Most of the time I'm a true Oakland type, listening to a funky blend of classic 60s rock, reggae, newer pop folks like Macy Gray and Ozomatli, and even venture into a little hip-hop with M n' M, Kanye West and the Black-Eyed Peas.
But there's one time of the year that only country music will do: when I make my annual trek to the Siskiyou mountains in Northern California, up near the Oregon border. That's when I switch on the local country station and catch up on what's up in country music. One thing I love about country songs is that they tell stories; another thing is that the stations play them so repetitively that I am able to learn the entire current repertoire by the end of the first weekend, enabling me to croon along with them for the rest of the trip.
There's one song I kept hearing that seems particularly appropriate to this time in my life: Don't Blink. The song is about the advice of a 100-year-old man, who tells all that you blink and your childhood's over, then your children's childhood, then your own life...because "100 years goes faster than you think. Don't blink."
Lately I'm trying to keep my eyes wide open, because time does, indeed, seem to be slipping by with alarming speed.
Those of you out there who happen to stumble upon this blog (or wait breathlessly for the next instalment, never sure what will be said or when it will be said...) have probably noticed that --once again! -- I have let a good deal of time lapse between posts.
Why, one might wonder, does a writer have such a danged problem with...ahem...sitting down and writing?
When I was a kid I would start a new journal every New Year, positive that this year was the year when I would begin my deep emotional journey--a journey which I would duly note in scrawled volumes which were destined to be published one day, after I had become the world's greatest surgeon/actress/ veterinarian. Of course, I never actually studied medicine/acting/veterinary science, so the road was decidedly less sure for me than for many others. But I suppose it's just as well, since, after all, I never made it past February in those diaries. Years ago my mother presented me with an entire cardboard box full of old diaries with only the first ten pages written upon. Given the content of those pages, however, it was a blessing for all concerned that I never continued. My early life with a loving family in a ranch-style tract house in the Cupertino suburbs was safe and wonderful for a young child, but not a circumstance that would encourage a rich emotional inner life that needs to be set down for posterity on the pages of a journal.
I do have a rich emotional inner (and outer) life, now, however, which has become the stumbling block. I'm just so danged busy all the time, if not physically, then emotionally. I admire people who seem able to do it all, and get their car washed.
But I keep forgetting not to blink.
I looked at my calender to find some reasons I haven't written:
My 16-year-old son (do you remember being 16? I do. I empathize. Still, I find myself yelling a lot, and under any kind of normal circumstances I'm not a yeller.)
Open Studios (big local art event in which we artists throw open our studios so people can wander through and, we hope, buy stuff. It requires a lot of cleaning.)
My dog. (No, I'm not still in deep mourning for my dog. But she was a truly great dog, and a member of the family, and I still hear the "click click click" of her nails on the hard wood floor at five in the morning, expecting in my sleepy state to see her coming into my study to curl up on the rug as I write.)
My 16-year-old son.
Painting for money (this is connected to the last one--that pesky rent).
Painting for fun (very occasionally)
Being president of NorCal Sisters in Crime (because I didn't have enough to do)
Sick and elderly parents who live two states away.
Checking in with/visiting those parents.
My 16-year-old son (did I mention that he's 16?)
Oh yeah...and landing a new contract for a book series from Signet! (More on this in the next post)
So once again, for those of you who check in from time to time, I apologize! I am pond scum. I'm the scum that feeds off of pond scum. I'm a lazy blogger.
And I keep forgetting not to blink.