14:20. I am home. And what a good feeling it is to be home. The sky is very wide, here, in Auvergne — one can see vast circumferences — and the moon, most evenings or mornings, refuses to be forgotten, as it often is between the rocky seas and great enclosing woods of west-coast Canada. Yesterday, on the school run, it was a great, full, white paper disc — like lunaria gone to seed, its edges crisp and thin. I measured it in my mind — perhaps it would only be the size of a penny, certainly not a dollar coin, against the glass of the windshield, but it looked so much bigger than that — it was a quarter-mass of the bare-branched, spindly balls of tall linden heads along the hilltops. The sky was soft grey-blue and the hills were palest green and misty brown.
I have had quite some time, in between necessary tasks, to contemplate life and death. My blogging addiction was necessarily curtailed, during my two-week stay in Canada, in the face of all there was to do after my mother’s passing; so many appointments with banks and the estate lawyers and doctors (for my father) and helping to organize systems for a man who has been used to having a forever-partner ever there to share the load of life.
Taking a step back from my creative output, I wondered what it was all for, and if it was necessary and/or worthwhile. If I died tomorrow, what have I to show for myself? What have I accomplished that’s of use to anyone? I am a wife and mother, yes, but was I a good-enough one? Partly by choice, wanting to remain constantly available to our young children, I have no career to speak of, though I work many small jobs which receive no paycheque in my own name, though they assist my family financially.
Finally, the most inside parts of me are in digital journals and under semi-pseudonymed blogs online. What is the meaning of this? Does it have any value? If someone else asked me this question, regarding their own creative work, I would say “yes,” without hesitation. But *living* a creative life is quite different from *cheering on* a creative life. We judge ourselves through the eyes of people who may have known us since birth, but to whom we are for whatever reasons, sometimes valid ones, too afraid to reveal our whole selves, even if those selves are, for the most part, rather commonplace.
I consider closing all three blogs and starting again, under my full “real” name (even though even picking which of those is confusing) with the intention of finally “getting serious” with “my craft.” As we all know, “getting serious” means either earning money or prestige, or with any luck, both. And in blogland, or at least, the part of blogland in which writing itself is the primary objective or discussion point, “my craft” means some kind of art form related to words.
When that thought doesn’t get me particularly excited (perhaps it sounds too much like… work? And my subconscious rebels at anything that sounds like work), I consider going in the other direction — closing all three blogs and starting again, this time under a new pseudonym. Why? Because anonymity theoretically means total freedom — for example, I could write the true feelings of parenthood or marriage or daughterhood or sisterhood or being a member of the local community, or the extraordinarily ordinary details of some of the jobs I do, without fear of anyone who knows me “in real life” feeling hurt or being unduly “exposed.” And to me, the best writing, or at least, the most captivating writing, is the usually the most truthful writing surrounding the average human experience, written from a first-person perspective.
But I’ve tried this two times already, and it never really worked out. I ended up revealing myself. Why do I do this? I think it’s partly because I was brought up under the maxim “always tell the truth” — but there is something else, too. Something in me yearns to be known, fully and completely. To be known for who I really am, and hopefully appreciated or even loved, by a few folks anyway.
So here I am, figuring things out yet again. I have one parent now missing in body from the world as we know it; this changes things in various ways. When the person who always told you you could “become” anything you wanted to be is no longer there to find out whether you become that nebulous thing, there is a sadness, but also a sense of freedom.
I never risk being a disappointment to my mother, now. Not that she would ever have been disappointed in me, kind soul that she was, but something in my psyche has always been terrified of disappointing people. I know some of the reasons why that is. I don’t feel free to discuss them here now, because those reasons involve a still-living person whom I care about a great deal and it would take some skill and care, and thus time, and work, to write about them in an objective way that is compassionate for all sides.
Anyway, the biggest reason is lying inside of me. I have been told stories, and I continue to tell myself stories, which attempt to suppress my inner nature. Mainly for fear of appearing different from societal norms, and thus ridiculed or disliked.
But something is cracking open here, now. It’s like a thin skin of moonwort gone to seed, and a child’s hand crushes it in curiosity, and the seeds are falling to the soil.
I don’t know if the seeds are viable yet. But perhaps it is enough that the lunaria flower existed, and that the crushed seed pod and its seeds now exist, and, in the simple pleasure of the act, that I observe these existences for a while.
Yes, it is good to be home.
Image: Moonwort/Honesty/Money Plant/Lunaris Annua, by @DaniReberArt