This is all in my head,
Kind of scrambled up, like eggs.
You might think, she’s so dense,
But at the end, it will make sense.
(Yes, this I sure did write. I hope I wrote it right.)
It occasionally occurs to me to say, "No, I can’t help you," – but rarely.
I read something the other day about how writers are forgetful when it comes to dates and appointments and meetings and such, but they remember things like how you smelled on your first date or the way the light hit your hair the first time you kissed. You know; the important things.
As much as I like to sometimes consider myself a writer, I’m really not. I like to write, it makes me happy, but if someone were to ask me, “What do you do?” I would never go so far as to actually answer, “I’m a writer.” Such a response would be a blatant falsehood. Because I write does not make me a writer.
Writers are people like my friend Allie Larkin, who wrote a book so beloved to me I cry every time I read it. Pick up Allie's book Stay if you get the chance; I promise you won’t regret it. And, even though I’ve never met Allie in person, she's one of my favorite people. After years and years of communicating online, I do consider her a friend.
Writers are people like all the folks who will show up in my “Jen’s Library” posts.
Writers are people like Maya Angelou. People like Garrison Keillor. Not to mention some of my favorites like Hans Christian Anderson or Henry David Thoreau or Robert Louis Stevenson or Robert Frost or John Steinbeck. Oh, the list is practically endless.
Because I can, here’s just a snippet – a tidbit – from the beginning of Robert Louis Stevenson’s book A Child’sGarden of Verses (1885):
TO ANY READER
As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far ways,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear; he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.
Sorry – I couldn’t help myself. And, particularly, I cannot help myself when it comes to children’s poetry. A Child’s Garden of Verses is another of the myriad books my Grandma Tennie read to me – at my insistence – over and over again when I was small. Sometimes she even sang them.
I now read – or sing – these same stories and poems to my children.
Anyway – back to my point. I am not a writer, but I play one on this blog.
The other point I was trying to make is that yes, I sometimes feel all the dates and times and details of everyday life – the “important” stuff I’m supposed to remember – gets lost in all these beautiful details that I see every day. For example: I remember my friend is getting married – and I even remember the date and time – but where? Now I have to ask her. It’s awfully embarrassing.
I remember I am part of the new puppet ministry at church, but unless someone reminds me – and even though it’s on the same day and at the same time every week – I’ll forget. I want to be there, and I want to participate, but it doesn’t matter.
People (you know “People” the same way you know “They”) say, “If it was really important to you, you’d remember,” but this is simply not true. At least not true with me. I think part of my problem is that too many things and people are important to me which is why stuff slips through the cracks.
Which brings me back to my opening sentence regarding saying “No” occasionally. I am making a concerted effort to begin to say “No” more often because, though I feel bad about it, I’m not Super Woman; I can’t do everything. And when I try to do everything, I only become stressed out and stress just makes my forgetfulness worse. And then, once I’m stressed and forgetful I begin to feel terrible about myself; I'm such a horrible, awful person. And it is then, once I feel terrible about myself, I begin to slide back into a black, sticky depression which is hard – so very hard – to crawl out of.
It’s a vicious cycle.
So, if you notice me forgetting, or saying “No” it’s not because you aren’t important. You are important. And so is whatever it is you’ve asked me to do/attend/participate in. But then again, so am I. And sometimes, being selfish (even in the form of forgetfulness) isn’t so much about being mean or uncaring as it is being better to myself. With apologies.