Sunday, June 7

Angels and Packing Peanuts

By all appearances, I have had the whole day today to write, or at least to figure out what to write. It's the first day I have had in a good long while that holds that luxury. It has reminded me that writing and expression are rarely a neat and tight fit for the spaces designed to contain them, so unlike the styrofoam structures that surround audio-visual products in their original packaging, the ones that make the television or the DVD player or the computer so difficult to get out of the box, and which never seem to go back in the way they came out.

It is best to surrender. As ever.

Here are the three thoughts that have played through my head all day long. They began early this morning, when my dog got me up much earlier than I would have liked. Each has made it clear that it has no intention of being expanded much beyond itself, resisting every feeble attempt that I have made to "write about" one or the other. They appear here in the order of their intensity, repetition, and insistence.

Today, I am an old woman.

There have been more than a few moments in my life when I have believed that I actually have flown. Yes, like a bird. Briefly, but as my daughter says, "every second counts". And if I could remember how I did it on those occasions, I could do it again. You know the feeling of scrunching your eyes tight, covering your ears, and listening as hard as you can for a clear memory? That's the one.

One of my favorite books from childhood, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, has suddenly and repeatedly inserted itself into my life again, popping up everywhere in the way things do that want you to notice them. Okay. I've noticed. I'm listening. Tonight, we watched the movie. I didn't even know there was a movie. The central character (in my opinion) is an angel, making me wonder about our fascination with images of people with wings.

To no one's surprise, I also got a song. Just now, actually, which probably explains why I waited until 9 p.m. to write. Strangely--or actually, not so strangely at all--it encompasses all three of the "messages" of this day. This time, it's Angel From Montgomery. Bonnie Raitt & John Prine. Cue it up. Listen closely.

Have you ever gotten a package with those cornstarch-based packing peanuts? Have you ever put them in water and seen how they disappear? Cool, right?

I'll take them over tight-fit styrofoam any day.


Alena said...

I LOVE From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! Had no idea that there was a movie either... wow, that book needs to be resurrected from it's box in my parents' basement and re-enjoyed. Thanks for reminding me, Robin. :)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever read Bird By Bird by Ann Lamot? If not, you should. You are right, writing is not a tight ship we set sail at our leisure on a sea of blog page. It is more an ill-tempered child that can sometimes be coaxed with the urging of sweets, or the fear of punishment.

Camlin said...

As Alice Munro once said "I write in the corners of my life."

Apparently I have all morning to write. Until the end of June, that is. And when do I do my best work? At midnight, by candlelight, when all in the house is dark and quiet. Too much busywork calls me during the day.