Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Very Merry Un-Birthday...

This was the most non-birthday I have ever imagined. The stars were aligned, the moon was in the seventh house, Jupiter and Saturn played Ring-Around-The–Rosie, and the Super Bowl (an actually interesting game at that) was aligned with Mars How insignificant is a birthday compared to all this gobbledygook?

I was thrilled. I wanted to ignore the day, and the universe helped me in my duty to myself most handily. My mother and brother came over at dinnertime just as I was collapsing into the couch for a nap. I had a right to be exhausted, I was put through the works by the best P.T. (and I’m not joking) on the planet, Tamar Amitay.

Look, I still don’t think there’s anything to celebrate in my life. There are amazing people in my life (Chip, first and foremost) who take such good care of me and keep me going when I want to pack it all in. The remarkable Tamar, the best P.T. on the planet, Kristen my therapist brought to me by the angels, Sweet, caring Rachel my masseuse, Laurie, my chiropractor whom I miss terribly. (I need these people for mojo. If I’m to have any mojo. I’d like some, I think.) They deserve to be feted. Not I. They humble me. I’ll party with them, for them and love them forever and ever. But no celebrations for me yet. I’m not ready.

I awoke from my nap sometime late in the second quarter and Chip brought me a turkey burger from the joint across the street. They make really tasty turkey burgers, but I wasn’t interested in any food let alone that fine turkey burger.

I’ve been having eating issues as of late. I still slobber over my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I drool just thinking about it. For me it’s sandwich heroin. After starting my day with choppers blazing, I lose all interest in food. There can be only two reasons this is happened and they’re not mutually exclusive. (Is anything, these days?) One is that I take so much fucking medication, it’s screwing up my appetite. The second is losing the desire to eat is a symptom of depression. Duh.

Instead of real meals, I’ll down bottles of Ensure (on the rocks, please). Eat bowls of cereal. (Cheerios and rice milk. That shit tastes pretty good.) And Zone Bars. All three are quick and go down easy. Problem solved.

All right, there is a third reason for my lack of appetite. Eating takes time. And time is the one thing I can’t rely on. I have too much to finish before I die. (And no, I’m not talking suicide. I’m taking about a quick upper respiratory infection and it’s wham, bam, thank you ma’am. You can pay as you exit. And have a nice day!) I’m being compulsive, because there are too few hours in my day to get everything I want done, done.

I’m rewriting Since When as a mother/daughter story. I have all the pieces in my hot little hands. No, I don’t have all the pieces in my hot little hands. What is this new book about anyway? It took me ten years, before I finally figured out that the original Since When is about. (It’s about loss.)

This too is about loss. I can’t get away from that. But this book will be trying to say what about my mother’s and my relationship? I need to keep rolling this around over and over in my head and create chapters that flow naturally from the immigrant girl and the confused Long Island kid.

I never could figure Port Washington out, but I think I can figure out the crux of this new book. Frankly, I think that figuring out this book is a helluva lot easier than figuring out Port Washington even from my vantage point as an adult. I just can’t imagine why anyone would actively choose to live there. I think the five Lipmans would agree on this though my Dad did find that elusive place he clearly needed away from everything: Bar Beach. Facing those gorgeous smokestacks in Glen Cove. I don’t get it, but the man spent hours there was his New York Times. New Yorker, and New York Review of Books. Go figure.

Back to my problems…I need to get a grip on the story I’m trying to tell. I’m afraid I still may be too close to be able to see it. I have pieces of this book already written. How do they all fit together? And once past that, together in a way that will keep the reader interested from start to finish and cut and cut and cut and make it as good (sotto voce) as the original? (Rich, please don’t think you are any less Spectacular than you are. You amaze me, All the time. Our Since When is sacrosanct. To be self published? I’ll keep you apprised of all happenings. And don’t be surprised if you receive an email asking for your professional opinion about lord knows what. You know I will, too.)

I certainly won’t achieve any success if I write gazing at my navel. My apologies. I have no free seconds. I’m exhausted so much of the time. Don’t forget, I have my Indian Princess doll I’ve been sewing like mad. She’s the one Mom bought for me thirty years ago. I will feel so happy when she’s done. We’re spending so much time together, she’s my new baby sister or new baby or something like that.

And I started a Brian Aldiss (sci-fi) book I should have read eons ago.

I have so much to do before I die.

Let’s get cracking.

(This post started out okay, but I’m sorry if it became a dog post. I’ll try harder next time.)


  1. Bar Beach...oh yes!

    You have to know it to understand the depth of your smokestack reference. I always went there in winter with my college girlfriend from Plandome Manor.

    Always on intense and sunny, bright cold days. We'd huddle in her BMW 1600 and stare at the beach and the icy water--then venture out and sit on the cold sand and stare at the smokestacks. Yes, Fran, at your father's beach.

    As I stared at the smokestacks...I always thought of Fitzgerald and "The Great Gatsby" and the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. That pair of fading, bespectacled eyes painted on an old advertising billboard over the valley of ashes.

    For me it was a sad, lonely and desolate place...unnerving. I always thought I was driven there so Bar Beach could witness our breakup.

    See what you've done to me with a few words.

    So write the book damn it. Don't die. I want to read it.

  2. Hmm, an immigrant goes from a place they know (and love/hate) to a place they don't know. Leaving the old can be for any of a million reasons, but usually for a better chance for happiness. I was struck when you said you could never figure out PW. (My take about it was that if one lived there it was either to work for another, or have others work for you) There was a huge class distinction at work always, to my way of seeing things.
    The reason I brought that up is that perhaps you could be the "immigrant" daughter of an "immigrant" mother. And here's the punch are the second generation of the same immigration. What'daya think? Anything to it?

    Warmest regards, as always,