‘As soon as you feel too old to do a thing, do it.’ Margaret Deland.
For a moment
when you look at the calendar on the wall the numbers are unfamiliar
nonsensical marks on a page or hieroglyphics
but in fact, you have only forgotten the date
you have just purchased a ticket for next week.
The day is Saturday. You’re wearing your grandfather’s black overcoat. It has deep pockets. The sun shines over the parking lot of the train station. Glinting windshields and car handles. A hint of spring air and people slowly emerging from their winter nests.
Lately, you feel an atrophy. A block with no beginning. When did this begin? You wonder, is it age or indifference. The passing of time strengthens some things, erodes others. So next week get on the train. Visit museums. Pay attention. Make notes (you sometimes keep it all in your head, maybe this is part of the problem). Immerse yourself in the heavy depths of the city and hope to rise up lighter.
You reach the car. Search a pocket for the grocery list. Movement in the periphery. Turn and count seven squaws and a cowgirl whoop-whooping through the glass door exit, scurrying down the steps. All dressed in black with pink and white feathers. Large plastic drink cups (fire-water?) and overnight bags.
They move with youth on their side. You imagine hearing drums in the distance as they advance, weaving across the parking lot towards a waiting taxi. Voices lifting as one. They sing a song from back in the day. Tumbled twists of white-blonde, auburn, a burst of red hair. They shout over, “come to our party tonight!”
What would that be like? One of ‘those’ parties. Heels and feathers, a slurry of cocktails. The flash of a thousand photographs, dinner in a pub – maybe chips and curry – for the soon-to-be-bride and entourage. The street lights are a string of beacons leading them beyond midnight – each hour a memory to keep – leaving them finally, on the morning pavement. To you unknown territory, like a wild and dangerous expanse of prairie. Try to imagine yourself dressed like them.
A slinky Pocahontas.
Hair straight as an arrow.
War paint perfect.
But the trail you actually walk exists between the picture you imagine, the reality you inhabit. You have traveled far, passing your prime long ago. Now, you circle the wagons. Light the campfire. Lights out by ten. Eleven at weekends. Contemplator of life. You carry a cycle hard-wired by reading too many scripts from the past. You know this much. Burning scripts is not that difficult.
You watch as the taxi whisks them away. A late February wind blows smoke signals across the sky. A message, ‘it’s never too late’.
A note about creative blocks. They are real but not always caused by what we imagine. Sometimes they have nothing to do with fear of failure. Or distractions. Or apathy. Sometimes they are due to something going on in your body, your mind or both. I’ve recently discovered that my fatigue and brain fog is due to an under-active thyroid. When I really work at it, I can write. It’s just that right now, it truly is a tremendous amount of work. So excuse this hiatus. I should be back to somewhat normal functioning in a few weeks. In the meantime, I hope you are all well. xo
All work on this site is under copyright (c) Deborah McMenamy 2023