Swing

We grew up here. Right in this complex. There was a sign out front that said Gravity Gardens but I guess they changed that when the new management took over. Now it’s Longleaf Commune, LLC.

Jeremiah Pettit used to live in that yellow house there. He was always loading up his truck to go fishing, coming back with coolers full of something or other. In the summer, he’d invite the whole complex over and grill some for us. A few times he gave Robbie and me a couple of dollars to find worms for him to use as bait. We’d dig around in the dirt and fill a little plastic cup right up to the lid and he’d give us 2 or 3 dollars. We were never really worried about the money. You know when you’re young, half the fun of anything is being covered in dirt when you get home anyway.

Look there on the corner. There’s our old house. We used to watch the sun set from the porch in the summer. Dad would bring us popsicles and we’d sit on the white lawn chairs. They’re gone now, but they were white. I remember that. And we’d come back inside with purple faces and purple hands and silly grins. We were so happy we didn’t even complain when it was time for bed.

I used to pretend I was Superman and jump off that picnic table out back with my arms spread wide. I always came back down, though. Once Robbie tried to jump, but he was smaller and he twisted his ankle. He screamed and cried. My mom didn’t even ask any questions when she came into the yard. She picked up Robbie in one arm, took my cape off, and guided me by my shoulder back into the house. I couldn’t play outside for a week and I never got my cape back.

And here! Here’s the pond where I showed Robbie how to steer that remote-controlled hovercraft. Mom bought it for us for our birthdays the year Dad left. Our birthdays are actually three months apart, but Mom always bought us one gift that we had to share and she’d give it to us on alternating birthdays. I remember that year it was really cold for April and she didn’t want us out by the pond. We begged and begged and I realize now that it was probably because Robbie looks so much like Dad that she finally said yes. We all put our coats on and walked down to the water together. I remember Robbie wanted us to take his hands and swing him high up in the air like Mom and Dad used to do, but I wasn’t big enough.

The next year, when Robbie died, Dad came back for the funeral. He picked me up and hugged me. He whispered an apology before he put me back down. I didn’t know what to say to him and I couldn’t look at his face so I looked at his shoes. I put my foot next to his. I thought about what I would do when I was finally big enough to swing Robbie.

10 Ways to Know if You’re Me.

  1. You laugh while you make to-do lists because you already know that none of it’s happening.
  2. You check your pockets/purse 1000 times for your keys before you leave the house. Once you’re out you realize you left pretty much every other thing you needed at home.
  3. It helps to eat while you figure out what to eat.
  4. If people compliment you all day, your mind will keep wandering back to the one person who didn’t say anything. WHAT WAS UP WITH THEM? You might never know. And eternal mysteries infuriate you.
  5. You smile when you see little kids doing stuff you used to do, like making faces into the security camera at the grocery store.
  6. When a song is stuck in your head, you have to listen to it and sing along loudly to get it unstuck. Sadly, off-key is a given for you.
  7. You’re still thinking of witty retorts to things people said years ago and about how you’d love to go back and redo so many conversations. You realize you don’t deserve a time machine.
  8. Great, now you’re thinking about time travel.
  9. We never did get those hoverboards.
  10. You get distracted so, so easily.

Where Is My Mind? Blogging through Life Changes.

I can’t believe I haven’t written in a month! I did not expect to abandon blogging like this but life has been a beehive lately:

  • new job
  • new home
  • new state
  • end of my old life
  • who am I
  • no, really
  • because I don’t even know
  • constant internal screaming and flailing
  • please, someone, I need soup.

In the past I’ve not been someone who handled change well. In fact, that’s probably the boldest understatement I’ve made in a while. I’ve always hated change and I’ve gotten good (like gold medal good) at running from it. Now it seems that I’m pursuing changes and feeling excited aka terrified about them.

Part of the problem with all of this change is that it’s worn me down mentally, making it tough to focus on writing anything. So many times I’ve thought about writing, particularly when I see a mention on Twitter about someone’s new blog post or e-book. I think “what should I write?” Then, instead of sitting down at the computer, I decide that I should be “more productive” and pack, or make a phone call, or confirm an appointment. All things that I should do, to be sure. But they’re also things that give me an excuse not to write, which means that I’ve pushed aside lots of ideas for short stories, poems, essays, etc. in the past few weeks because I’ve decided that they weren’t as important as other things I needed to get done. I ignored the fact that I’m not as happy when I’m not writing. I also ignored the fact that I can’t be trusted to remember a good idea for a story weeks later. I even had a few really interesting dreams that I could’ve shared in the Celebrity Cameos category. Those things are gone now because I didn’t even bother to take notes on what to blog about when I finally got around to it.

So I’m going to make an effort not to go another month without writing here. I’d like to get back to posting a few times a week. Anyone have any suggestions for how to keep writing even when life is taking over? I’m sure the simple solution is to just write, no matter what. But besides that? How do you write when writing makes you feel guilty for neglecting other things?