Day Seven: No Barn for a Horse Now

posted November 25, 2017

I love Thanksgiving weekend. I love a four day weekend, and I love this time of year when the trees are naked but winter has not yet frozen the ground. The white snow is still to come, and the grey, dismal mush is months away. I love (avoiding) Black Friday, and of course, most of all, I love seeing my family. We traveled to Fairfield, CT on Thursday to be with my father’s sisters and cousins and descendants, and meet up with Abigail and her family. We stayed at a SpringHill Marriott in Milford Thursday night, and came back Friday afternoon to the above progress on the studio/barn/guest house. I realize I need to give it a name at some point, but that point is not now. I also realize that I want to tell the story of how this all came to be. That also is not now. I am cramming this post in between visits with family, a poke at my novel, work on our Christmas/December Newsletter which needs to go out by tomorrow, and a movie we are about to go see.

Last night I dreamed that I was given a huge wild black stallion that I could barely ride. My first thought was delight. My second was, “Wait! I just knocked down my barn! Where am I going to keep this horse?”

I think the dream was about anger. As I have written before, I am wary of anger as an “ok” emotion for me to get to feel. But anger feels important to listen to these days, especially as a woman. I just read this article in the Paris Review last night, called “What Do We Do With the Art of Monstrous Men?” by Claire Dederer. It’s an in depth plunge into the question I think a lot of us are wrestling with. Is it OK to watch Chinatown? Read Lolita? I’ve long ago given up Rudyard Kipling.

And then there is the case of Woody Allen. Like Dederer, I was such a huge fan, and like Dederer, I totally identified with Allen in all his movies. I thought he was me. Though I could not, ever, stand to watch Manhatten, even at the height of my obsession with his movies. But even more interesting than Dederer’s exploration of Allen’s work, and the reaction of men to women’s refusal to forgive him for his involvement with Soon-Yi (his life partner’s adopted daughter, now Allen’s wife) is the way she turns the question of monstrous men on its ear by wondering if she, woman writer and mom, is also a monster.

Maybe, as a female writer, you don’t kill yourself, or abandon your children. But you abandon something, some nurturing part of yourself. When you finish a book, what lies littered on the ground are small broken things: broken dates, broken promises, broken engagements. Also other, more important forgettings and failures: children’s homework left unchecked, parents left untelephoned, spousal sex unhad. Those things have to get broken for the book to get written.

Ugh. #metoo. All this Thanksgiving vacation, I have looked longingly over my shoulder at my blog, my novel, my thoughts about my Local Chorus. And I have to keep bringing my mind back to the present moment, where my beautiful family is. My kids want to play, and I want to write my novel. Am I a monster for that? Maybe that monster is the horse that I delighted to ride, even as it bucked me off last night in my dreams.

I need to go to the movies now. I need to be a mom. This post would have been much better if I skipped the movies. But this is the choice I am making.

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