Lent began Wednesday. Last year I wrote of seeking the renewal that belongs to that liturgical season in the midst of my attempts to pull myself out of melancholy and serious moral disorder. Winter and spring were hard for me, in the way that such things can be only to a woman with no real problems and too-great a propensity for introspection. I don't say that to be flippant, or that greatest of all modern transgressions, "hard on myself"; I have always sought to remind myself that I do, in fact, have an exceptionally good and fortunate life, and that my relative bad luck in romantic matters is just that--relative. We are encouraged in the West to believe that we deserve to have everything go our way all the time, and if we don't, there's something wrong with us, we must be miserable, we're losers. I have never fallen for that, at least. At least I can say that much for myself. I have, my entire life, been incredibly lucky. And no-one, whatever we may say, deserves to be lucky.
It has been four months since I last posted here. The second half of 2010 picked up creatively and left me richly busy, resulting in, among other things, the filming of the first episodes of a web series and the founding of a new theatre company, in both of which endeavours I am a principal. I have done three plays since last autumn. I clawed hard to get out of the slough I was in after New York, after the winter with its long hours of darkness, and I felt myself emerging. Too slowly, and too much of it aided by the hectic distraction of sheer overwork, but nonetheless, I was beginning to breathe.
But for how long, I wondered? Always that shadow at one's shoulder. When will the next pit be before me, when will I see the cliff? And then a reminder that no-one is dying here; these are moods, shades of ordinary days, vagaries of fate that, as vagaries go, are quite gentle; detectable only to me. But so very detectable to me.
I made vows, as people do. A vow to myself that I would not be so caught again by something that wants to be thought of as love. I thought of my mother, now so frail, laughing at the thought of a great uncle of hers--I can imagine him, an Irish farmer, brown as turf--beholding the devastation of winter and swearing to himself that he would prepare better next year. He would not be so caught again.
My mother laughed at the thought because, of course, he was caught again. Always caught. Every year.
I find now, as almost a quarter of this new year is gone, thus caught. I find something happened. Someone came across my path. A person I knew years ago, a peer.
And so I am back here, thinking, This is the place where, despite my professed loathing for confessional writing, I confess. I have an impulse to tell you--if there is still a "you" reading this--what has turned up. So that, like my mother thinking of that hapless old farmer, I can laugh at how I was, despite my vows, caught again. And reflecting on that during Lent, which is given to us for reflection.
It used to be that, when imposing ashes on the forehead of an adherent, a priest would mutter, "Remember, man, you came from dust, and to dust you shall return." We are cyclical creatures in all things; we seldom really go anywhere. And thus am I caught again, and thinking about it, what it means--and thinking that perhaps, as the poet said of poems, it should not mean, but be.
I will write of how I have been caught. If you've a mind to laugh at such things, and call them folly, well then, know I will give you something.