We went to a reading and signing yesterday for Rob Rummel-Hudson's book, Schuyler's Monster. I bought the book the other day and I didn't take it or buy another for him to sign. I enjoyed seeing him in person. Driving all this way to speak to a few dozen people is gritty to me. Reminds me why maybe I'll remain a blogger!
We all have monsters, I guess. In Rob's daughter's case, it is a brain malformation. Keeps her from speaking normally and has other manifestations. Rob talked about some of her classmates in a special augmentative speech device class and how their disabilities were both more obvious and overwhelming. Most of us just harbor smaller gremlins, maybe our genetic destiny, maybe something that has happened to threaten our psyche. I looked around at the reading, watched people as they asked questions and wondered: what are their monsters?
The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we can get things organized, structured, simplified and in better shape. We think diet and exercise can make us better and, while that is true to a point, we are all falling down in this life. Headed to a sure extinction. We think if we get our finances straight (or find the right companions, or, you know, fill in the blank) we can be happy. Some think that if they get on the right side of their God or gods, all will be well.
The truth is that life is a monster who leaves you alone sometimes while it sleeps. What we do in these moments of relative peace is our life.
When I made my morning call to Dad this morning, his voice sounded strong. It could have been my dad, thirty years younger. He hadn't gotten out to see the rain, he felt pretty good, no surgery was scheduled. He is good at existing in those moments of peace. Getting a smile, even a laugh while the monster sleeps. Maybe even laughing at how old age has compromised him, laughing at the monster. He adapts, he accepts. And unlike his child he doesn't even try to make literature out of it.