weekend’s Gay Pride Parade. The photographs of those well lived-in faces — bohemians and lovers, subversives and revolutionaries, and local leaders — they all seem so different this time. Yes, there is still joy and flamboyancy, and utter emotional freedom. But I cannot ignore those who are tearful or hysterically relieved. I roam through the pictures of the same sex couples, some with their children, all looking like they’ve all suddenly learned to let go. Yep, New York has done it again: It stepped up to the plate and despite its relatively small territory, it gave its people enough room for their dignity. Oh, it’s New York alright! No doubt about it.
I pour myself the second liter of coffee and proceed to my books, spread all over my joint and in different stages of being read, yet equally marked-up. Here is Junot Diaz, both of his bestsellers on my desk. Like me, he is bi-cultural; speaks fluently in two languages — and irony. He is badass, you can tell; has lived a lot, and well; learned some serious letting go. Zadie is right underneath him, but oh so equal. She is funny and brown, always good to flip through. A master of dialects, she is so far ahead of me — so worthy of my worship! But in our empathy, we are equal. In my bedroom, I find my favorite Manhattanite, Tony Kushner, and his shit never gets old. Or maybe, I’m in the mood for some melancholy: I wander into the living-room and find some Lorrie Moore, on the floor, near the balcony. I park my coffee, get lost.
And is that it then: Is that why I never run out things to say? Because there is still too much to read, to learn; because others have not procrastinated from speaking? They speak in different voices — some in awe, others in surrender — and in that likeness and difference, I can always find inspiration.
Or is it because we are all so equal, in our love for the human race? Because we dwell in the very act of living — anti-procrastinating — none of us running out of things to say?
Still, you’ve just watched me doing some serious procrastinating. I did that! And how did I do?