I’ve been back from New York for a few days now but I’m trying to keep that feeling of being … away.
Sometimes I feel like Tantalus — the ancient Greek who was punished for some transgression by being confined to a specific scenario in hell: he is sitting in a pool of water below a branch of fruit, agonized with hunger and thirst — but every time he puts his mouth down to drink or his hand up to reach, the water and fruit elude him.
And I just looked up what Tantalus did to deserve such a fate: while a guest at Zeus’s table he stole ambrosia and was planning on sharing it with mankind, thus revealing the secrets of the gods. So he overreached and was punished by never being able to grasp what he desired … what he needed.
So my life isn’t that bad — not by any means! But the more I write, the more I want to write — and the more frustrated I get that I just don’t have the time. In my more doubtful moments I worry that trying to write at all is in some way overreaching.
I love the twins and I love spending time with them, but I want to spend time writing too. I need to. Which brings me back to the constant problem of my life: balance.
Occasionally I get away — to a cafe for a few hours, out to dinner for an evening, to my friend’s Green Cabin for a day, to a museum — sometimes even one in another city! But, of course, I always come back.
When I come back, though, I want to keep that “away” feeling alive. I want to keep thinking about photography or feeling the memory of an ATV ride or mulling over ideas from a conversation about writing or books or fashion or even motherhood. But sometimes I’m hit the moment I walk in the door with a problem, an issue, a mood, a poopy diaper, a non-napping baby and whatever I got charged up with while I was away evaporates almost instantly.
What to do?
I decided to send myself some postcards. I sent one from the Cindy Sherman exhibit that should arrive any day now. My hope is that it reminds me of what it was like to spend that day on my own in New York looking at art I admire, eating a tasty lunch that didn’t involve purees or small plastic spoons, wandering down Fifth Avenue in the rain without worrying about anyone else getting wet but me.
And if I put this postcard in the glass pitcher on my desk, along with a snapshot taken of me at the Green Cabin, maybe other cards and photos and notes will follow. And maybe they’ll add up to something that I can just glance at and be reminded: I did go to the banquet. I did eat the ambrosia. And even if I’ve returned to the realm of small mankind, the water is still there and the fruit is almost within reach …
I just have to wait until next time — next weekend, perhaps — to grab it.