What do you talk about?
If you want to know what you care about, think about what you talk about and what you spend your money on. That’s what you care about.
I have friends who, sick or well, think and talk about books and writing. I recently spent a couple days with a friend who is preparing for a major operation. What he spent his time talking about was people, books, flying, travel. Finally I asked him about the operation he was going to have and he explained it, he even drew me a little sketch. I like sketches of the bones.
We all have to live in our bodies and when something is wrong with our body, we are reduced to thinking about that. We dwell in our bodies and we can’t un-dwell ourselves without dying. Fully experiencing life does involve feeling and being at a cellular level. Feeling joy, fear, loneliness, anger, frustration. In Colombia I felt emotions that I don’t usually feel. I felt lonely, frustrated, small, weird, out of place. I felt the same on the trip to Salt Lake City until I met up with Nicelle and Nicelle’s son JJ threw himself on me in the street. All of those feelings are worth feeling. It’s good to own all one’s experiences fully. But, Stephen Hawking doesn’t tell everyone he meets how he’s feeling and he’s probably not feeling all that good. He lives a life of the mind.
My mother-in-law likes to talk about her doctor visits. We’ve all had the experience of visiting an elderly person where you go to their house and then you sit there for hours and after you hear about their doctor’s visits, you are out of things to talk about. They’re watching television, and you start to get restless if you’re me, and you think, Is this what you do?
I like the life of the body, I like running a long ways and doing Pilates which is really hard and feeling myself out at the edge of my physical abilities. I like figuring out what energy stuff I need for running (energy cubes and low cal Gatorade.) I’m finishing my book tour next Sunday and then I have 12 weeks to train for the marathon so I’m going to be thinking about running.
But much more interestingly, I have just completed a collaborative art/poetry project with video artist Heidi Kumao, and I am knee deep in a video opera called Youtube with composer Michael Roth, have promised my collaborator on the Black/White project a final edit by this weekend, and I have my memoir to finish up over Thanksgiving break. All of these writing projects are more interesting than my health struggles which are much aided by shiatsu and I’m getting one of those wooden pillows which is supposed to help, and then running. Diets are boring. Stories can be amazing. What I can’t wait to do is on Mark’s and my next long drive to Phoenix or Pismo is to plan our next books and to feel those future stories piled up before us not at all like white elephants, more like ocean waves pulled by the moon, full of fish and fishy ideas.