Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 1


First days are always difficult. I remember, as a child, first days of school were always horrible. I hated them passionately, primarily because I disliked school intensely as it seemed to have no point. I don't feel that way any longer, but still...first days are difficult, as are first weeks, months and years.

First weeks of college were always dreaded. Professors never quite knew what they were doing. No one had books. Nothing happened aside from clocking classroom hours. First months of pregnancy? I suffered with morning sickness 24/7. First years of marriage? That's when we learned that I'm not an easy person to live with...and neither is he.

We've been married for 27 years and have learned to deal with our difficulties.

First weeks with no kids in the house because they've all grown? It's what you spend a lifetime working for, and then it happens. You wake up. He goes off to work and you're left with their dogs, your goldfish and a house full of memories that bounce off the walls in a continuous cacophony of silence that now stands still where little feet ran for so many years. It's a bittersweet time that doesn't quite fit right when it first happens. In a few weeks, your feet begin to feel the bottom of the sadness, the sense of loss and confusion, and you begin to ask yourself what it is that you want to do with the time you have left because, for the first time, it occurs to you that your time now has a limit.

It occurred to me that I wanted to see my grandchildren and know them...but not raise them or tell my children how they should raise them. That still left a lot of time and echoing in the house. Getting a meaningless job could be good, but I spent a lot of years working meaningless jobs so that we could pay the bills while we raised the kids. I'm tired of jobs with no meaning, especially to me. He's coming up on retirement and, if now is the time for me to have a career, I want it to be doing something that I really like to do.

I've always loved to write...but then again, so do a lot of people. The difference between all of those other people and myself, though, is that I write relatively well.

Thus, the decision to write was a natural for me, but what to write about, beyond the echos in the house, was difficult to find. Oh there are interesting projects that will be good "one time pops" like poetry and short fiction stories, but nothing with which to earn a consistent living. There is always the "great American novel," that every writer on the planet wants to write, except me, because they know they can capture the true angst of living in modern society. Not being a person with any titration level for bureaucracy, I've always found that "society," as a whole, is really pretty boring. It's everyday people that are interesting to me.

I began to think about this and the things I would want to write about, if I ever had the opportunity to try. It took a while, but after giving it some careful consideration, I realized that I want to see places, to wander around the world a bit and find out what is really going on out there. Some might call this traveling, but I want to do more than travel. I want to talk to people, explore different points of view and see the planet through their eyes as well as my own.

The best way to do that, I think, would be on foot, so, at the age of 48 and 3/4's, overweight and a heavy smoker, I have decided to go for a walk, a wander, if you will...with my dog.

Now, there are a couple of "challenges" with this endeavor. First, I do not have a dog. My husband has a dog. My daughter has a dog that is living with us until we can get it from our house in New York to her house in North Carolina, along with her furniture. How she is planning on caring for said dog, with full time college and full time work, I do not know but she has decided that her dog is going to live with her. My husband's dog lives for my husband, weighs about 12 pounds and fetches a ball...incessantly. It lives here as well and would make a good walking companion for him as this dog and I live with a mutual tolerance of each other and not much more. This brings me back to the point that I mentioned earlier; I do not have a dog, let alone a dog capable of wandering the planet with me.

So, I will need a dog.

The next "challenge" is that my husband does not retire for another 18 months. In that time I could train the dog to wander with me and get myself into the kind of shape I will need to be in if I am going to wander and maybe even take a few little wanderings first. This plan works except that we have bills which need to be paid which outstrip his income. I will need to have an income, then. This would mean either getting another meaningless job or getting sponsorship for the job that I want to do. I vote for sponsorship and thus, need to develop a plan of exactly how I intend to wander from being an overweight, unemployed, non-dog owning writer who smokes too much to a writer who is healthy enough to make this kind of journey with her well trained dog that is not only capable of but willing to walk all over the planet with her.

Thus the journey begins with a dream ... and I've got work to do.

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog who is absent today.

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