When I was 11 and 12, (ugh….with absolutely NO breasts, skinny as a green bean), in preparation for school, my OH so patient mother would painstakingly help put hot curlers in my hair to make it bounce, as otherwise my very curly hair would have a plan of it’s own and rebel conformity, (as if I didn’t understand). I was so particular about how the front looked, but when in a hurry, (which was every morning as I dawdled til ‘haircurler time’, In my most whiney manner I’d command impertently, (she should have smacked me)….
‘Don’t worry about the back moooooom, I can’t see it anyway. The buuuus is coming!!!!’
My Lord I had a patient mother. I was petulant at times, impatient too, emotional, and once when my brothers drove me one more time to distraction, I threw my hairbrush across the my bedroom and put a huge dent in my wall.
I’m thankful that I wasn’t thrown out of the family.
Watching my mother’s slow anger come to a steam was something I deserved and almost relished to see. How much would it take to make her blow her whistle. (Isn’t that a child’s job, to test the boundaries, the water, their mothers)?
As a sidenote, (cause I’m in the mood), that raucous bit of bad behavior was only surpassed the time my brother Johnny turned off the lights in our basement and left me downstairs.
( I was both scared of the dark AND that cotton pickin’ basement, dadgumit).
I somehow catapulted myself up through the darkness, flew open the door with a strength and speed which only Hercules or Wonder Woman could exude, (I’ve always been strong and ferocious when angry or backed into a corner), and slammed the door right into our 1970’s wood paneled television putting a hole right through the door and ruining the gorgeous wood paneling on this then, very expensive piece of television furniture.
Ooooooh, who was in trouble THEN?
My point….I have one. I think….
Back to ‘hair curler-land’…..Is it important to finish all sides of a project? If you can’t see ‘the back’ can anyone else and does it matter? I remember an author friend of mine telling me once that if he didn’t like a book, he didn’t finish it. I was somewhat aghast. ‘You’re kidding,’ I thought, ‘isn’t that weak? What if it gets better at Chapter 7.’ (I’d suffered through so many Greek tragedies in college I was used to muscling through assignments).
But how freeing, if after a measure of effort, if something isn’t a fit, let it go. ‘Run Forrest, ruuuuun’! (My new favorite saying…(Forrest Gump)! And so, if I began a book and didn’t like it, after a bit of concentration to endeavor to ‘get into it’, if it didn’t jive, on to another as there are piles in every room of my house that have yet to be read. (I like having books around….they’re like friends who at the right time, you open and discover something new….when you are ready).
And then completing projects. I’ve always been creative and needed outlets for expressing my creativity. My mom had a needlecraft shop. I learned to knit and could barely sit through 1/3 or a completed scarf.
‘Good God,’ I thought as a 10 or 11 year old….’you want me to SIT here and KNIT? Are you out of your flippin mind? Sit???’
So, I needed active creative projects as I’m not a good ‘sitter’ (‘and how much easier is it to buy a $5 scarf than knit one’ I thought, and I still do).
So, I don’t think all things need to be ‘finished’. I know when I used to paint paintings, that there never seemed an ending point, but at one point, I needed to move on from my painting. I rather liked the idea when performing plays that with each performance you could add something, evolve the piece, try something new….and at the end of the evening, it was done. You could walk on the bare stage at the end of the evening and feel the energy that was still in the room, but the play was OVER. Unlike a painting, it was not tangible, only in people’s minds.
I think perhaps this is my favorite sort of creation. Create it, then off into the ether.
I loved Joni Mitchell as a teenager, was given ‘Court and Spark’ (in album form) by my trouble making brother Johnny when I had my wisdom teeth out. (Despite driving me mad as a child, I simply adored him as a boy and even more as a man….regardless of his brotherly ‘affection’). I remember listening to that album til it had grooves in it and became scratched and worn.
Years later when Joni’s style and voice really took on a new tamber, I felt betrayed, ‘where had the other Joni gone?’ She’d grown, she’d evolved. I understand now. I get it.
Years and years ago, after I’d put my ‘Through Ruby’s Eyes’ play to rest, people would ask, why don’t you perform it again. Why? Why?
Because I was done. That was then, this is NOW. I was done.
So, when a piece is done, (or half done as my curled hair was), that’s enough…it’s time to move on and that is lovely. For what is ‘done’ anyway, (unless of course you’re talking about cooking chicken. As an event facility owner, I do have my standards, well, and so does the health department), but in other things of life, might not our passions be with the moment, not subject to unnecessary rules or expectations.
Try this, don that, wear this new style until no, I prefer it THIS way, have this favorite food and tomorrow call something else your favorite. Well, why not? (But you always liked tangerines BB….). Well, not now, I’ve changed, I like green olives now….for now. Ask me tomorrow and it might be toast, cooked extra dark, nearly burnt like my mommy used to make it!!
I’m considering as I sit at my dining room table with dogs strewn about, how I relish the ability to shift and turn, to eat my words, to be more gracious tomorrow, less a push over today, more a grump when moody if I choose, or less so if I choose not.