My aunt gave me book plates as a child. They had a little sketch of a bear with “I can’t bear to be without my books.” Of course, that’s always been true. Yet there’s another facet of that – when I can’t bear more, I surround myself with my books.
My family moved into the house in November, a week later I hit a deer. I had previously been in physical therapy, and then I went in for another issue. Living in the car a month to spend all the possible time with my mom before she was gone compounded those issues.
The issues are different now, but they keep coming. I turned to my books – I’ve been organizing them on the shelves when they had simply been tossed up there. I know by now the movers lost at least one of the boxes they put my books in. Somehow it’s easier to deal with an entire missing series than the trilogies where I have only book 3 of 3 and other holes. That’s not the kind of book owner I am – I find them and I read them and I do my best to give those books I love a good home.
I’m almost done organizing what I can, trying to put the rest in storage in the garage until I have enough shelves (yeah, movers broke those, too). It feels so good to be able to find them again, rather than searching fruitlessly among all of the shelves for the single book I’ve been hoping to find.
This isn’t an all-at-once occurrence. When it was one thing, I did the fiction. The next issue brought on the switching from the garage storage to shelves and back. It’s almost like I can’t leave well enough alone, and passing the books around brings me back to all of those manuscripts that are currently floating around on my office floor (or again, storage). Good thing I have them printed out, so that I’ll be ready to tackle them when things slow down, right?
It’s never going to slow down, though. It’s never going to go back to how it used to be. The difference is learning to juggle with the new things that have gotten thrown into the mix. The older I get the more I wonder why we’re looking for a new normal when there was never a normal before, just a slower shifting of changing ground around us.
I’ve been told I am doing an active grieving, but I think that’s just how I’m built. I do not stay in one place too long and I do not wait for anything to go back to how it was. Yet I’m very grateful for a gift of the book Tear Soup – it has helped me understand a bit more for my own process of grieving and the grieving of others.
Am I writing again? Sometimes. I wish it was every day, but I’ll get back to that – or maybe I’ll move forward into that again. Our language is accustomed to being used in certain ways by most of the people, and those cliches at times litter our thinking.
I’m moving forward. I will write again. It doesn’t have to be the way I have written at any other time in my life, because this is different and that is the way I am built: I change. I reminded my cousin this week that I was raised by the woman who wrote “The Getaway Car.” It’s an essay about part of my mother’s relationships with her vehicles. As my mother often wrote, it’s poignant and funny and leaves the reader thinking about her words long after it’s over.
So many of her friends think I am like my mother, and I can only hope that is true. Neither of us is perfect, but we do the best we can with what cards we were dealt.