Two weeks ago I read at the Lit Crawl part of Litquake, San Francisco's literary festival. It was a fun and challenging experience as I had never performed in a bar before. The room was dark with little light for reading (luckily someone had brought a flashlight), the microphone had some issues, and the organizers were stressed because it had started late, and therefore the ones at the end (me included) were running over. But the audience of about 100 people were great, and clapped for us all. I feel I can read anywhere now!
Afterwards a bunch of us Writing Mamas went out for dinner and stayed until the restaurant closed. I rarely get to the city these days, so it was a fun night.
Below is what I read. It's the "Once" piece I posted earlier, but with some new material.
My sister recommended the movie “Once.”
It took my husband and me about three months to see it, meanwhile paying Netflix for the privilege of having it sit atop our television. When we finally saw it, I was struck by the movie’s simplicity.
It’s about an aspiring musician with a broken heart trying to start a music career, and a Czech immigrant making her way in Ireland. What touched me were how these two people, who had so little monetarily, were truly living their lives and pursuing their dreams in a simple, yet profound way.
It made me think about how much I have, and how I should try to live life fully in the now, instead of waiting for more. I often think, mostly unconsciously,
ONCE my kids grow up;
ONCE we win the lottery;
ONCE I get paid for doing what I love;
ONCE I have a successful book published;
ONCE I appear on Oprah;
ONCE we live abroad for a year --
THEN, I’ll be happy.
Not so long ago, I wanted to graduate from college, travel, get a job, find love, get married, and have children. I have done all of these things, yet, the credits never rolled with a moving soundtrack in the background when I got what I thought I wanted most.
I always find new things to covet.
I think it’s part of the human experience to yearn for more. As I start to feel the hunger pains for a future different than my present, I pause.
I try to notice one thing that I’m enjoying now.
As I was trying to write the other day, my four year old called out to me from the bathroom. He needed me to wipe. Not necessarily my favorite activity of motherhood, but part of the occupation nonetheless. I was trying to finish my thought, but after his third call, I rushed into the bathroom, feeling a little guilty. He sat there, perched on the toilet with both arms supporting him so he wouldn’t fall in. He looked at me, and said out of the blue, “You’re going to be mine forever and ever.”
That was a nice moment. I try to take these times in, they disappear so quickly.
Perhaps one day I will find contentment in the present; aware that everything I have is already a gift.
THEN, I’ll be happy.