I was away for a week, with no internet (well, two seconds every day on line just to make sure my children were still alive) and no telephone and boy, it was wonderful. I got back late last night. Yesterday morning I was in Honduras, and then last night I was in bed in my cold house surrounded by ice and snow, plus the detritus of a frantic last-minute packing binge (I’d had to fly out a day early to miss a storm, and spend the night in Atlanta in order to make the once-daily flight to San Pedro Sula.) But the good news is that I feel reborn. A week in the sun, with my mother, surrounded by amazing birds and amazing creatures and lovely people, swimming in rivers and the ocean and hiking and drinking margaritas, is the ideal antidote to just about anything, I think. There’s more (and will be more) about the trip at my other web site, if you are curious.
While I was gone, I thought about this website quite a bit. Originally, when Babble asked me to write for them, I wondered whether two divorce blogs might not be overkill. But then I figured that I hadn’t told the STORY of my divorce, as such, on Irretrievably Broken–rather, I’d meandered here and there and coughed up non-chronographical essays as the mood struck me. So I thought I’d make the Babble blog more functional, less meditative (a rather kind way of saying less rambling and random.) More focused. After all, I had distance, and experience, now.
And I thought I’d start by reciting what happened. A nice little organizing principle. Chronological order, first this, then that, with helpful tidbits about coping with divorce piped neatly around the edges. Meanwhile, on the other blog, I could continue my poseur ramblings at will. It sounded wonderful, and I figured once I got to the end of my story (whenever that was) I could shut the Babble blog down and leave my divorce behind, in a way–all wrapped up and safely compartmentalized, worked through, analyzed, and tidily put away.
The very first entry for Babble took me months to write. It was excruciatingly upsetting to dig through old emails and journals (because I didn’t, as it turned out, really remember that dreadful day in anything but the most clichéd terms.) God, I was a wreck back then. But once that essay was finished, I thought the worst was over. Imagine my surprise to find that I hated writing about the next stage of the separation nearly as much, and the stage after that, and the stage after that as well! I had intended, once the blog launched, to write something nearly every day. Instead I found myself dreading logging on, fretting constantly over the entries, even the unwritten entries. Was I getting the timeline right? Was I cutting myself too much slack? Why wasn’t this easy, or (at the very least) straightforward?
I never figured the answer out, per se. What I did figure out is that the first-this-then-that narrative is dreadfully difficult to write, and runs counter to my experience. That makes no sense, I know, but trying to remember just what happened in the order in which it happened drains all the blood out of the writing, for some reason. As I wrote on my other website: It’s not that I am afraid to talk about the divorce, or think about it. I write in my journal and I continue to bore the shit out of my poor friends with my tedious unpacking of various events. But the Babble story catapults me right back to an unpleasant emotional state, a general feeling of precariousness, as if I’m reliving the dread and drama that dominated our lives for months and months and months. I’m also perpetually anxious that I’m telling the story wrong. Or maybe it’s that I can see, from the distance of a few years, just how desperately I was winging it back then. You’d think there would be catharsis, or at the very least a happy feeling of “Good grief, how lucky I am to have gotten THAT over with,” each time I write another installment…but no.
So things here are going to be organized differently. I will talk about collaborative divorce in my next post, as promised, but then I may go back and talk a bit more about mediation–I keep coming up with new things to say that I forgot the first time around–as well as birdnesting, which was perhaps the most successful (even as it was the most excruciating) thing we did at the very beginning of our divorce. Now I’ve got to go prepare my taxes. A long way from the woman who didn’t know her monthly mortgage payment a few years ago, no? (You may all visit me in jail when I end up there after massively botching the whole operation.)
P. S. The shell in the picture? I found it on the beach, in a pile of detritus. Had to shoo a vulture off it, and then it leaked sand all over my backpack on the way home. I gave it to my kids, who were thrilled. Isn’t it lovely?