Monday, October 19, 2009

Drowning Prohibited

The stubble in my hayfield is like an unshaven face and walking through it barefoot is about as inviting as a morning kiss -- ooh, you're scratchy, said she -- before an encounter with Mr. Gillette. I feel that way this morning after having spent the past two days trudging through chapters that only three years ago were like tall grass, soft, fragrant, cool between my toes.
Reading proofs is not reading for pleasure. It's more like a relationship gone sour and all you can see are flaws, faults, and good intentions gone awry. I'm supposed to be looking for someone else's mistakes -- the unwitting typesetter's -- and the one's most glaring are my own. For every irritatingly misplaced paragraph there are a hundred words I wish I'd never spoken. And a hundred more I wish I had.

But the time for regrets is long past. You can drown in the re-grets, yeah (thank you, John Rzeznik). It's time for discipline and the down and dirty. Forgiveness comes later with the grace of selective memory, like all the mornings spent face down in the sink, the swollen ankles and aching back, in that precious moment new life is placed on a mother's belly.

Still, I don't see only the what we're we thinking? And there are smiles in recognition over lines we erased only to include them anyway because they were right in the beginning. The ideas are just as vibrant as they were those long, late nights over enchiladas and too much coffee (we couldn't trust ourselves with Ticate and lime). But, that's what I miss the most, the conversations interspersing esoterica with what it was like growing up, what's happening at home, and how will it feel when we exchange our hopes for a handful of book pages.

I guess now I know.


(Photo by the author; a nod of recognition to Sympathy, words and music by John Rzeznik)

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