Friday, February 13, 2009

An Interesting Day With Pie

Forest of Poles

The following is my journal entry for February 10, 2009:

February 10, 2009

The weather here has been spectacular lately, and it’s going to get even better! Tomorrow the high will be just shy of 70F, a temperature we don’t usually reach until March and sometimes April. This is made all the more remarkable by the fact that a week ago we were recording highs in the low 20’s.

This is certainly an improvement over that!

I’ve said before and I’ll say again that the extreme cold weather wouldn’t bother me so much if it were accompanied by great amounts of snow, but at this latitude it almost never is and if we’re going to be Southern we might as well go all the way.

Highs in the 70’s in February seems like a good fit to me.

Pie Climbs on the Playground

I took advantage of the stellar conditions this weekend to spend a day with Pie. On Sunday, the day before last, I took her first to the park and then to McDonald’s for a late lunch. She adored getting out, and I for my part felt very proud and grown-up after driving her by myself for the first time. A sense of adultness came over me as I put her car seat into my Oldsmobile; strapped her in; took her to the park; bought her lunch; and found myself solely responsible, though only for a few hours, for the care of another human being.

Added to that, I think the outing played a much-needed bonding function for us; over the last year or so, Pie has grown vindictive and nasty, so unlike the sweet child she was when we came here to Mountain Town in 2005, and it’s broken my heart.

I know that it’s at least partly her age, but still it wounds me, more than I can let her see. Even when I wish to appease her, wish to win back her affections by giving her all that she desires, I know I can’t. I love her too much to do her that disservice. I must continue to combine love and firmness, and above all must not seem bothered by her mean streak. Children can sense desperation as well as anyone else, perhaps even better, and they know when they’ve struck a nerve.

The adult’s role, though, is to love unconditionally even if not loved back, to do everything possible for the welfare of the child simply for the child’s sake, not for recognition from the child or anyone else.

I do believe that Pie loves me, but my point is that I should not be pulled one way or the other by her affection or withholding of it.

Pie Serves Up Food to Hungry Customers

I was very happy with her at the park; she interacted so well with the other children, who her less friendly habits have caused some difficulty with in the past.

While at the park I met the most interesting man. He stood out like a character from a novel amidst the suburban parents tending their children, and instantly I thought he was a writer. He had bushy gray-black hair; a thick beard; skin tanned and roughened by middle age; and small, dark brown eyes. He wore a long old-fashioned brown coat that dropped to his knees, and had in his breast pocket a notepad and the kind of pencils used by artists to sketch drawings. He reminded me a bit of 19th Century philosopher.

After I finally introduced myself, using his children and my sister (who were playing together) as a pretext for starting a conversation, his story unfolded, as unusual and eccentric as his appearance would suggest.

This man, Author Man, was born and raised in Southern State but now lives in rural Hick State, where he is employed as a cabinet-maker when not teaching poetry classes at Renowned Medical University in Native City.

A cabinet-maker?

I didn’t even know cabinet-makers existed anymore, what with everything today being so mechanized. I wonder how much he would charge to produce a cabinet? Having a handmade piece of furniture, or presenting one as a gift to someone else, would be unique and interesting, much like the man himself. I can just imagine him among saw-dust and the smell of freshly-cut wood, blowing some shavings off the smooth surface he’s just finished working on, a sheaf of handwritten poetry in a folder at his side.

I told him I was writing as book (which I will work on a bit tonight before bed) and sent him along some of my poems, which I’m very eager to get his reaction to.

By the way, Semi-Famous Cousin, who’s now published and in the middle of a national book tour, read the first two chapters of my book and liked it very much. So far I have 116 pages done. Alright, I have to go now if I’m going to make any progress tonight.

I may have to wait until tomorrow, but I’m very excited about the project.

I love this book again!

I’m so glad now that I persevered when inspiration was lacking, that I forced myself to write even when it was hard and clunky. Now I really enjoy working on this story, and that in itself is a gift.

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